Adapting Humboldt’s Transportation Systems to the Pandemic

The Collector

April 3, 2020

Bike Repair is an Essential Service!
As reported by our friends at CalBike, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has now declared that bike maintenance and repair are essential services. Since the California stay-at-home order relies on DHS definitions, this means that bike repair and maintenance workers in the state can keep doing their critical work during the crisis. Locally, the revised Humboldt County shelter-in-place order does not specifically mention bike repair or bike shops – despite requests from CRTP and others – but we know that at least some local shops are still open and doing repairs.

Adapting Our Local Systems to the Pandemic
The National Association of City Transportation Officials is maintaining a great set of tools for local governments to adapt their transportation systems to the COVID-19 era. CRTP recommends that our local governments consider many of these tools, especially the use of traffic cones to create temporary protected bike lanes/sidewalk extensions in certain locations to allow more social distancing for people on foot and on bikes where the existing infrastructure isn’t sufficient. We’re also asking Arcata and Eureka, which have pedestrian “beg buttons” – intersections where you won’t get a walk signal without pressing a button – to reprogram traffic signals to give automatic pedestrian signals in order to reduce the repeated touching of common surfaces. If you have specific transportation-related recommendations for adapting to the pandemic, please send us an email.

National Fuel Economy Roll-Back Finalized by Trump Administration
Despite the pandemic putting many public processes on hold, the administration’s war on environmental regulations seems to have only intensified. Check out the related Action Alert put out by our friends at EPIC here.

Travel Is Down in Humboldt
But not as much as you might think. One company, using cell phone data, estimates that overall travel in the county is down only about 40% since the start of the pandemic. On the other hand, they say non-essential trips are down more than 70%.

Arcata Adopts New Stop Sign Installation Standards
The city will now consider multiple factors – including high bike and pedestrian activity – when considering whether to install a new stop sign. Previously, the decision was based almost entirely on traffic volumes.

Parking Lots May Get Put to a New Use
The Times-Standard reports that unused parking lots at churches and other locations in Arcata may soon see city-sanctioned tent encampments to help support and stabilize the homeless population during the pandemic.

Kinetic Grand Championship Race Canceled
The region’s premier art-and-active-transportation event is another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Car-Culture Restaurant Opening Delayed
The new drive-through on Broadway won’t be opening soon after all.

Last Chance Grade Geotechnical Study Move Forward
The environmental documentation for the study has been finalized – but this is all just a prelude to the environmental documentation for the final project, which will take years to complete.

Weekly Street Story Update: Stay Safe Out There
Ironically, while sheltering in place, more of us are walking and biking than ever before. Thankfully, car traffic is down, making the streets generally safer. But if you see or experience something dangerous, please make your Street Story report here.

Transit Got Some Funding in Stimulus Package; What Now?
Transit agencies will need a lot more support before this is over. TransForm has put out a set of bold but practical recommendations for policymakers in California to rescue transit in our state.

Recommendations for the Next Stimulus Package
Negotiations are already under way for future stimulus packages in Washington, DC, and reports indicate that the next legislation might focus on infrastructure. Smart Growth America has a set of recommendations to make sure that we focus those dollars where they will actually help, rather than contributing to more sprawl and more driving.

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