The Collector: Railroads and Sidewalks and Bike Lanes, Oh My!

McGuire Proposes Bill to Dissolve Rail Authority, Create Trail Authority
Local and state officials may be finally coming to terms with the fact that we’ll probably never again have freight rail north of Willits. But maybe we can turn the rail line into an awesome multiuse trail instead!

The Sad Saga of the Eel River Canyon Line
A local student recounts some of the history of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad’s ill-fated freight rail tracks.

State Transportation Meeting Next Week Considers Some Local Funding Proposals
Items on the California Transportation Commission’s agenda include proposals to provide $2.5 million toward bike & pedestrian improvement to Old Arcata Road and $10.5 million toward safety measures on Highway 101 in Eureka.

Mattole Restoration Council Wants Measure Z Funds for a Sidewalk
Providing safe infrastructure for students to walk between their school and their favorite lunch spot seems like a good idea to us.

Caltrans Proposes Lowering Speed Limit South of Richardson Grove
The agency is looking at lowering the limit from 55 mph to 45 mph on 0.16 miles of road, about half a mile south of the State Park. The reason Caltrans is singling out this particular small stretch of road for an adjustment are not yet clear, but we’re all in favor of lowering speed limits generally. Can we lower it in the park too? The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on the proposal on April 3.

Caltrans Reports on Progress (or Not) Toward Its Performance Goals
Of particular interest to us is the fact that car, pedestrian and especially bike fatalities are all up in the most recent data (although those data are actually 3 years old). Also interesting: vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita, a key indicator of the sustainability and climate impact of the transportation system, barely budged between 2010 and 2015.

California Bicycle Coalition Annual Advocacy Week Coming Up
Lobby your elected officials March 22-29.

Bike & Bus Lanes Blocked…a Lot
Anyone who bikes knows that bike lanes are routinely blocked by other vehicles (not to mention trash cans, construction signs, and any number of other obstacles). A New York man took it upon himself to measure exactly how often bike and bus lanes were obstructed on one particular block. The answer? A lot.

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

The Collector: New Trail Planned for Eureka, Richardson Grove Back in Court, Hydrogen Utopia Proclaimed

Eureka City Council Considers Bike/Ped Trail from Waterfront to the Zoo
The trail project is part of the 2018 Capital Improvement Program considered by the Council on Tuesday night. From what we hear, it got a pretty positive reception.

Richardson Grove Saga Continues with Court Hearing in Eureka
The judge will likely take a while to rule on Caltrans’ request to “discharge the writ” – i.e., proclaim that the agency met its obligations spelled out in a previous ruling in state court. Caltrans would like to have the judge remove that legal barrier before even considering whether they have actually met the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act in the whole process. Does anyone else see a cart pulling a horse here? Meanwhile, a hearing on another of the state court cases concerning the project is scheduled for March 28th.

Extremely Drunk Man Hits Kid on Bike in McKinleyville, Gets Less Than a Year in Jail
CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske somehow ended up as an alternate juror for this trial, in which an 11-year-old boy on a bicycle was hit on Central Avenue by a man driving a large pickup truck directly after consuming 10-12 beers in a very short period of time. The kid ended up with severe injuries; the driver admitted he was drunk but said the accident was the kid’s fault for allegedly riding his bike in an irregular manner. Editorial comment: Victim blaming is very common when cars and trucks hit people walking or biking. When will we get it through out heads that it’s the person driving an extremely heavy object at high speeds who’s the one doing something dangerous?

March HCAOG Board Meeting Cancelled
Dry your eyes, Humboldt transportation enthusiasts. The April meeting is only a month away.

First Bus Stop Parklet in the US Opens in the East Bay
An inspiration to us all!

New Company Claims to Have Solved All the Problems Plaguing Hydrogen as a Transportation Fuel
Questions to ponder: Is this more hydrogen hype, or is it really a turning point toward clean transportation fuels? And if the latter, would it be a good thing for our society to extend our ability to continue driving cars in the way we currently do well into a carbon-constrained future?

