"Plastic on every corner!" is the virtual rallying cry from the Oregon Department of Transportation, even despite the fact that their largest city is also widely considered to be the greenest city in the U.S.. Area when they stepped on one of these detectable warnings.
You can imagine that if the detectable warnings fail to remain compliant, they actually fail to help those deserving U.S. citizens that they are designed to protect and will need to be replaced Because these mats are placed outside, it makes sense that they should be able to hold up to even the harshest of environments. Composites like fiberglass, plastic, and other various resins and polymers are inherently susceptible to UV rays and even with the use of special additives, keeping these products UV protected for more than 18 months is impossible.
Industry specialists in the building trade typically understand the weaknesses and problems that go along with using plastics outdoors, yet Oregon's Department of Transportation irresponsibly has chosen to only use plastic products for this purpose on all of their projects.
Their reason: color. That's right, the Oregon DOT wants a shade of yellow so bright that it can't possibly be made with anything other than plastic. Never mind the fact that the Federal Guidelines related to acceptible colors in detectable warnings are easily met with concrete products, the Oregon DOT want a product in their sidewalks so bright that you cannot make it with anything green or sustainable.
The victims of this irresponsible policy not only include the environment, but also the taxpayers of Oregon who will end up paying ridiculously for their Department of Transportations's irresponsible policy on detectable warnings as they will be the ones responsible for the cost of replacing every one of the tiles that has been installed. That is unless the project is part of the Stimulus Plan, then every American pays for this ignorance. When you think about the 37,744 street corners in simply the city of Portland and the fact that 2 $100 mats are needed on each corner, I'm glad for the people of Portland that at least the state's Department of Transportation isn't in charge of choosing what their city decides to use in their sidewalks!
Believe it or not, the states of Nevada, New Mexico and even Kentucky(?!) are more environmentally conscious and progressive than Oregon when it comes to choosing which types of products they will put in their streets. This is because after years of putting in plastic products and seeing them fall apart these states now only allow concrete products. According to one of Nevada Department of Transportation's materials guys, concrete is unique in that it is extremely resilient to weather, temperatures, and conditions of all kinds. Using plastic in cases like this is irresponsible both as stewards of people of their state and the environment.
For the good of the economy, the environment, and the green movement, please share this article with those people you think might be interested in putting an end to Government waste and helping to make our society more sustainable.
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