Oregon is 8th state to officially endorse progressive street design guide

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Key concepts in the NACTO guide.
(Photos: NACTO)

After a year and a half of lobbying, the Oregon Department of Transportation has formally recommended that its street designers look for ideas in one of the country’s most progressive bikeway design books.

The Urban Bikeway Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials was one of the country’s first official documents to include design elements like protected bike lanes, bike boulevards, floating bus stops and bike-specific traffic signals. Some of its concepts are already in Oregon’s in-house bikeway design guide, but NACTO has asked allied states and cities to endorse its guide in order to lend legitimacy to the designs in less progressive states.

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Two perfect examples of the attitude Vision Zero is supposed to change

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jon cox

AASHTO President Jon Cox before a congressional
committee Tuesday.
(Screen capture via Rep. Rick Larsen)

Vision Zero is maybe the hottest subject in American street advocacy right now, but there’s still quite a lot of disagreement about what exactly it means.

As Portland adopts an official policy to prevent all road deaths and safety advocates begin a push for state and other local governments to follow that lead, we’ve just gotten a couple very clear examples of what Vision Zero doesn’t mean.

One comes from a hearing Tuesday in Washington D.C. The other comes from a state engineer quoted yesterday in The Oregonian.

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ODOT expresses “disappointment” in AASHTO guidelines stance

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“I want to express my disappointment at AASHTO’s recent comments… Oregon takes bicycling and walking very seriously.”
— Matthew Garrett, Director of ODOT

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has responded to a recent policy stance by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) that some fear would weaken federal guidelines that exist to make sure transportation projects include bicycling and walking facilities.

On Friday, we reported that the League of American Bicyclists had put out a national advocacy alert alleging that AASHTO’s Executive Director John Horsley was attempting to dilute federal bicycling and walking guidelines. League Director Andy Clarke said AASHTO’s stance was “misguided.”

ODOT Director Matthew Garrett wrote Horsley a letter yesterday, echoing the League’s concerns. Here’s an excerpt from that letter (PDF here):

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State DOTs call for expansion of highway system: Could bikes benefit?

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Cycle Oregon 2009 - Day 1-66

Wider, smoother shoulders would be nice.
(Photo © J. Maus)

On Monday, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) — an influential group of state DOT directors — announced a report calling on Congress to prioritize funding for expanded rural highway capacity in the forthcoming re-write of the transportation bill. Spending hundreds of billions on highway projects and adding 30,000 new lane miles is sure to raise eyebrows in active transportation circles, but could AASHTO’s plan help improve biking conditions on highways across America?


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