The Collector: SB 1029 Passes Senate!

SB 1029 Passes Senate
Yes! SB 1029 — Senator McGuire’s Great Redwood Trail Act —  has passed the California Senate, and been introduced in the State Assembly. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it sails as smoothly through the Assembly!

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
How many trash cans can block a bike lane? Local “scientists” on Bayview drive are conducting an experiment.

Bikelanes are for Cars
Interesting piece at Seattle Bikeblog

National Democrats are for Cheap Gas
Despite the fact that it’s horrible for the planet.

“The Village” on June 6 City Council Agenda
Here at the CRTP, we have advocated for increasing the housing supply on the North Coast as a way of tackling the housing affordability crisis. The Arcata city council is set to discuss ”The Village” — a potential 700 bed project that could go a long way to supplying students with more housing options.

 

The Collector: Get Yer Bike Maps!!

New Humboldt Bay Area Bike Map
Get ’em while they are hot.

SB 1029 Vote Today
We reported last week on the how the Great Redwood Trail Act had been placed in the California Senate appropriations suspense file. A quick call to Senator McGuire’s office confirmed its path going forward. Today (May 25), the appropriations committee is voting on the suspense file — it’s literally live or die for all bills placed there. The representative I spoke to said that they were “hopeful” it would pass, but that nobody could ever be sure of bills in suspense. If it survives it will have a full Senate floor vote next week (where passage appears likely), and then head over to the assembly. The major political concerns appear to be cost.

Right on Red: A Bad Deal for Everyone Not in a Car
Automotive primacy means that many aspects of driving culture go unexamined — even when they are inherently dangerous to others. For example, take the familiar right turn on red. What is bad about that? Well apparently, allowing rights on red “increases pedestrian crashes by 60 percent and bike crashes by 100 percent”. Maybe it’s time for a change?

#GivePedsTheGreen
A Seattle campaign from last year would have automatically given pedestrians the right to cross intersections in the same direction as vehicular traffic when the light was green instead relying on “beg-buttons”. Unfortunately, but predictably, the local Department of Transportation came out against the move.

“Crossbikes”
Here is a new thing…

Transit Oriented Developement or Development Oriented Transit
In California, much of the recent political discourse about affordable housing has centered on Transit Oriented Development (TOD). But what if we are seeing the situation backwards? To TOD or to DOT? That is the question!

 

NIMBY, YIMBY, NIABY, YIEBY

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!

New Study Finds Caltrans Projects Likely to Increase Truck Traffic

Caltrans projects on Highway 101 in Richardson Grove State Park and on Highways 199 and 197 in Del Norte County will likely increase truck traffic significantly on the North Coast, according to a new study released by the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP).  This conclusion is contrary to claims made by Caltrans about the projects. The group says Caltrans’ conclusions are flawed and based on inadequate information.

The study looked at truck traffic on state highways throughout California. It compared the number of trucks on the road, how much of overall traffic is made up of trucks, and how fast those numbers are growing across different types of highways. The results of the study show that highways which allow “STAA trucks,” which are the largest vehicles allowed on the road, generally had heavier truck traffic. Highways which connect to other STAA truck routes had even heavier truck traffic. Highways 101 and 199 will end up in this category if the Caltrans projects are built.

“This study is designed to show what actually happens on the kinds of highways Caltrans is trying to create on the North Coast,” said Colin Fiske, Campaign Coordinator for CRTP.  “This is a much more serious analysis than anything Caltrans has ever done.  What the study shows is that the Caltrans projects at Richardson Grove and in the Smith River Canyon in Del Norte County are very likely to result in heavier truck traffic.”

“More heavy truck traffic is an important impact by itself,” Fiske continued, “and one that Caltrans has never studied. But even more important is what it means for all the other impacts of these projects. It means more noise, more pollution, more serious accidents, and more damage to local roads. It also means more impacts to the old growth redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park and the salmon in the Smith River. Caltrans needs to take this very seriously.”

The study was based on Caltrans’ own traffic data from throughout the state over the last two decades. It dismisses Caltrans’ assertions that the projects would not significantly increase truck traffic as “qualitative” and “based almost entirely on speculative survey results.”

Read the full study here.

