“My Word”: New Priorities for Transportation

From today’s Times-Standard:

“…That’s why the first priority of the newly formed Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP) is to spend our limited transportation dollars on maintenance and repair. CRTP is a group of Humboldt and Del Norte County residents whose mission is to promote transportation solutions which protect and support a healthy environment, healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy economy on the North Coast. After maintenance and repair, our priorities for transportation infrastructure are to fund only new infrastructure which supports healthy, livable, sustainable communities, and to cancel counterproductive road expansion projects which don’t meet these basic criteria.

These are pretty common-sense priorities, and you might think that our public agencies wouldn’t need much prodding to follow them. Given the facts, you might even assume that every available transportation dollar would be allocated to maintaining our existing critical infrastructure in working order. But you’d be wrong. Instead, transportation planners often seem dead set on continuing to spend money to expand roads even more. They often promote projects which do little to make our communities more livable, but do bring in more traffic to cause more infrastructure damage we can’t afford to fix….

It’s up to CRTP — and everyone who agrees with us — to change those priorities. You can find out more at www.transportationpriorities.org. We hope you’ll join us in taking up the challenge!”

Read the full op-ed.

Speeding Semi Overturns on Curve

This latest accident underscores the fact that tight curves and large trucks can be a dangerous combination – even if the truck can theoretically make the turn under ideal conditions.  This is an important to learn as we consider the efforts by Caltrans to open up our region to even bigger trucks, while exempting road-straightening projects from their own safety design standards.  From the Times-Standard:

The California Highway Patrol investigated the crash. CHP Sgt. Martin Abshire said initial reports indicate that the driver entered the turn at an unsafe speed.

“I’m not sure what the exact speed will be clocked at in the report, but we have witnesses at the scene saying he was going somewhere in the 40 to 45 mile per hour range, clearly an unsafe speed for that turn,” Abshire said….”

Read the full article.

State Senators Visit Humboldt Port

Instead of widening and straightening our roads for oversized trucks, investing in responsible marine transportation could be an economically and environmentally superior way to move freight in and out of the North Coast.  From the Times-Standard:

“State Sen. Mike McGuire underlined the importance of Humboldt Bay to the local economy on Friday, as he shared some of Humboldt County’s marine-based economy with legislative leaders on the issue of the state’s ports….

Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioners Richard Marks and Mike Wilson said they were grateful for the opportunity to meet face-to-face with legislators that have sway in the area of ports….With the expansion of the oyster industry — the only exporter of oyster spat (baby oysters) — and the repurposing of the pulp mill in Samoa, Marks underlined the bay’s importance.

“We are the economic driver of Humboldt County,” he said.

Wilson said Humboldt Bay embodies more than just diversification.

“It’s about sustainability,” he said….”

Read the full article.