Greyhound Ending North Coast Service

The Collector

June 14, 2024


Affordable Downtown Eureka Housing One Step Closer to Reality
Nonprofit affordable housing developer Linc Housing secured additional funding this week, bringing their three downtown projects closer to construction. The projects will replace underutilized parking lots and create much-needed affordable, walkable housing in an area served by both city and regional transit systems. We’re excited to see these projects nearing completion!

Greyhound Ending North Coast Service
CRTP has learned that Greyhound will be ending its route on the North Coast at the end of June, and will no longer provide its previous service between Arcata and San Francisco. We are deeply disappointed with the loss of this important regional bus service. But readers should know that Amtrak continues to provide a similar bus service, and the new Redwood Coast Express service from the Humboldt Transit Authority now allows riders to piece together a low-cost trip from Del Norte to the Bay Area on regional transit buses as well.

Ride Your Bike to the Oyster Festival!
CRTP will be providing our bike valet service at the Oyster Festival in Arcata this Saturday. Ride to the event, and we’ll watch your bike for you – you don’t even need to lock it up!

In our recent Street Story Data Analysis, Central Avenue in McKinleyville rightfully attracted significant attention. Reports indicate that crashes and near misses occur here regularly. Drivers are often reported coming off the freeway at fast speeds and continue in a similar manner down the length of Central, despite stoplights and high traffic. Bicyclists report narrow shoulders near the freeway and not feeling safe biking down Central even with a bike lane due to drivers speeding and high traffic. There are numerous recorded incidents of bicyclists and pedestrians being cut off by drivers who are either not paying attention or trying to get ahead of the non-car travelers. One highlighted report from Central Ave:
“I was bicycling southbound in the bike lane on Central Avenue when a vehicle crossed my path into a parking lot so close to me that I had to brake abruptly and went over the handlebars, injuring my hand and shoulder.”
 
Let us know your experiences on Central Avenue and other areas in Humboldt County on Street Story. Making a report is quick and easy!  Haga clic aquí para hacer un informe en español.
A wide expanse of Central Avenue asphalt is in the foreground, with a parking lot and sign for the McKinleyville Shopping Center behind
The driver was very seriously injured, but thankfully did not hit anybody else. This scary incident highlights the need for significant safety improvements on 11th Street, which along with K Street have been priorities for CRTP for the last few years. The city has recently taken up our idea of starting with near-term, “quick-build” safety improvements to these two streets, and we hope to see changes on the ground soon.
The battery failed while charging. While this may be a first for our area, cheap e-bike batteries have unfortunately caused a number of fires in other communities, almost always due a charging failure. This is a good reminder to only buy e-bikes with UL-listed batteries, and to follow all directions for use and charging. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority has information about what to look for in a quality e-bike on their rebate information page.
The tunnel will be the longest in California, and the biggest and most expensive infrastructure project on the North Coast in many years. It will also come with significant environmental impacts – although less significant than many of the other alternatives that were under consideration. CRTP will monitor the project as designs progress to ensure that there are safe facilities provided for bicyclists and other road users.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Does Jim Wood Think There’s No Transit on the North Coast?
Recently, some politicians have been fighting to exempt rural areas from requirements to assess the amount of driving caused by new development. This assessment has been part of the environmental review process for several years now, and is critical to advancing climate goals and reducing car dependence. But to hear some people talk about it, car-dependent development is the only option in vast swaths of the state. In a recent legislative hearing, the North Coast’s own Assemblymember Jim Wood apparently suggested – falsely – that there’s no point in measuring driving in his district, because there’s no public transit people could use instead.

Of course, there are many transit systems serving the North Coast, and we assume Wood knows that. Maybe the Assemblymember misspoke, or maybe he was misquoted. Either way, fighting to maintain the car-dependent status quo is a terrible idea. We hope that our representatives recognize the urgent need to develop more housing in areas that are served by the buses and bike lanes and sidewalks we have – and to put more funding toward improving those systems instead of pretending they don’t exist.

One Simple Trick for Lowering Car Insurance Rates
Make the streets safer! A new law in Wales lowering traffic speeds has had the result of not only reducing collisions, but also reducing auto insurance costs. Why couldn’t we do the same in this country?


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.

 

 

Ride the Bus for Free This Summer!

The Collector

June 7, 2024


Ride the Bus for Free This Summer!
The Arcata & Mad River Transit System is offering free rides for everyone for the whole month of June, and the entire Humboldt County bus system will be free on Thursday, June 20, for National Dump the Pump Day. Buses throughout the county are also free for kids under 18 and seniors 62 and over all summer (June, July and August). With all the free rides, this summer is a great opportunity for new riders to try out the bus!

While you’re riding, make sure to keep an eye out for anything to report on Street Story. Even as a passenger on the bus, the safety concerns you notice are well founded experiences worth reporting. Happy Street Story reporting! Haga clic aquí para hacer un informe en español.

