The Collector – February 23, 2018

CRTP lays out how a couple of common land use phenomena apply to transportation – and proposes a few acronyms of our own.

Bay Trail Fundraising Going Strong, EIR Available for Review
$240,000 is in the bank for maintenance of the trail – now it just needs to be completed. The EIR for the final portion of the trail is now available for public review and comment.

New Universal Fast-Charging Stations Coming to the Humboldt
According to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s North Coast Plug-in Electric Vehicle Project February newsletter, there will soon be six more universal “Level 3” fast-charging stations for electric vehicles installed throughout Humboldt County from Redway to Orick.

Arcata City Council Votes to Remove Statue & Plaque
Why is this transportation news? Because CRTP has been actively involved in efforts to reimagine the Arcata Plaza as a place designed for people rather than cars, and has endorsed the removal of the McKinley statue & Jacoby Storehouse plaque as part of Plaza revitalization.

Are Bike Helmets the Problem?
A new paper in the journal Applied Mobilities points out that the US has higher rates of bike helmet usage but also higher rates of bike fatalities and injuries than most other countries – and lower rates of biking. The author argues that the focus on helmets in America distracts from the real problems, discourages people from getting out of their cars and onto bikes, and may make bicyclists less safe.

San Jose Handing Over Transit-Oriented Development to Google
Well of course. It’s Silicon Valley. But can the tech giant “retrofit the city that was built for automobiles into a city built for people,” as the city’s mayor hopes?

The Dutch Show That More Bike Infrastructure Leads to… More Biking
It’s important to remember that Europe is not an inevitable bike paradise. As this article points out, European cities built themselves around the automobile after World War II just as US cities did. But now they are showing how to turn that around, with huge environmental, economic and health benefits.

State & Federal Action on Regulating (or Not) Self-Driving Cars
The California legislature is struggling with all the potential changes that would accompany widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles – which the industry says is coming sooner than we think. Meanwhile, if a bill passed by the US House makes its way through the Senate, the industry will largely be left to regulate itself, with states and local governments prohibited from taking any real action.

Should Taxpayers Pay for Trucking Companies to Clean Up Their Act?
The LA Times Editorial Board says no.

Richard Branson Proposes Hyperloop in India…
…and hyperloops everywhere else too!


Anyone familiar with local land use issues knows that one of the most potent forces in any debate over a proposed project is the NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”). “NIMBY” is generally considered a derogatory term, intended to imply hypocrisy; a NIMBY is said to be objecting to a land use they would find totally unobjectionable if located in someone else’s neighborhood. In contrast, the new YIMBY (“Yes In My Back Yard”) movement, developing out of New York and San Francisco, proudly claims its name as it seeks to help residents support and advocate for (some kinds of) development in their neighborhoods.

It hardly needs to be said that NIMBYism is often problematic, standing in the way of needed infrastructure which would benefit the community as a whole in favor of “protecting” the status quo. But we should introduce a little more nuance here. At the risk of providing aid and comfort to NIMBYs everywhere, it has to be said that sometimes “not in my back yard” is an appropriate response to a proposed land use. After all, the idea that not all land uses are appropriate in all places is the basis for the very concept of urban planning. And YIMBYs, in responding to NIMBYism, can also be problematic. Not to put too fine a point on it, but YIMBYs must tread carefully to avoid becoming mere shills for powerful development interests.

Let’s also be clear that not all objections to new development are examples of NIMBYism. Or, even if objections are NIMBY in nature, they may be a sign that no one would want a particular land use nearby and perhaps it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere. To that end, I’d like to introduce a new acronym, NIABY (“Not In Anybody’s Back Yard”). Let’s apply this to people and groups that fight against damaging, polluting, out-moded forms of development wherever they are. And that concept of course implies its opposite, YIEBY (“Yes In Everybody’s Back Yard”). Let’s apply this acronym to those who advocate for widespread and equitable development of the kinds of infrastructure that improve virtually any neighborhood where they’re located.

What does this have to do with transportation? A lot, actually. While NIMBYs and YIMBYs are most often associated with new buildings (particularly large multifamily housing developments), their motivations and viewpoints can be and are applied to transportation infrastructure as well. It’s no coincidence that ports and freeways are generally associated with low-income, minority neighborhoods, while there’s usually far better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in wealthier, whiter areas.

