On Friday, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a letter and supplemental document, which asked the US Department of Transportation to weaken their guidance on accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians. The supplemental document, submitted as part of a formal review of regulations, asks that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) withdraw their guidance on the meaning of “due consideration” of bicyclists and pedestrians to make it easier for states to ignore the needs of non-motorized travelers. AASHTO prefers the weaker “consider where appropriate” to allow states to avoid having to justify failure to accommodate bicycling and walking. (via League of American Bicyclists)
Bike Portland expands on the hypocritical position AASHTO has taken in response to the directive issued earlier this year by Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood. Lahood, who represents USDOT, directed state DOT’s to consider “walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.”
This “transportation choices” USDOT directive is an important milestone in leveling the playing field for all modes of transportation throughout the United States. AASHTO represents state DOT’s, notice they do not list cycling or walking as a “transportation mode” on their about page:
AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It represents all five transportation modes: air, highways, public transportation, rail, and water.
There is hope! NACTO, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, seems to be acting as somewhat of a counterbalance to AASHTO’s statewide mentality. This group of transportation planners and engineers are working on a Cities for Cycling bikeway design manual, providing guidance to transportation staff across the country on precedents and best practices city engineers need to make smart decisions concerning bikeway planning.
Contact ODOT Director Matt Garrett to let him know where you stand on the issue and ask him to contact AASHTO on behalf of ODOT to reconsider its position:
1158 Chemeketa Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Fax (503) 986-3432