A white, yellow and red Arcata & Mad River Transit System bus on the street in front of Arcata City Hall

Arcata City Council Moves on General Plan, Sunset Interchange, and Bikeshare
The Council this Wednesday held one last discussion of proposed General Plan updates before a scheduled vote on July 17th. While they didn’t request many amendments, one change they did make was disappointing: they watered down language that would allow the city to consider making the Plaza car-free in the future, and pushed consideration of that measure out years into the future. Campaigning for a reduced role for cars on the Arcata Plaza was one of CRTP’s first projects, and we think the Council’s decision to effectively freeze the Plaza’s streets in their current form for years to come is short-sighted. Nevertheless, the overall General Plan update still represents a major step forward for walking, biking and transit, with many strong, progressive policies on land use, parking reform, and street safety.

At the same meeting, the Council awarded a contract to an engineering firm to develop more specific plans for the proposed roundabouts at the Sunset Avenue/LK Wood interchange. These dangerous intersections are long overdue for a redesign, and it’s important that we get the new designs right. We are encouraged by the fact that Councilmembers and city staff expressed support for changes to the conceptual designs based on concerns raised by CRTP, including separating bike and pedestrian facilities, raising crosswalks to slow down traffic, and potentially eliminating dangerous slip lanes.

Also on Wednesday, the Council extended the contract for the city’s growing bikeshare system for another two years.

Eureka City Council Approves Danco Partnership for EaRTH Center
Local affordable housing developer Danco is now slated to build up to 99 affordable units on top of a ground-floor transit center in the heart of Eureka. CRTP is excited about the long-needed transit center, and about all of the new homes that will have such great access to transit! We hope the new agreement will allow the delayed project to move forward more quickly toward construction.


News from Beyond the North Coast

Safe Road Design Saves Lives!
A new international study confirms that following basic safety design principles for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists makes streets safer and has already saved hundreds of thousands of lives in communities around the globe. Safe streets advocates should take heart: our work is having a real and significant impact.

E-Bike Rebates Can Help People Drive Less!
In other exciting news, a new Canadian study documented that people who used a local rebate program to buy an e-bike in one local community decreased their driving by 30-40%. As one of the researchers noted: “Travel behaviour has a lot of inertia, it doesn’t change a lot…So when you find things that get it to the double-digits of shifts in travel behavior, it’s pretty remarkable.” Click here for information on our local e-bike rebate program.

New York Governor Cancels Congestion Pricing
Now for some bad news: The decades-long effort to charge cars entering the busiest parts of New York City and use the revenue to improve public transit (which is how most people in the city get around) saw a huge setback this week, with Governor Kathy Hochul effectively canceling the program less than a month before it was set to be implemented. Her decision is very bad news for advocates in many other US cities who have been hoping New York would set an example they could follow.


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.

 

 

Humboldt Trails Summit Tomorrow

The Collector

May 31, 2024


Humboldt Trails Summit Tomorrow
Our friends at the Humboldt Trails Council are holding their annual Trails Summit on Saturday in Eureka, and there will be lots of exciting trail news to talk about! For example, the long-awaited Humboldt Bay Trail connecting Arcata and Eureka is finally nearing completion, and the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan process is well under way. In fact, the public comment period on that draft Master Plan was recently extended, so you still have time to submit comments. You can check out CRTP’s comment letter here.

Arcata City Council Moves Gateway Plan Forward with Minimal Changes
At their meeting this week, Councilmembers only requested a few relatively minor edits to the Gateway Plan. The Council will continue to discuss details of the city’s broader General Plan update at a meeting next Wednesday. Then the General Plan, Gateway Area Plan and associated zoning code will all come to the Council for a vote on July 17th.

CRTP has been deeply engaged with this planning process for years, and we are extremely excited to see these great bike, pedestrian and transit-friendly plans finally move toward adoption. We are grateful to all of our members and supporters who sent in supportive comments to the Councilmembers, and especially to everyone who showed up at the Council meeting this week to voice support.

What’s the Street Story in Your School Zone?
Parents and caregivers who drive on campus and in neighborhoods near school can play an important role in enhancing safety near schools by following safe driving practices. At arrival and dismissal times, drivers are often in a hurry and distracted which can lead to unsafe conditions for students and others walking, bicycling and driving in the area. Whether you are driving, biking or walking your kids to school, Street Story is a useful tool to report these happenings! Children 13 year & older can independently make reports on Street Story and children 12 years old and younger can make reports with guardian supervision. Young people deserve have a voice in street safety advocacy too!  La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

Two young people, seen from behind with backpacks, use a crosswalk and smile at each other

Driver Strikes & Kills David Sprague, 66, in Eureka
After hitting Sprague, the driver apparently continued to speed down the street, striking several vehicles and a building and sending more people to the hospital. Our thoughts are with Sprague’s family and friends, and with the other victims.

Because this happened on I Street, which very recently underwent a long-awaited lane reduction and other bike and pedestrian safety improvements, some may be tempted to say that the safety project was unsuccessful or even counterproductive. But that’s the wrong conclusion to draw from this tragedy. Pedestrian deaths in Eureka are infuriatingly common, and the recent improvements, from bulb-outs to buffered bike lanes, are proven to improve safety. It’s even possible that they kept the results of this incident from being even worse.

