“They’re gonna need to see this upstairs.”

USDOT-selfie
Smart Growth America President Geoff Anderson personally delivered the safety rule comments to USDOT.

“They’re gonna need to see this upstairs” — that’s what the staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation said about your letters this week.

By Monday afternoon, over 1500 of you made your voices heard in support of stronger transportation safety measures through our online action. Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America, personally delivered your comments calling on USDOT to require that states set real targets for reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our streets and that they be held accountable as they work toward those goals.

The League of American Bicyclists and Safe Routes to School National Partnership have been hard at work on this issue too, and they mobilized thousands more in support of better safety measures for people walking and bicycling.

Your feedback has been heard, and resoundingly: safety for everyone must be a priority for our transportation investments.

Now the ball is in USDOT’s court. They’ll review the 10,000+ comments submitted by individuals, organizations, and transportation agencies over the last three months and get to work on their final guidance for states and MPOs.

Your support is a big deal, and we thank everyone who spoke out with us. The system developed today will become a legacy for the national transportation program, and it’s important to get it right today. Your comments will shape discussions for years to come.

Rest assured: they’re going to see this upstairs.

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    One Response to “They’re gonna need to see this upstairs.”

    1. Bernard E, Mues says:

      Folks,
      Deer Lodge, MT’s downtown main 3-block Natl Historic Dist shopping area is increasingly being destroyed by the out-dated mandates of the MTDOT (while invoking the USDOT regs) & while being backed by Powell County, our Mill owner, & other County residents who don’t care about the collateral damage adversely affecting our historic buildings, businesses, shopping & sight-seeing pedestrians by not allowing new positive changes to the dangerous 75-ft-wide State Highway (six 12.5-ft lanes) blasting through our Main Street, despite there being a very close parallel I-90 freeway just to the east for semis & other big trucks to use instead. Our downtown is becoming a major embarrassment. The MDOT will also not allow pull-in diagonal parking on either or both sides of our Main Street (like there is in nearby quaint Philipsburg along their State Highway) to double parking spaces, slow down the traffic, (to create that quaint western ambiance of old brick buildings & diagonal parking); nor allow speeds lower than 25 mph (how about 15-mph to protect our students, young parents, disabled, & elderly trying to cross that wide-gauntlet?); nor a few raised crosswalks (amidst our 300-ft-long blocks) to shorten distances across & also create speed bumps; nor ‘bulb-outs’ at intersections. When are transportation departments going to quickly re-consider their old policies, i.e.: — getting people from point A to point B as fast & expeditiously as possible — are destroying the fabrics of some downtown U.S. Main Streets (how about re-routing some traffic?). There needs to be some quick compromises & new thinking about the old-out-dated cookie-cutter transportation mandates to thus finally achieve some win-win solutions. Our Deer Lodge, MT downtown is becoming a ghost town because of the MTDOT & those outsiders who don’t care about our downtown businesses & pedestrians, nor the need to double our downtown Main Street parking & also provide safety for the back & forth crossings of downtown pedestrians, which is killing our downtown businesses & also preventing any investors. When is the MTDOT going to take a pro-active stance about putting the safety of downtown pedestrians first — far ahead of any downtown vehicular needs?
      Why not even allow such things as a small ’round-about’ at both ends of our historic shopping district to greatly slow down traffic, & ban non-local freeway trucks from using our Main Street as a short-cut to our north-end truck stop? Until they change their old thinking about these new ideas, the MTDOT (& USDOT) will continue to be causing major economic damage to our downtown. I’d like to see them “pro-actively” do everything on their own to double our Main Street parking & super protect our downtown pedestrians w/ the above suggested re-designs to thus help undo the collateral damage that their old entrenched policies have increasingly caused. Because the MTDOT owns the 100-ft right-of-way through the heart of our historic downtown (including the 12.5-ft sidewalks on both sides), a new experimental re-design by the MTDOT in downtown Deer Lodge could be a model for the future on how to revitalize & save threatened small town Main Streets.
      There also needs to be new ideas for new snow equipment to thus achieve timely & efficient downtown snow-removal.
      But, being a realist, I know that our bureaucrats are too often gutless, antagonistic toward the public, & lack true vision or courage, thus, nothing will probably ever be done by the MT & US transportation officials (nor our politicians & local powers) to re-design & thereby save our dying Deer Lodge downtown from their present destructive transportation & other policies. If anything, there will sadly only be benign “lip-service.” However, there needs to be courageous & bold action taken ASAP from the very top MT & US leaders to save our Deer Lodge National Historic District from the MTDOT. Don’t just study it to death, & quickly bring up countless easy-old-objections, but try something new & just decide to make it pro-actively & miraculously happen as an intensive well-funded Special Project. Make something beautiful happen to revitalize Deer Lodge’s 3-block Natl Hist District (which is about half-way between Yellowstone & Glacier Natl Parks). I dare you!

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