The Collector: East-West Railroad, Candidate Forum Fun, Transportation Bills Amended, and More

Bike Law Fact of the Week
Has it ever seemed to you like every time a bike trail crosses a road, the drivers get the right of way? We think so too. But it turns out that’s not inevitable. Everyone’s favorite reference book, The California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, provides guidance for where stop & yield signs should be used at such intersections. It turns out that it’s mostly at the discretion of whoever designs the intersection. But the guidance does include this hopeful tidbit (Section 9B.03): “Speed should not be the sole factor used to determine priority, as it is sometimes appropriate to give priority to a high-volume shared-use path crossing a low-volume street, or to a regional shared-use path crossing a minor collector street.”

The East-West Railroad is Back…
As we previewed last week, there’s a big new push to build the long-imagined rail line between Humboldt Bay and the Central Valley. This effort claims to be entirely privately funded, unlike previous iterations of the scheme. Color us skeptical.

Supes Put More Measure Z Funding Toward Roads
The Times-Standard reports that $850,000 was allocated for road maintenance and repair, while $35,000 was allocated for “walkability studies.” We’re all for responsible road maintenance, but these mismatched figures do seem to indicate something about local transportation priorities.

Supervisor Candidates Touch on Transportation Issues
At a recent forum, both challengers for the Fourth District seat expressed support for the Great Redwood Trail Act, while incumbent Virginia Bass wavered. All three candidates are apparently interested in the new (again) east-west rail proposal. Meanwhile, in the Fifth District, candidates were asked about transportation alternatives. Challenger Steve Madrone talked about transit, while incumbent Ryan Sundberg apparently said that millennials prefer Uber. (Note to Sundberg: As the millenials might say, Uber is totes problematic.)

DNLTC Talks Active Transportation
At next Tuesday’s meeting, the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission is scheduled to consider allocating $10,000 for a Pebble Beach Drive bike/ped project and including the Craig’s Creek Loop Trail in its Active Transportation Plan.

May is Bike Month
Celebrate! Events coming up include a “confident cycling clinic” in Eureka and a car-free day on Newton B. Drury Parkway.

New Public-Private Partnership Tries to Draw Cruise Ships to Eureka
CRTP Board Member Dave Spreen says, “It’s like deja vu all over again!

Speed Limit Bill Overhauled
AB 2363, which would have allowed speed limits to be lowered a modest 5 mph in areas with lots of accidents, has now changed its approach entirely. Rather than attempting that minor amendment to existing law governing speed limits, the bill now would create a Vision Zero Task Force to write recommendations for reducing road fatalities. The Task Force would be charged with, among other things, assessing whether the current method for setting speed limits makes sense.

Great Redwood Trail Act Passes Second Committee
Like the Senate Committee on Transportation & Housing, the Committee on Natural Resources & Water passed the bill unanimously. It now moves on to the Appropriations Committee.

Cars Are Dangerous – Here and Everywhere
Humboldt County’s ninth vehicle-related fatality of the year, a pedestrian hit-and-run on Highway 101, has us thinking about the inherent dangers associated with multi-ton objects moving at high speeds through our communities. Reflecting on the tragedy in Toronto earlier this week, we are reminded that vehicles can be intentionally used as weapons, but also that countless people around the world die every day as a result of vehicle “accidents.” When we design our cities and towns and rural landscapes almost entirely around these inherently dangerous machines, and resist efforts at common-sense reforms, how long can we keep calling these “accidents”?

San Francisco Regulates Electric Scooters
New scooter-share programs are popping up in the City. They could be a useful addition to low-carbon transportation options.

Caltrans in the Mirror
If you’ve ever wondered how Caltrans sees its own history, this timeline is revealing. See if you can find the words “bicycle” or “pedestrian” anywhere.

Taxi Co-ops Offer an Alternative to Uber & Lyft
They’re better for the drivers, to be sure. But will they encourage more trips by car, like Uber and Lyft do?

The Collector is CRTP’s weekly transportation news roundup, published every Friday. We focus on North Coast news, but we also include relevant state, national and international transportation news – plus other items that we just find kind of interesting! To submit items for consideration, email colin@transportationpriorities.org.