What is clear, however, is that these improvements were not enough. An event like this is another tragic reminder of the need for actual physical protection for bike and pedestrian facilities, for even more effective traffic calming interventions – and for much stricter requirements for the safe design of vehicles.

Eureka City Council to Consider Changes to EaRTH Center Project
The ground floor of the new building will remain a transit center. However, it now appears that upper floors will host additional affordable housing built by local developer Danco, after previous partners including Cal Poly Humboldt dropped out of the project. The potential for even more – and more affordable – housing units above the transit center only makes this project more exciting from our perspective. The City Council will consider approving an environmental exemption and the Danco partnership at its meeting next Tuesday.


News from Beyond the North Coast

US Streets Just Keep Getting More Dangerous for Pedestrians
The latest edition of Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design report is out, and the news is not good. In 2022, the last year for which there are complete data, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the US hit a forty-year high. Pedestrian deaths have increased 75% just since 2010, as bigger and more dangerous vehicles continue to flood US streets that are designed for speed over safety. And some communities – particularly those that are Native American, Black, or low-income – continue to be hit much harder than others.

Caltrans Complete Street Bill Makes It Through the Senate
SB 960 now moves on to the Assembly, where we hope it will also pass. If adopted into law, the bill would increase requirements for Caltrans to include bike, pedestrian and transit facilities in projects on state highways in local communities. Check out CalBike’s legislative summary for information about the recent progress of this and other important transportation-related bills.

Legislature Looks to Restore Bike & Pedestrian Funding
Governor Newsom had proposed completely eliminating the next two years’ budget for the state’s main funding program for bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Thankfully, the legislature’s budget restores the Active Transportation Program’s funding with money from the State Highway Account. We deeply hope that the legislature wins this fight.


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.

 

 

Arcata’s Gateway Plan Enters the Final Stretch

The Collector

May 10, 2024

Editor’s Note: The Collector will be on a break for the next two weeks, but never fear – we will be back bringing you local transportation news before you know it!


Arcata’s Gateway Plan Enters the Final Stretch
Next Tuesday, the Arcata Planning Commission will consider a final recommendation to City Council on the Gateway Area Plan, the rest of the General Plan updates, and the Gateway zoning code. Two weeks later, on May 29th, the City Council is expected to make its final decision. It’s been two and a half long years since the first draft of the Gateway Plan was published. As we’ve said many times, this is the most bike and pedestrian friendly land use plan yet proposed in our region, and many of its best policies have now been incorporated into the General Plan to apply citywide.

Over the long term, these plans and policies will encourage the development of more walkable, vibrant neighborhoods at densities that can support high-quality public transit. We’re very excited at the prospect of the Gateway Plan and zoning code and the updated General Plan finally being adopted. We encourage CRTP’s members and supporters to express their support to the Planning Commission and City Council.

Delays for Arcata Trail & Eureka Bike Boulevard
Next week, the cities of Eureka and Arcata are requesting one-year funding extensions from the California Transportation Commission for two important local projects. In Eureka, the C Street Bike Boulevard is delayed due to an unexpected conflict with a PG&E power pole, and in Arcata, the Annie & Mary Trail project connecting the Sunset neighborhood near Cal Poly Humboldt with Valley West and points north is delayed due to funding changes and red tape. Both projects now have a construction deadline of June 2025.

The Arcata trail project is part of the much larger Great Redwood Trail, whose Master Plan is currently out for public review. If you want to learn more about the Great Redwood Trail, our allies at EPIC are holding a webinar next week. Click here for more information.

What Are Street Story Reports Telling Us in Humboldt County?
Find CRTP’s new Street Story data analysis, “What are Street Story Reports Telling Us in Humboldt County? An Analysis of Almost Five Years of Data”, on our website here. In this report we take a look into all of the Street Story data in Humboldt County up until March 25th, 2024. We focused our analysis on the county as a whole, but we also took a closer look at the trends in Eureka, Arcata, and unincorporated parts of the county which includes areas like McKinleyville and Bayside.

The report highlights many narratives from Street Story reports to give the reader direct insight into community members’ experiences. Street Stories provide robust and qualitative safety information that is not available from traditional data sources, such as police-reported crash data. The purpose of this report is to provide a rich examination of community reports from the Street Story tool, draw attention to the information in these reports, and spark further conversations about how to address the issues identified by Street Story users.

The more people use Street Story, the more powerful the platform becomes at supporting safer streets. Click here to make your Street Story report today! La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

A map shows reports of collisions (marked by red dots) and near-misses (marked by orange dots) throughout Humboldt County, concentrated around Humboldt Bay
Street Story crash and near-miss reports in Humboldt

Pedestrian Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver in Southern Humboldt
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of 28-year-old Dakota Stafslien. This is a tragic reminder that drivers must take great care and expect all kinds of road users, even on rural highways. Despite the lack of sidewalks or bike lanes, pedestrians and bicyclists often travel along or across these highways, sometimes because there is no other way to get where they need to go. This is especially true in places like Richardson Grove State Park, where this crash apparently occurred.

