Monday, August 16, 2021

We need to Stop Ignoring Climate in Transportation Stories

So far this summer we've had an intensified fire season, all-time record-breaking heat waves and mortality from them, drought, so many things directly related to our climate emergency. 

Yet, when we talk about highway widening, we forget all that.

Is it really about safety?
Or safety-washing capacity increase?

Today's front page story about the Aurora-Donald Diverging Diamond project is legitimate news, but at this point readers should get closer analysis of expected safety benefits, of induced travel from congestion relief, and of emissions and climate impacts from highway capacity increases. The reporting accepts and reproduces uncritically the highway postures, even propaganda, from the County, from ODOT, and from our Congressman.

We have choose one of these frames
(front pages, June 2015 and June 2019)

Earlier this month

It's not like the climate issues are a secret. But the transportation stories are compartmentalized to keep climate away. This needs to stop. We know transportation is our biggest source of emissions locally, and at a minimum we should be clearer about the trade-offs when we widen or "improve" highways.


Mike said...

I know that I shouldn’t be surprised, but I can’t understand why Rep. Schroeder is pushing for and lauding federal money for the Donald/Aurora interchange. It was foolish to put 2 truck stops at that exit. It’s not designed for that type of traffic. And to give them money to “fix” it just subsidizes and approves of bad decisions.

You made your bed, now lie in it.

Anonymous said...

If you have any understanding of the project, the reason for the modifications of the interchange is to fix an unsafe condition. Because the exit ramp ends in a stop sign, the queue of cars and trucks on the exit ramps get so long that it spills back onto the main traffic lanes of the interstate. ODOT was forced to put a warning sign along-side I-5 (north of the interchange exit) to alert drivers about this, whether they exit at Aurora or continue further south. This is a safety issue. A safety issue, not an issue of congestion. ODOT wants to realign the exit ramps and modify the ends of those ramps for the primarily purpose of SAFETY! The effort of the post to cherry-pick words in the article to fit with the host's agenda of never investing in a road project is disingenuous. Readers - know that this is a Safety fix. This will reduce accidents, and potentially/likely to SAVE LIVES.

Jeff Schumacher said...

A "SAFETY" issue and not an issue of congestion. Interesting perspective by Anon. There certainly is a safety issue at this interchange - because of the congestion, because of the truck stops. It is disappointing we are choosing to subsidize these businesses, much like we subsidized the Woodburn interchange on behalf of the Outlet Malls. You can dress it up any way you like (SAFETY!) but the first commenter is correct - we are giving approval to a host of bad decisions.