August 18, 2023
Arcata City Council Will Finally Review the Gateway Plan Next Week
It’s been nearly 2 years since the draft Gateway Plan was first published, and next Tuesday night the City Council will finally get their chance to review it. The Council will sit down with the Planning Commission to discuss the Commission’s recommendations and will likely take “straw votes” to indicate their positions on the key issues. (To be specific, three of the Councilmembers will discuss and vote; the other two have had to recuse themselves from Gateway-related decisions because they own property near the area.)
This meeting is likely to have a big impact on the final fate of the Gateway Plan. Please show up and voice your support! After all, as we’ve said many times, this is the most bike and pedestrian-friendly land use plan yet proposed in our region. It includes great infrastructure upgrades and pedestrian-oriented building design standards, as well as encouraging higher densities that will increase walkability and bikeability and support better transit service.
One hot topic that will be discussed on Tuesday is the proposed K and L Street “couplet.” This is one of the central transportation features of the plan, so we want to make sure our members and supports know the basic facts. The city is proposing to make K and L Streets into single-lane, one-way streets, while preserving and enhancing the off-street trail that already runs along the L Street corridor. Because these streets would have only one lane, they would not be subject to the speeding problems found on multi-lane one-ways, and the design changes would make it much safer and more comfortable to walk and bike between downtown and the Gateway area. However, the proposal would also build out the currently incomplete (and therefore very low-traffic) L Street from Alliance Road to Samoa Boulevard, and divert southbound traffic from K Street to L Street, next to the trail. Many people are understandably upset about that.
CRTP wants to preserve and create as much car-free and low-car space as possible. We also feel the urgent need to prioritize fixing the biggest bike and pedestrian safety issues wherever they are found. Unfortunately, the over-heated and sometimes misleading rhetoric about the couplet has distracted from the biggest problems for people walking, biking and rolling in the neighborhood – notably the current designs of K and 11th Streets. In fact, with all the attention on K and L, virtually no attention has been devoted to fixing dangerous 11th Street. So in the end, if K and 11th Streets are overhauled for bike and pedestrian safety – and the off-street trail along L Street is preserved – we will consider it a big win.
We Should Build Housing on Unneeded Parking Lots – and Not Just in Eureka
Check out this op-ed from CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske about the need to put all of that paved land to better use. The spotlight in this piece is on a particularly egregious example of wasted space: the vast and mostly empty parking lot at the former Ray’s Food Place in McKinleyville. The owners of this lot could build enough housing for hundreds of families if they wanted to – and even better, it’s close to the future McKinleyville Town Center and right on the Redwood Transit Service bus route!
While we’re talking about parking lots and housing, don’t forget to tell everyone you know in Eureka not to sign that misleading Rob Arkley-backed petition! Despite the “Housing for All” name, it’s actually designed to block the planned transit center and walkable, affordable housing in the name of preserving every single public parking lot space in the already over-parked downtown.
How to Become a Great Bike City
In the latest EcoNews, we give some history about how cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen became great bike cities, and draw lessons for our local communities.
Street Story: A Simple Way to Contribute to the Fight for Safe Streets
Reports on Street Story only take a few minutes, and they give CRTP and local government agencies better information about the need for safety improvements. So don’t forget to make a report every time you experience a near-miss, a crash, or a hazardous location. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.
News from Beyond the North Coast
No, E-Bikes Are Not Causing the Bike Safety Crisis
Some Southern California cities are reacting to e-bike riders being hit by vehicles by blaming the e-bikes. Some media outlets are also promoting this narrative. But this is just another victim-blaming distraction from the real problems: inadequate infrastructure and ever-bigger cars and trucks.
San Francisco Objects to Expansion of Driverless Taxis
The state voted last week to allow “robotaxis” to operate at all hours. The city says they’re already disrupting transit and creating safety hazards, and the expanded hours would only make things worse.
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 email@example.com.