It’s Still Bike Month!
Events coming up in the next couple of weeks include bike to work days, a Eureka Mural Ride, and the big Bike Celebration at Eureka’s Jefferson Community Center on Saturday, May 18th. For a full list of events, check out the Bike Month calendar here.

Watch Our Parking Reform Webinar!
If you missed Monday’s webinar with Parking Reform Network President Tony Jordan, you still have a chance to learn some exciting information about parking policy, because we posted the video!

And if you want to apply what you learned in the webinar, a great opportunity is coming up next week. On Monday, there is a public workshop on Humboldt County’s proposed tiny house ordinance. You can attend and tell them to get rid of the costly and unscientific parking mandates that would effectively limit the number of affordable homes that could be built under the ordinance (and require more pavement than housing for a tiny house village).

A photo of Tony Jordan wearing a blue striped shirt, dark suit jacket and checked tie
Parking Reform Network President Tony Jordan

News from Beyond the North Coast

Advocates Ask Newsom to Release Transit Funding
Last year, transit agencies and supporters fought hard to get the state to provide desperately needed funding to keep buses and trains running throughout the state – and they won. The money was allocated, and transit agencies made their plans relying on it. Then, just over a week ago, the Newsom administration refused to release the funding by the April 30th deadline, citing the state’s budget shortfall. Without this funding, many transit agencies face the prospect of entering a “death spiral” of service cuts and declining ridership, leaving the state unable to meet its climate targets, and millions of transit riders stranded.

“When Driving Is Not an Option”
A new book by disability rights advocate Anna Zivarts explores the large population of people – even in the US, and even in rural areas – who cannot and do not drive, and discusses what can be done to design our streets and our communities for all people, not just drivers.


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.

 

 

New Buffered Bike Lanes in Eureka

The Collector

May 3, 2024


Still Time to Register for Monday’s Parking Reform Webinar!
Monday at 5:30 pm, CRTP will be hosting a webinar featuring Tony Jordan, President of the Parking Reform Network. Tony is one of the most prominent speakers on parking reform in the US today, and we’re lucky to have him giving a talk for North Coast audiences. Join us to learn about “Revitalizing Space: The Hidden Potential of Parking Reform.” But be warned, once you see the truth about cheap and abundant parking, you’ll never be the same! Click here to register.

May Is Bike Month
It’s officially Bike Month, and as part of the Bike Month Humboldt Coalition, we’re celebrating with a lot of fun events. On Saturday (May 4th), you can participate in a Bike Rodeo and Clinic at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake. Then on Sunday (May 5th), CRTP will be leading a Street Story-themed ride, starting at 11 am in front of the Creamery Building in Arcata. And Wednesday (May 8th) is National Walk, Roll or Bike to School Day! Check out the whole Bike Month calendar here.

New Buffered Bike Lanes on H & I Streets in Eureka
At long last, the new buffered bike lanes have been painted on H & I Street, reducing the number of car lanes and creating a safer facility for people biking – and for everyone else too! CRTP and many others advocated for this project for years, and we’re very excited to see it finally completed. If you’ve got questions about how to drive with the new street design, the city has posted some helpful information.


Share Your Street Story About Broadway, Harris or Henderson Street!
The City of Eureka will be hosting a special meeting about the proposed Sunset Heights multi-family development on Broadway between Harris and Henderson, on Tuesday, May 7th at 5pm. Click here for more information about the meeting. Street safety has always been a major concern in this area, and CRTP has worked hard to advocate for improvements. One way you can contribute to the conversation is by making Street Story reports!

With this new development, many more people will be living in this area – meaning more people on the streets. The City of Eureka should know the street conditions for those walking, biking, and rolling. What has been your experience traveling in this area? How safe or unsafe do you feel on these streets? What improvements do you think could be helpful? La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

A map shows dots and lines indicating reports of crashes, near misses and hazards in the area of Broadway, Harris and Henderson Streets in Eureka


News from Beyond the North Coast

Intelligent Speed Assistance Bill Gutted
We reported last week that SB 961, which originally would have required active speed assistance on new cars in California, was amended to only require passive assistance. In other words, instead of a system that actually prevents dangerous speeding, the bill would only require a system that lets a driver know when they are speeding. Now further amendments have been made to specify that drivers will only get a “brief, one-time signal” when they exceed the speed limit by 10 mph – basically ensuring that the system is easy to ignore and therefore useless. We continue to be amazed at the insistence of many legislators on protecting what they apparently view as a right to break the law by speeding, and their refusal to require widely available, inexpensive technology which would save many lives.

Roads Are the Biggest Threat to Endangered Red Wolves
Cars and trucks are not only one of the leading causes of death for people – they are also one of the leading causes of death for animals. In some cases the death toll is so extreme that it can lead to extinction.


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.

 

Bike Month Starts Next Week!

