Rest advisory groups help steer new direction
By Annie von Domitz
Last week I had the great pleasure of meeting with Joe Gillis and Lee Arnold with NW Navigator, a Portland motor coach company. Joe has been serving on OTE’s Statewide Rest Area Advisory Group. The group represents a wide range of people who use Oregon rest areas and helps our agency identify ways we can improve the rest area experience. Safety and accessibility are two of the group’s top concerns.
Joe met up with OTE’s Rest Area Director Jason Nash, Baldock Rest Area Supervisor Grant Christensen, and myself at Baldock to talk about ways to improve access for motor coaches. Touring coaches and school buses are frequent visitors to rest areas and have specific needs.
Motor coaches (like the one pictured) carry 56 passengers at a time. They need the same sized parking space as a semi-truck. They often stop for breaks late at night with sleepy passengers shuffling their way to the restrooms. School buses on field-trips have a similar number of students exiting the bus and crossing the parking lots in large numbers. Safety is a main concern with both of these groups.
With Joe and Lee’s help (and a beautiful, large motor coach for a demonstration prop) we looked for ways to improve rest area signs and make it easier for motor coaches and buses to find the safest place to park and unload passengers. We also identified possible solutions that can be worked into future parking lot development plans as funds become available.
We appreciate the time Joe and Lee took out of their busy schedules to share their perspective. We’re fortunate to interact with our advisory group members; their participation in brainstorming solutions helps improve Oregon rest areas for everyone.