Letter: Area resident laments WSDOT decision after absence of public input



Yacolt resident Thomas Schenk discusses a WSDOT proposal to install a round-about traffic circle at the intersection of State Highway 503 and Rock Creek Road

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

On or about Dec. 7, 2023, many citizens in the North County area of Clark County received a flier in their mailboxes from Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Thomas Schenk
Thomas Schenk

The flier announced the decision by WSDOT to install a round-about traffic circle at the intersection of State Highway 503 and Rock Creek Rd.

I guess I must have missed the hearings, town halls or other discussion groups that debated the necessity for this kind of traffic revision … oh wait … there wasn’t any.

Once again the “Government knows best” crowd has determined the main artery to the North County area and beyond to recreational locales visited by thousands, should have a round-about traffic circle impeding the flow of vehicles.

I wrote WSDOT questioning the sanity of such a decision without input from the public who have to use this artery to get anywhere in Clark County.

The response I received said …”WSDOT reached out to key users with large vehicles to confirm vehicle sizes and specifically looked into how to make these large vehicles comfortably and efficiently traverse through the roundabout as part of the design process.”

Good to know that WSDOT has the ability to contact businesses using large vehicles on a daily basis, but not the citizens of the area.

The WSDOT response cited “severe and fatal” crashes at this intersection thus demanding something be done to stop the carnage.

I’ve lived in the area for 25 years … using 503 as most other citizens have done for years. I know some fatalities may have occurred at or around this intersection, but I have never seen one of them or the aftermath of such an accident … doesn’t mean it didn’t happen … I just haven’t seen either.

I asked for the statistics backing up this decision … WSDOT’s response said …”The project was developed due to a documented history of severe and fatal crashes at this intersection, which caused it to rise to a high priority on SR 503 to address.”

So, I’m thinking that because it rose to such a high priority, there must have been a major statistical analysis completed for the “project” … however, the WSDOT response didn’t include any of those statistics, if it was ever accomplished at all.

I’ve shot off another email in response to WSDOT suggesting their response was a lot of hot air to make me go away. At this point I told WSDOT nothing will mollify me until I see the “goods” … the “documented history of severe and fatal crashes.”

Clark County residents have seen roundabout traffic circles popping up in many areas of the County … Vancouver and Ridgefield to name a couple. Were those traffic circles required because of “severe and fatal” crashes?

I’m waiting for an answer from WSDOT on my second request. I’ll keep you posted on the next go-round of WSDOT’s blah, blah, blah, blah response!!!

Thomas A. Schenk
Yacolt, WA


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