The Collector

April 26, 2024


Bike Month Starts Next Week!
May is Bike Month, and as always the Bike Month Humboldt Coalition is coordinating a number of events including fun group rides and the annual Bike Celebration at Jefferson Community Center in Eureka. Next week’s events include a First Friday ride and a Bike Rodeo and Clinic at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake on Saturday, May 4th. Then on Sunday, May 5th, CRTP will be leading a Street Story-themed ride, starting at 11 am in front of the Creamery Building in Arcata. Check out the whole Bike Month calendar here. And don’t forget to register for the Love to Ride challenge, where you can register your rides and encourage other people on their rides too!

Public Workshop Next Week on Arcata K & 11th Street Improvements
Next Thursday at 5:30 pm, the City of Arcata is hosting a workshop at Redwood Coast Montessori (793 K Street) to gather public input on safety improvements for K & 11th Streets. Prioritizing near-term safety improvements for bikes & pedestrians on these streets has been a core demand from CRTP for the last several years, and we’re glad to see the city responding. We have specifically called for a “quick build” strategy, which means low-cost, temporary changes that can improve safety almost immediately while funding and plans are refined for more permanent changes. The Planning Commission endorsed this idea at a recent meeting as well. (And non-Arcatans should note that quick-build isn’t just for Arcata: this week, the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee voted to support the concept of a quick-build overhaul of Hiller Road.)

K and 11th Streets are busy streets with frequently high-speed traffic. They have no bike facilities and are dangerous to cross while walking, biking or rolling. If you want to support near-term safety improvements on these streets, please come out next Thursday and show your support for meaningful quick-build changes as part of a longer term design overhaul. You can also provide input through the city’s survey, and of course you should keep making reports on Street Story too.

Support Public Transit as a County Budget Priority
Humboldt County is circulating a survey asking community members for feedback on their budget priorities. The topics include “climate action including transit” – which would mean attracting more riders to transit instead of driving – and “maintaining and expanding bus services” for people who depend on transit. Both of these things mean investing in better transit service, and both are critically important. The county needs to hear that community members prioritize investments in public transit, both for climate action and for transportation equity. If you agree, please take the survey and give top marks to transit.

Will Humboldt County Require Tiny Houses to Have Big Parking Lots?
The Humboldt County Planning Commission recently discussed a draft ordinance to allow tiny house developments, both for long-term residence and for emergency and transitional housing. Unfortunately, the draft ordinance they discussed would require extra-wide driveways and at least one parking space per tiny house, meaning the space required for parking would exceed the size of the houses. These requirements would unnecessarily limit the number of homes that can be built and increase the cost of what is supposed to be affordable housing – despite the fact that many tiny house residents will not even own cars, and some tiny houses will be built where there is plenty of parking already. Mandating new parking spaces for these homes is unfair and counterproductive. CRTP has asked that the requirements be removed.


Street Story is for People Who Use Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices, Too!
People using any mode of transportation, including wheelchairs and other mobility devices, can report their experiences of crashes, near-misses, hazards/unsafe or safe locations on Street Story. People using wheelchairs and other mobility devices can face unique hazards like sidewalks that have obstructions, overgrown vegetation encroaching on the sidewalk, intersections with poor visibility, etc. The Street Story platform lists “mobility device” as a transportation mode and provides a variety of device type options: wheelchair, walker or cane, white cane, guide dog, prosthetic, or other. It is important to the Street Story team to make sure the platform is inclusive for all travelers and circumstances. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

A screen shot from a Street Story report form shows a variety of options for transportation mode. "Using a mobility device" is checked, and various specific options for the type of mobility device are displayed.
People using any kind of mobility device can make reports on Street Story.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Caltrans Complete Streets Bill Passes Senate Transportation Committee
If passed and signed by the governor, SB 960 will create a clear mandate for Caltrans to include improved bike, pedestrian and transit facilities in all of its relevant projects. That would make a huge difference in places where state highways pass through local communities, as in most North Coast towns.

Also approved by the committee was a significantly watered down bill requiring speed monitoring systems in new vehicles, and another bill prohibiting state funding for bike “sharrows,” which research has found do not improve safety (and may even 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 colin@transportationpriorities.org.

 

Celebrate Earth Day Weekend with CRTP!

The Collector

April 19, 2024


Celebrate Earth Day Weekend with CRTP!
On Satuday, join us at the Arcata Plaza for the first weekly farmers market with a completely pedestrianized Plaza! This has been a long time coming, and we’re excited to see a safer, more welcoming, more environmentally friendly environment for the market. Even better, if you ride your bike tomorrow, we’ll be providing free bike valet! Bike valet will be located in the courtyard of the Stillman building, just off the Plaza next to Humboldt Glassblowers on 9th Street.

Then on Sunday, join CRTP, the Northcoast Environmental Center, and Moon Cycles for a group bike ride through the Arcata Bottoms. We’ll be leaving from Moon Cycles in Arcata at noon, stopping at the Hammond Trail Bridge (where you can turn around if you want), and then continuing to the Earth Day Festival at Pierson Park in McKinleyville. CRTP will have a table at the festival, too, so look for us there even if you can’t join the bike ride!

