Sooo, this happened yesterday. The great progressive state of Oregon’s Department of Transportation tweeted out its expert opinion that dangerous driving is a behavior problem that cannot be attributed to road design. How any person working for a DOT, let alone the person tasked with representing the department via social media could be so ignorant is truly alarming.
Unfortunately, ODOT has proven a track record of reinforcing ignorant attitudes with ignorant agendas. From pushing freeway expansions to butchering bicycle infrastructure to using woefully antiquated design guidelines to failing to act while the death toll rises on state managed roads, ODOT’s banality of transportation evil is well known. This, however, is beyond the pale. I won’t detail why this level of incompetence is unacceptable. If you’re reading a blog about livable streets and tactical urbanism, you get it. And you know there is no excuse for this.
@go_by_bike Not sure how a road encourages distracted driving, speeding or agressive driving.
— Oregon DOT (@oregondot) November 26, 2013
— Scott Hillson (@OfficerHillson) November 26, 2013
The responses received were understandably a mix of frustration, shock, and I-can’t-believe-we-have-to-explain-this-shit-to-you attempts at teaching the agency what every responsible planner already knows. Driving habits are the product of the built road environment. If you want safer streets, you need narrower lanes, and less of them.