Mowing Concern on the Drive

In response to many concerns expressed from our members about the second summer county mowing of Glidden Drive, Fred Shumway sent the following letter to the highway commissioner:

John Kolodziej, Highway Commissioner
County Highway S
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

In 1978 Glidden Drive in the Town of Sevastopol was officially designated as “Wisconsin Rustic Road R9.” Rustic Roads in Wisconsin exhibit “unusual or outstanding natural beauty.” Glidden Drive has beauty aplenty and also is known to have more biodiversity than any eight-mile stretch of road in the state. According to the Wisconsin Rustic Road publication we must maintain these roads for safe public travel while “preserving their rustic and scenic qualities.” On Glidden Drive these scenic qualities include soap weed, better known as bouncing bet, and the green-headed coneflower to name just two.

Unfortunately the latest county grass mowing on Glidden Drive did not fully follow these guidelines. Many of the mowed areas will indeed enhance visibility but other areas have been scalped – most unsightly! And in some places flowers, including the two varieties mentioned above, have been cut and lost though they grew 10-12 feet from the road. This is not how to care for a Wisconsin Rustic Road. It behooves all of us, including the mowers of the Door County Highway Department, to protect and preserve the beauty of this natural area.
Residents of and visitors to Glidden Drive would very much appreciate and strongly urge the highway department to exercise caution and restraint when mowing along this beautiful road.

Thank you very much.


Here is the response received:

John P. Kolodziej
Highway Commissioner
(920) 746-2500
kolodzie@co.door.wi.us

August 27, 2015
Subject: Mowing on CTH T (Glidden Drive)

Dear Mr. Shumway,

The Door County Highway Department is in receipt of your correspondence delivered to our office on August 25, 2015.

The Highway Department recognizes the value placed upon the wildflowers that grow within the public right of way. However, we are also placed with the responsibility of ensuring a safe transportation system which includes providing a roadside environment that is not likely to have an adverse effect on motorists’ using the roadway. Another requirement that is placed upon our department is making sure that each roadway meets the clear zone requirement along the roadway as defined by state and federal standards. This clear zone is an important component for the safety of motorists and limits the Counties liability risk. The County has adopted a clear zone of between 7 and 10 feet from the edge of the roadway along CTH T (Glidden Drive).

The greatest safety concerns include the following:
  1. Growth of vegetation along the edges of the roadway prevents motorists from seeing pedestrians, bicyclists and animals that may be about to enter onto the roadway.
  2. Tall vegetation impedes the visibility from the many driveways along this roadway and can create potential hazards for those entering the road or traveling CTH T.
On CTH T (Glidden Drive) our mowing crews have been instructed to mow only one mower width along the edge of the roadway, which would limit the mowing to about8 feet from the edge of the roadway. This amount is much less than what we perform on other roadways.

I understand the practice does not meet your interest in maintaining all vegetation along the roadway. However, as stated above, our first concern is with the safety of the motorists’ using the roadway and limiting the County risk of liability if we neglect the potential adverse effect that  vegetation can create.

Sincerely,
John P. Kolodziej
Highway Commissioner
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