A Lot of Crashes in Humboldt Involve Drugs or Alcohol
A Louisiana law firm’s report has been getting some local media attention for concluding that Humboldt County is first in the nation for the percentage of car crashes that involve drugs or alcohol. There are a lot of factors that influence a statistic like this – and there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel while intoxicated – but we want to highlight two systemic factors that are often overlooked. First, developing more walkable communities can reduce the number of people who drive after drinking or using other drugs, simply by making it easier to get around without a car. Second, slower streets reduce injuries and fatalities from any kind of crash, including those involving drugs or alcohol.

Arcata Highway Cap Proposal Getting More Attention
We first reported on the idea building a massive land bridge over part of Highway 101 in Arcata back in 2022. That idea seems significantly closer to reality now, with Arcata being one of only three communities statewide selected for a grant to help reconnect communities divided by highways. And a highway cap would be really exciting. It could not only reconnect divided neighborhoods but also create new land that could be used for housing, transit facilities, and more.

But realistically, if such a highway cap is built, it will take many years and a lot more money. That’s why we’re also paying attention to other, less headline-grabbing aspects of the grant, including the potential for smaller bike and pedestrian bridges or other connections across Highways 101 and 299. Among other things, such connections could help alleviate the longstanding isolation of the Valley West neighborhood.

Another Sign That There’s Plenty of Parking in Downtown Eureka
Rob Arkley helped orchestrate a “land swap” a couple of years ago to keep the city from building affordable housing on some of its downtown parking lots. Eagle-eyed observers may have noticed that the city agreeing to this swap and removing several parking lots from its plans did not mollify Arkley and his cronies. They are still fighting on several fronts to keep housing from being built on any of the other downtown lots.

The Times-Standard now reports that Arkley’s company purchased one of the City Hall parking lots that was “swapped” into private hands and blocked access to it, attempting to use it as a “bargaining chip” to negotiate with the city to stop development of another parking lot. But that strategy is not working, because the city does not need access to its old parking lot. As City Manager Miles Slattery said: “It’s nothing, there’s plenty of parking around there.”


Make Your Street Story Reports for Arcata’s K & 11th Streets
Thanks to advocacy from CRTP and our allies over the last couple of years, the City of Arcata is planning to improve safety on K and 11th streets – and they need your help. The city will be hosting a workshop May 2nd 5:30-7:30 pm at Redwood Coast Montessori (793 K Street). There is also a survey you can fill out here to provide ideas and input for potential enhancements. CRTP encourages you to make reports on Street Story for these areas as well. Make a Street Story report, fill out the survey, and attend the workshop about K and 11th streets to have your voice heard! La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.


News from Beyond the North Coast

Caltrans Complete Streets Bill Has First Committee Hearing Next Week
Check out CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske’s letter to the editor explaining how important this bill is to North Coast communities. Then use CalBike’s handy tool to contact legislators in support of the bill!

New Accessible Streetscape Design Survey
Smart Growth America, the International Parking and Mobility Institute, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund are sponsoring a survey for the disability community. The results will help inform a new Accessible Streetscape Design Guide. If you’re a member of the disability community, click here to find out more and take the survey.


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.

More Bike Lanes Coming to Eureka

The Collector

April 12, 2024


Eureka Council to Consider Adding a Bike Lane in Old Town
At their meeting next Tuesday, Councilmembers will consider a proposal to replace one of the car lanes on H Street between 1st and 2nd Streets with a buffered bike lane. While it’s only one block, the project will help fill in one of the Old Town bike lane gaps left by other projects. If you think it’s important for bicyclists to be able to access the Waterfront Trail on safe, comfortable facilities, without having to mix with car traffic, come out on Tuesday night and show your support!

And speaking of those other projects, keep an eye out for the lane re-painting that will remove a car lane and add a buffered bike lane to most of the rest of H and I Streets outside of Old Town. This is part of a larger project that also includes many recently constructed pedestrian crossing enhancements. The project has been in the works for many years, and the city says it’s about to finally complete it. It marks a major step forward for safer biking, walking and driving in Eureka.

Register for Our Webinar on Parking Reform
With parking reforms currently being developed and implemented in local communities including Eureka, Arcata and McKinleyville, it couldn’t be a better time to learn more about the ins and outs of good parking policy. That’s why we’re hosting a webinar on parking reform on Monday, May 6th, featuring Tony Jordan, President of the Parking Reform Network. Tony is one of the most prominent voices on parking policy nationwide, and we’re excited to have him give a talk for North Coast audiences! Click here to register.

Join Us for an Earth Day Bike Ride!
The next group bike ride in our ongoing series with the Northcoast Environmental Center and Moon Cycles will happen next Sunday, April 21. We’ll start in Arcata at noon and head north through the Arcata Bottoms, stopping at the Hammond Trail Bridge. Those who want can then continue on with us to the Earth Day Celebration at Pierson Park in McKinleyville. Click here to register.