The Collector: Unmet Transit Needs, Great Redwood Trail Amendments, and much more!

Bike Law Fact of the Week
Now that you know that blocking bike lanes is against the law, what can be done on those frustrating streets where people consistently park in the bike lane anyway? Luckily for you, the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (not always a bicyclist’s friend) contains the following rule: “If the installation of signs is necessary to restrict parking, standing, or stopping in a bicycle lane, appropriate signs…shall be installed” (Section 9B.10). A report of a consistent parking-in-bike-lane problem to your city or county along with a reminder of this rule just might do the trick!

HCAOG Talks Unmet Transit Needs & Bike/Ped Allocations
At its Thursday meeting, the Humboldt County Association of Governments Board of Directors took on a number of important topics, including this year’s proposed allocations for bicycle & pedestrian projects from Transportation Development Act funds as well as the required annual findings of unmet transit needs. The majority of bike/ped funds are slated for the “Highway 101/Broadway Corridor Study” in Eureka. On transit, HCAOG prepared a finding that there’s a need for more late-night weekday bus service, but the local governments can’t afford it.

CRTP Comments on Eureka North-South Corridor Plans
CRTP has just submitted our comments on the initial design concepts for improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure around H & I Streets corridor – Eureka’s primary north-south corridor. The North Coast’s first protected intersections and bike boxes might be on the way!

Great Redwood Trail Bill Amended
The amendments include specifying Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) as the successor agency for the North Coast Railroad Authority’s tracks south of Willits. There is also new language emphasizing the intention that the trail provide for multiple uses.

New EV Charging Stations in Arcata?
The City Council was set to discuss a location for new electric vehicle chargers at this week’s meeting, but the meeting did not go as planned.

The Village Set for Final Appearance Before Planning Commission…Finally
After considering the Arcata student housing project over the course of about 10 meetings (we’ve lost count) over many months, the city’s Planning Commission is set to make a recommendation to the City Council on Tuesday.

The Little Engine That Wouldn’t Die
An independent group will hold a forum next week to provide an “update” on the imagined possibility of an east-west freight rail line connecting Humboldt Bay to the Central Valley. Many of us thought this proposed boondoggle was a thing of the past and we could move on to thinking about more helpful and realistic transportation infrastructure needs. Apparently not.

GHG Goals Threatened by VMT
Greenhouse gas reduction goals in many states may be thwarted by the failure to decrease vehicle miles traveled.

The Push for Higher Truck Weight Limits Continues
A federal committee says more study is needed. Local opponents of highway projects catering to STAA trucks (that would include CRTP), take note.

The Collector is CRTP’s weekly transportation news roundup, published every Friday. We focus on North Coast news, but we also include relevant state, national and international transportation news – plus other items that we just find kind of interesting! To submit items for consideration, email colin@transportationpriorities.org.

The Collector: The Village, The Great Redwood Trail Act, The Radical Up-zone Bill, and more

Bike Law Fact of the Week: Bike-Actuated Traffic Lights
Many bike riders have been in this situation: You’re approaching a traffic light which turns green only when a vehicle approaches (a “traffic-actuated signal” in transportation jargon). You pull up and stop at the red light, and nothing happens – your bicycle is not detected. Do you run the red light? Get off the bike and press a pedestrian signal button (if there is one)? However you get through, you might want to report that intersection afterwards to your local government or Caltrans. Because there’s actually a law in place that’s supposed to prevent this scenario from occurring: California Vehicle Code Section 21450.5 requires traffic-actuated signals to respond to bikes and motorcycles. Here’s a hint: grooves cut in the pavement often reveal where the detector lies, and a small bike-rider icon is occasionally even painted on the pavement to assist you. If you’re in the right place, you might be detected – but clearly a lot more work needs to be done to make these signals bike-friendly.

The Village Final EIR Released
The City of Arcata has released the Final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed big new student housing project, The Village. We think they were a tad dismissive of CRTP’s comments suggesting fewer vehicular improvements, less parking and a greater focus on bicycles, pedestrians and transit. However, the City and the developer have previously agreed to our suggestion of “unbundling” (charging separately for) residential rents & parking spaces. That will provide a significant incentive for future residents not to bring cars, and prevent non-car owning residents from having to subsidize parking for car owners. We’ll take our wins where we can get them!

