Unlike our Oregon Department of Transportation whose seems to be carrying out a policy to rid their highways of everything but people in cars, the Washington Department of Transportation announced yesterday that it’s getting on the open streets train.
Imagine that. A state DOT voluntarily banning automobile users from lanes and even complete roadways all in the name of safety and health.
“That was the wrong decision and we are in the process of removing two stretches of that guardrail now.”
— Rian Windsheimer, ODOT Region 1 director
We’re still trying to learn more about why the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) installed three sections of guardrails in the paved shoulder of the Historic Columbia River Highway south of Interstate 84 last week. These guardrails narrow valuable space used by many bicycle riders and their dangerous placement increases odds of stressful passes and collisions.
The fact that ODOT did this without any public notice and on one of the most important and valuable cycling routes in the state is unconscionable and just the latest example of the agency’s negligent stewardship of our transportation system. We’ve reached out to ODOT leadership for further comment and clarification but haven’t heard back.
Since our story posted on Monday, we’ve read dozens of comments expressing grave concerns and outrage. Now homeowners who live along the road where the guardrails were installed are defending the project, saying the guardrails are necessary to thwart illegal campers and to make the road safer for drivers.