Redwood Coast Transit Authority’s New Survey
Del Norte County’s transit agency is considering a fare increase, and they’ve put out a survey to get public feedback. We understand that transit agencies are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to funding, but we’re not sure it’s fair to ask riders to choose between higher fares and less service without providing more information. One piece of information the survey leaves out, for example, is that local governments are allowed to replace fare revenue with other local funding sources. In other words, Del Norte County and/or Crescent City could choose to invest money from their own coffers into Redwood Coast Transit instead of increasing fares – or they could cover the cost of fares entirely and make transit free! It’s something to think about.

While you’re thinking about transit, you might be inspired to help encourage more people to ride buses. Good news – you’ll soon have that opportunity! The Humboldt Transit Authority is working on a new marketing campaign, and they’re looking for people of all kinds to appear in their photos and videos. A small stipend is even available! Fill out this form if you’re interested in participating.


Street Story: You Have Some Data; Now What?
Join the conversation at the next Street Story webinar on 4/17 from 1-2pm: “I have the data, now what? Part 2”! In this webinar, you’ll hear success stories from Street Story partners, gain knowledge about packaging data, and learn about helpful resources for collecting and analyzing transportation safety data. CRTP was a presenter in Part 1 of this webinar. We’re excited to be listeners and learners this time around! If you are interested in attending, you can register here. And as always, keep up the Street Story reporting in the meantime! La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.


News from Beyond the North Coast

Gas Prices Are in the News Again
Gas prices are getting higher everywhere, and they’re particularly high here on the North Coast. But even at their highest levels, the prices do not reflect the damage to the climate, the environment and human health caused by burning that gas in our vehicles. As the Lost Coast Outpost said in its article: “Might be time to bust out your bicycles, Humboldt.”

Remote Work Affects Driving and Transit Riding
There has been a lot of speculation about how the increase in remote work resulting from the pandemic has affected transportation patterns. A new study finds that while increased remote work results in less driving, it has an even bigger impact on transit ridership. If remote work is here to stay, it will pose a big challenge to transit agencies trying to increase ridership.


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.

Local E-Bike Vouchers Now Available!

The Collector

April 5, 2024


Local E-Bike Vouchers Now Available!
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority launched its new e-bike incentive program this week, providing financial assistance for local residents interested in buying an e-bike. Vouchers range from $150 to $500, depending on your income, with a few vouchers of up to $1,000 available for people who need a special adaptive e-bike. You can find all the details here. Apply now if you’re interested – they’re expected to go fast.

Meanwhile, the long-delayed statewide e-bike incentive program has still not launched, although officials say it will happen soon. That program will offer vouchers of up to $2,000, depending on your income and the type of e-bike you buy. Theoretically you will also be able to combine state and local vouchers, but we suspect the local program may run out of funds before the state program launches.

Draft Master Plan for Great Redwood Trail Published
The draft plan describes the design concepts for different trail segments, which will pass through environments ranging from urban neighborhoods to wilderness areas, and lays out priorities for which segments to develop first. CRTP has always been a big supporter of the Great Redwood Trail. We’re still reviewing the draft plan, but we’re particularly excited about the possibilities for building more commuter trail segments connecting local neighborhoods and communities.

You can review and comment on the draft trail plan here. You can also learn more about the plan and provide input at a public meeting next Tuesday evening at the Sequoia Conference Center in Eureka. Details about that event can be found here.

Car-Free Plaza for Saturday Farmers Markets
Starting on April 20th, the Arcata Plaza will close to vehicles during Saturday farmers markets. This common-sense measure will improve safety for both market vendors and attendees, and will help create a more welcoming community space. To celebrate, CRTP will be providing bike valet at the market on April 20th.

Long-time CRTP supporters will remember that the effort to create a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly Plaza was one of our first campaigns, starting way back in 2017. As part of that campaign, we worked for several years to support the North Coast Growers Association’s efforts to create a car-free Plaza during Saturday markets. We’re excited to see it finally happening!


Street Story Can Also Be Used to Report Safe Places!
In addition to reporting crashes, near-misses, and hazards on the road, the Street Story platform can also be used to report streets that you do feel safe on – whether you’re walking, biking, using a mobility device, or getting around any other way. Safe place reporting helps us understand what areas are doing something right and where people might be traveling to avoid other streets they don’t feel safe on. This is all helpful and useful information to get insight on the community’s travel experiences. If you haven’t been in a crash and can’t think of any hazard areas, consider reporting a road or intersection where you feel safe! Join our Safety Sunday campaign by taking 5 minutes out of your Sunday to make reporting a routine. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.


News from Beyond the North Coast

State Leaders Propose Cuts to Climate and Transit Funding
The state is facing a major budget deficit, and a lot of programs will be on the chopping block in the coming months. But we’re deeply disappointed that climate and public transit funding programs are among the first, supposedly least controversial cuts proposed by the governor and legislative leaders. As we reported last week, transit systems need major new state investments if we are to have any chance of reducing pollution enough to avoid catastrophic climate change. The last thing we need is more cuts and delays to transit and other critical climate funding programs.