New Report Finds Dangerous Spots on Local Highways

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2015

Read the full report here.

NEW REPORT FINDS DANGEROUS SPOTS ON LOCAL HIGHWAYS

Group Challenges Caltrans to Tackle “Real Safety Projects”

Local Caltrans officials have failed to prioritize projects that would improve safety on local highways, according to a new report by the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP). Instead, the group says Caltrans has promoted highway expansion projects designed for other purposes and falsely claimed that they will increase safety.

To come to their conclusions, the group analyzed data from the Fatal Accident Reporting System maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They looked at fatal accidents which occurred between 2010 and 2013 on state highways in Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity, Mendocino and Lake Counties—the area Caltrans calls District 1. They found that on average, every five-mile stretch of highway experienced one fatal accident over the four years. But 14 stretches of road saw 4 or more fatal accidents over the same time period. These were called out as the most hazardous spots in District 1’s network. Those spots were all on Routes 101, 20, and 29, with the exception of one on Route 199.

“The highest number of fatal accidents on any stretch of highway was on the 101 going through the town of Weott, where I happen to live,” said Barbara Kennedy, a CRTP spokesperson. “But there were also very high rates on 101 in Arcata and Fortuna, on Routes 20 and 29 in Lake County, and in a number of other places.”

“What’s really an outrage is that for years Caltrans has been pushing these oversized truck access projects in Richardson Grove and on Highways 197 and 199 and calling them safety projects,” Kennedy continued. “It turns out these projects are not actually targeting the dangerous parts of our highways. Anyway, Caltrans has given themselves exemptions from their own safety design standards to build these projects which will bring in more big, dangerous trucks. How can you call that safety? We challenge Caltrans to cancel Richardson Grove, cancel 199, and put the money toward real safety projects.”

The group did find that one of the spots targeted by the Highway 197/199 project fell in a dangerous stretch of road, but the actual boundaries for the construction did not include the locations of any of the fatal accidents. “Maybe the most striking thing we found is that there have been very few safety projects designed or constructed by Caltrans on the most hazardous road segments in District 1,” said Colin Fiske, CRTP’s campaign coordinator. “Caltrans recently updated its mission statement, and ‘safe’ is now the very first word used to describe the kind of transportation system they say they want to provide. But with only a few exceptions, mostly in Arcata, Caltrans apparently isn’t doing anything to try to make these dangerous areas in District 1 any safer. We hope that changes in the near future.”

Upcoming Event: CRTP Task Force Meet & Greet!

The local volunteer Task Force which guides the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP) is holding a public meet-and-greet at Eureka’s Chapala Café on Wednesday, August 26th, from 5-7pm.   This will be an informal occasion for anyone interested in the issues to talk about CRTP’s plans and priorities as well as other local transportation topics.  If you come, we encourage you to pay for any food or drinks at the register downstairs before proceeding to the event upstairs.  We hope to see you there!

What: CRTP Task Force Meet & Greet

Where: Chapala Café (201 Second St, Eureka)

When: Wednesday, August 26th, from 5-7pm

“My Word”: New Priorities for Transportation

From today’s Times-Standard:

“…That’s why the first priority of the newly formed Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP) is to spend our limited transportation dollars on maintenance and repair. CRTP is a group of Humboldt and Del Norte County residents whose mission is to promote transportation solutions which protect and support a healthy environment, healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy economy on the North Coast. After maintenance and repair, our priorities for transportation infrastructure are to fund only new infrastructure which supports healthy, livable, sustainable communities, and to cancel counterproductive road expansion projects which don’t meet these basic criteria.

These are pretty common-sense priorities, and you might think that our public agencies wouldn’t need much prodding to follow them. Given the facts, you might even assume that every available transportation dollar would be allocated to maintaining our existing critical infrastructure in working order. But you’d be wrong. Instead, transportation planners often seem dead set on continuing to spend money to expand roads even more. They often promote projects which do little to make our communities more livable, but do bring in more traffic to cause more infrastructure damage we can’t afford to fix….

It’s up to CRTP — and everyone who agrees with us — to change those priorities. You can find out more at www.transportationpriorities.org. We hope you’ll join us in taking up the challenge!”

Read the full op-ed.