At CRTP, we aim to primarily take on the role of NIABY and YIEBY. We’re avowed NIABYs when it comes to new vehicle lanes and freeways, and committed YIEBYs when it comes to bike lanes, sidewalks, and bus stops. Of course, we don’t dismiss the importance of location for most types of development. In particular, we believe strongly that the place for dense new residential and commercial development is in existing population centers, not in suburban or rural zones. It’s this pattern of development that will enable the successful transportation mode shift that’s at the core of our work.

So we call on YIMBYs to speak up in support of dense infill development, and we’ll support the NIMBYs when new sprawl is proposed. And we hope you’ll all join us in our NIABY and YIEBY transportation advocacy. Acronyms, unite!

Times-Standard: Arcata City Council Votes to Remove Plaza Monuments

CRTP has been actively involved in advocating for changes to the Arcata Plaza. Making the Plaza more pedestrian-friendly is a key step to making it a more lively, social, welcoming place. Although the McKinley statue and Jacoby Storehouse plaque are not directly transportation-related and not specifically included in our proposals, we have endorsed their removal as part of the revitalization of this core civic, social and commercial space in the City of Arcata, and we applaud the Arcata City Council for taking this long-overdue step.

Read the Times-Standard article here.

The Collector – February 16, 2018

Welcome to the first edition of The Collector*, CRTP’s new weekly news roundup! We are aiming to collect important North Coast transportation news – including state and national news with particular local relevance – and publish it here each Friday. If you’d like to submit a news item for the weekly roundup or provide any other feedback, please email Enjoy!

*In traditional planning nomenclature, a collector road collects traffic from local roads and delivers them to major arterials. Our news roundup collects transportation news items and delivers them straight to your eyeballs!

Arcata Student Housing Project Saga Continues; Parking Unbundling Secured

The Arcata Planning Commission conducted Part 7 (no kidding!) of its initial hearing on The Village, a proposed private development near HSU intended to house 700-800 students. After some pressure from CRTP, and with the support of city staff, the developer has agreed to “unbundle” parking costs from housing rents. This is one of the most effective measures a multifamily housing development can use to reduce car travel, and it’s now one of the official proposed conditions of approval for the project.

Hundreds Show Up To Celebrate New Eureka Trail

People love trails! Enough said.

Humboldt County Announces New Public Meeting on Completion of Bay Trail

Show up on February 27th to get the latest Bay Trail news and provide your input to the County. Only 4 miles left!

State Legislature Considering “Radical Upzone” Bill

State Senator Scott Weiner has introduced a bill that would remove residential density limitations and parking requirements for new housing near major transit hubs and lines. The bill is intended to stimulate infill housing to meet the state’s housing needs without sprawl.

Water Board Announces Proposed Road Management Discharge Waiver

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has announced a tentative order on a waiver of discharge requirements for road management activities. Public comment is open until March 19th and a hearing will be held on May 17th.

HCAOG Considers Budget & Work Program

The HCAOG Board met yesterday, and its agenda included a review of the proposed Overall Work Program and Budget for FY2018-19. HCAOG is our regional transportation planning agency, and these documents lay out their plans for the coming year. Exciting stuff!

Trump Unveils Infrastructure Plan

Anyone hoping Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure plan would mean big federal money for local priorities like Last Chance Grade is likely disappointed this week, as the administration has now made clear it expects most of the money to come from state, local, and private sources.

Big Rigs Exploiting Loophole in Pollution Rules with Help of Trump’s EPA

The New York Times reports on a loophole the size of the national highway network in truck pollution control regulations. The Trump administration has recently nixed an effort by Obama’s EPA to close the loophole. Stories like this should resonate as we consider how freight gets into, out of, and through our region.


Times-Standard: Hundreds attend Waterfront Trail celebration

From the Times-Standard:

“Hundreds of people including city of Eureka officials and community members packed into the Wharfinger Building on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the opening of the Waterfront Trail and watch the first screening of a documentary on the trail‘s entire planning and building process.

The final phase of the Waterfront Trail was completed earlier this year and it now stretched 6.3 miles along Eureka’s picturesque waterfront on Humboldt Bay from Herrick Avenue in the south to Tydd Street in the north…”

Read the full story here.