RCEA Taking Applications for Zero Emission Vehicle Enthusiast Group
Your opportunity to help promote ZEVs in Humboldt.

Great Redwood Trail Act Passes First Committee
Support for Senator McGuire’s bill was unanimous in the Senate natural resources committee. Meanwhile, the Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, long-time enviro-adversaries of the North Coast Railroad Authority which would be abolished by the bill, seem fairly pleased.

CRTP Board Members Discuss Richardson Grove Project on KMUD
Board members Tom Wheeler, Barbara Kennedy, and Dave Spreen bring listeners up to date. To listen, click on the link above and scroll down to the Tuesday, April 10th Environment Show. The discussion starts at around 23 minutes.

Radical Up-Zoning Bill Amended, Set for Hearing
SB 827, which would override local zoning laws around major transit hubs and corridors in order to allow denser residential development, has been substantially scaled back. Potential building heights have been lowered, standards for “major” transit areas have been raised, and a bit of a loophole to allow some parking minimums has been introduced. New provisions have also been inserted with the intent to protect against gentrification. The bill is set for a hearing next week.

Precedent-Setting Lawsuit on Regional Transportation Planning & Climate Settled
The case, which went to the California Supreme Court twice, will require Regional Transportation Plans to take a much stronger look at the implications of transportation improvements for greenhouse gas emissions and sprawl.

Seattle May Implement Congestion Pricing
Charging cars to enter city centers, in order to reduce pollution and traffic jams, has been successful in many world cities but so far hasn’t gained much traction in the US. Is that about to change?

The Collector is CRTP’s weekly transportation news roundup, published every Friday. We focus on North Coast news, but we also include relevant state, national and international transportation news – plus other items that we just find kind of interesting! To submit items for consideration, email colin@transportationpriorities.org.

The Collector: Bike Laws, Speed Limits, Fuel Economy Standards

Bike Law Fact of the Week: Construction & Bike Lanes
Ever been forced out of an official bike lane by a temporary sign warning drivers about road work ahead? Turns out that’s not really allowed! Buried in the lengthy California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is this requirement (Section 6D.101, if you’re curious): “Bicyclists shall not be led into direct conflicts with mainline traffic, work site vehicles, or equipment moving through or around the TTC [temporary traffic control] zone.”

Plaza Task Force to Include Transportation Perspective
After comments from CRTP and others, the Arcata City Council on Wednesday agreed to add three at large seats to its new Plaza Improvement Task Force, one of which CRTP plans to apply for. CRTP has been involved in Plaza redesign efforts for the last year, arguing among other things that a more pedestrian-friendly Plaza would be good for civic life and local business. The City Council’s Transportation Safety Committee will also be represented on the Task Force, so the transportation perspective should be well represented!

Supervisors, Caltrans Take Input on Speed Limit Near Richardson Grove
Although marketed as a speed limit decrease, Caltrans’ proposal is actually to create a more gradual “step down” of speed south of the Grove, decreasing speed limits in some places while increasing them in others. CRTP and friends commented at the hearing held on Tuesday. We highlighted the ridiculous state laws that actually make it nearly impossible to lower speed limits in most circumstances. You can hear our comments by clicking on the link above and scrolling down to the 6pm newscast on Wednesday, April 4.

Did You Catch That Local Caltrans April Fools Joke?
Somehow the idea of a massive, absurdly expensive highway project meant to shave a few minutes off of commuting times for a handful of people didn’t seem that unrealistic.

Fuel Economy Standards the Latest Victims of Trump Administration
For everyone hoping the next generation of cars would help reduce our nation’s fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, this is time for some soul-searching – and litigation.

The Collector is CRTP’s weekly transportation news roundup, published every Friday. We focus on North Coast news, but we also include relevant state, national and international transportation news – plus other items that we just find kind of interesting! To submit items for consideration, email colin@transportationpriorities.org.

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The Collector is CRTP’s weekly transportation news roundup, published every Friday. We focus on North Coast news, but we also include relevant state, national and international transportation news – plus other items that we just find kind of interesting! You can submit items for consideration, or just enjoy the news collection!

The Collector