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WSDOT seeks public opinion on rest area safety

Custer rest area on southbound I-5 (October 13, 2021). Photo: Whatcom News

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have provided an online resource for the public to provide feedback regarding rest area safety.

According to a press release from WSDOT today, June 27th, WSDOT was looking for “travelers, freight haulers, business owners and others to provide feedback on the future of safety rest areas across Washington state.”

This is your opportunity to provide input and help us as we plan for the future. We hope to hear about the unique needs of each of our Safety Rest Area users including motorists, truck drivers, RV owners, volunteers, and tourists. Take our online survey and tell us about how you use Safety Rest Areas and share your ideas.Washington State Department of Transportation

The public’s input will be used to make decisions about the program’s maintenance and operations and to update the WSDOT’s strategic plan for rest areas according to the press release.

A related online open house is being made available through September 5th to provide the public with information about a strategic planning process currently underway to determine if services and assets in place still meet the needs of all users, and to determine what changes are needed in the future. The Safety Rest Area Strategic Plan was reportedly last updated in 2008. 

The public will have the opportunity to comment on safety, facility conditions, freight parking, site operations, traveler needs, WSDOT’s free coffee program and funding challenges. WSDOT officials plan to begin writing the draft strategic plan this fall, which will be available for public review and comment. The plan is expected to be finalized in spring 2023.


  1. J Smith June 28, 2022

    The survey is not about safety, but the whole experience of trying to usr our “safety reas areas” as they call them. If you drive our freeways please take the survey. I suspect our state government would love to close some or all rest areas or privatize them so we will have to drive thru surface street traffic to get to a truck stop or fadt foid place. Washington is drowning with tax revenue — there’s no excuse for our DOT to let rest areas be so filthy and broken down, or abandoned to vagrants.

  2. C M RUSSELL June 28, 2022

    Perhaps, you could have a small WSP station at every other rest stop. And on alternating sides of the highway. Then if there’s an issue, response would be quick, or with your presence, there will be no issues hopefully. I won’t use them anymore because of homeless/mental people trying to use them for campsites. Or sheltering in the bathrooms. I’ve read they had issues with it in Whatcom County, so they closed the rest areas up here for a long time. The people waiting in long lines at the border need the rest stops as soon as them come across.

  3. John June 28, 2022

    I’ve always considered rest areas essential to travel. Lately, the ones I’ve been able to use seem anything BUT safe. The LAST thing I need when stopping at one is to be approached by some random unpredictable sketchy drugged out dirtball or methhead hooker when stopping to use them or worry about my daughter being assaulted.

  4. Fred Wepprecht June 28, 2022

    We traveled across country from S W Florida in early May. We experienced nothing unpleasant.

  5. MJ June 28, 2022

    Do stop by at either Custer I-5 Rest Area, There are a few squatters there regularly, but to get the full flavor of life at an I-5 Rest Stop, drop in anytime south if Marysville. Made disgusting, unsanitary, and unsafe by troops of people living in their vehicles. I don’t suppose Fred found this in most of middle America — Western Washington has become the homeless destination of the nation. Our humanity may be judged by how we treat the most helpless among us, but current policy has not been successful alleviating suffering . Rather, it has worsened the problem. Time for a change.

  6. Torrey June 29, 2022

    Put up 24 hour recorded video cameras pointed at all the problem areas. I haven’t experienced anything negative about the rest areas but I do not use them in the evening’s as I dont travel at night.

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