We Need to Stop Taking Traffic Deaths for Granted
The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore killed six road workers and has prompted national soul searching. But another recent incident in which a speeding driver killed six road workers on the same highway prompted no interest from the national media. Traffic deaths are a daily occurrence that many Americans barely even notice any more.

And some deaths are even more invisible. The US Department of Transportation recently proclaimed that over 42,000 road deaths in 2022 marked an “improvement,” because that number is just the tiniest bit smaller than the record set the previous year – but failed to note that bike and pedestrian deaths increased yet again that same year. And some deaths, like those of disabled pedestrians, apparently matter so little to public officials that they are not even counted.

We need to stop ignoring traffic deaths, and to start paying closer attention to the risks faced by the most vulnerable members of our communities. We should treat every death on our streets and highways with the same seriousness that we are treating the Baltimore bridge collapse – and with the same urgency to implement solutions.


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.

Cal Poly Plans Campus Pedestrianization

The Collector

March 29, 2024


Cal Poly Plans Campus Pedestrianization
At a workshop this week, the university presented a draft of its long-term plan for the campus. CRTP was excited to hear that the plan now includes turning internal campus streets (such as B Street and Harpst Street) into broad pedestrian ways where the only vehicles allowed are transit shuttles and emergency vehicles. Other plans include greater investment in public transit, bicycle and micro-mobility facilities, and development of housing and academic facilities on some of the current big parking lots. With these big shifts towards active transportation and transit, the draft plan represent a major step forward for the university’s commitment to climate action, transportation safety and public health. While the documents are not yet posted in full on the university’s website, you can view a conceptual rendering and submit preliminary comments here.

McKinleyville Town Center Environmental Review Begins
The Humboldt County Planning Department has posted a notice that it will soon begin developing an Environmental Impact Report for its Town Center zoning plan. Following years of advocacy from CRTP and our allies, the Town Center plan includes major parking reforms and other zoning changes to encourage more walkable development, along with a proposed transit hub and bike and pedestrian safety improvements. Just this week, we learned that it now also includes one of our top priorities – a lane reduction and safety redesign for Central Avenue! If you want to weigh in on topics the county should cover in its environmental review, you have until April 26th to submit a comment. More details on the plan, along with contact information for county staff, can be found here.

Eureka Council to Consider Jacobs Property Zoning
At its meeting next Tuesday, the Council will direct staff on whether to start developing new zoning rules for the former Jacobs school site. The site is in the midst of a shady property swap involving Eureka City Schools and a mysterious private company, and both the property and the attorney representing the unidentified buyers are closely intertwined with the Rob Arkley-backed ballot measure seeking to block walkable, affordable downtown housing. CRTP is working to ensure that if the city rezones the Jacobs site, the new regulations encourage walkable, bikeable housing and other complementary uses at densities that can support high-quality public transit.

Also on the Council’s agenda next week is approval of the annual Capital Improvement Program. Among many other projects, this document includes the city’s repaving plan. We think this is a great opportunity for the city to recommit to its adopted complete streets policy and clearly state that it will include new facilities like bike lanes and upgraded crosswalks in every repaving project.

Quicker Bike and Pedestrian Improvements in Arcata?
The Arcata Planning Commission considered a draft of that city’s annual Capital Improvement Program this week. Included was some funding for public outreach for planning bike and pedestrian safety upgrades to K and 11th Streets, which has long been a priority for CRTP. However, we urged Commissioners to not just hold a public meeting or two about these upgrades next year, but to actually get started improving safety on the streets. In response, the Planning Commission recommended that the city take a quick-build approach to these projects – meaning money could be spent almost immediately on inexpensive but effective temporary safety upgrades while the long-term planning process continues (think painting bike lanes and adding protective features like plastic posts). We think this is a great opportunity to re-think the way safety upgrades are planned and implemented, and to get needed improvements faster. Other communities including San Francisco have already widely adopted the quick-build approach.


Report Pedestrian Safety Issues on Street Story
A quarter of California’s fatalities are pedestrians, and that has worsened over the last decade. It is a sad and unfortunate truth that it is getting less and less safe to be a pedestrian, and we are all pedestrians at one time or another. Factors such as lighting at crosswalks, visibility, and level of traffic, are all components of creating a safe environment for pedestrians.

Using Street Story can be a valuable way to inform decision makers about what streets you feel unsafe walking, biking, or even driving on! Street Story reports help us make the case for safer streets, but we need to hear from you. So make a report today or join our new “Safety Sunday” campaign where we are encourages folks to make Street Story reporting a habit. It is important for our communities to speak up for their needs, especially when it comes to our safety. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.


News from Beyond the North Coast

Statewide Transit Transformation Task Force Gets to Work
If California is going to meet its climate goals, transit ridership will have to increase to levels never before seen in the state. That will require major new investments in local and regional transit systems, among other big changes.

Empty Parking Lots Are Holding Back American Downtowns
North Coast communities are far from the only places where underutilized parking lots are taking up lots of space, creating unfriendly pedestrian environments, and holding back the production of much-needed housing.


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.