“Microtransit”: The Future of Public Transportation or Revival of a Bad Idea?
Public transit consultant Jarrett Walker says new ideas about incorporating the Uber/Lyft model into public transportation are just new packaging for the failed flexible-route service proposals of the past.

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

The Collector: Bay Trail Meeting, Speed Limit Bill, Black Panther Transit Inspiration and More

County Holds Public Meeting on Final Bay Trail Segment
On Tuesday evening, Humboldt County Deputy Public Works Director Hank Seeman presented highlights of the proposed project design and other information available in the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration, currently being circulated for public comment. Seeman also answered questions and heard comments from attendees, who appeared to be very excited about the trail and eager for the project to be completed. (Don’t hold your breath – Seeman continues to project 2021 as the earliest possible construction date.)

HCAOG Meeting Discusses Bike/Ped Allocation Requests
Humboldt County Association of Government’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met on Thursday. On the agenda was a discussion of requests for the $57,000 in active transportation funding available this year for the county. The biggest request by far was from the City of Eureka for a study of high fatality and injury rates in the Highway 101/Broadway corridor. Other requests would fund bike/ped counters and a bike repair station in Arcata, Little River Trail grant prep assistance for Trinidad, and Bay Trail user tracking for the County. Also on the TAC agenda were two items pertaining to the need and funding opportunities for improved bus service. (Meanwhile, the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission TAC meeting was canceled for lack of agenda items.)

Fatal Collision of Truck & Much Bigger Truck in Eureka
Every serious crash should give us pause to reflect on the dangers of large, heavy machines piloted at great speeds through our cities and towns.

Research Suggests Uber & Lyft Are Causing More Driving, Not Less
Can the promise of shared-ride fleet vehicles to reduce car ownership and vehicle miles traveled ever be realized, or are we heading toward an apocalyptic wasteland of empty autonomous vehicles driving endlessly around waiting for riders?

New State Bill Would Make It a Little Easier to Lower Speed Limits
Current California law makes it almost impossible to lower speed limits in most locations. The new bill would make an exception that allows a permanent lowering of the speed limit if studies show a lot of accidents in a particular location.

Only Some of Cars’ Air Pollution Comes from Tailpipes
It turns out a lot comes from the tires, too. Which underlines the fact that we won’t solve urban air quality problems just by electrifying vehicles – we’ll actually have to drive less, too.

Black Panther Movie Has Some Transportation Nerds Thinking About Utopian Transit Infrastructure
Will life ever imitate art?

German Car Manufacturing Cities May Ban Some of Their Own Vehicles
Imagine Detroit banning Ford trucks over air quality concerns. A surprisingly similar scenario may actually be playing out in Stuttgart and other German auto industry strongholds.

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

The Collector – February 23, 2018

CRTP lays out how a couple of common land use phenomena apply to transportation – and proposes a few acronyms of our own.

Bay Trail Fundraising Going Strong, EIR Available for Review
$240,000 is in the bank for maintenance of the trail – now it just needs to be completed. The EIR for the final portion of the trail is now available for public review and comment.

New Universal Fast-Charging Stations Coming to the Humboldt
According to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s North Coast Plug-in Electric Vehicle Project February newsletter, there will soon be six more universal “Level 3” fast-charging stations for electric vehicles installed throughout Humboldt County from Redway to Orick.

Arcata City Council Votes to Remove Statue & Plaque
Why is this transportation news? Because CRTP has been actively involved in efforts to reimagine the Arcata Plaza as a place designed for people rather than cars, and has endorsed the removal of the McKinley statue & Jacoby Storehouse plaque as part of Plaza revitalization.

Are Bike Helmets the Problem?
A new paper in the journal Applied Mobilities points out that the US has higher rates of bike helmet usage but also higher rates of bike fatalities and injuries than most other countries – and lower rates of biking. The author argues that the focus on helmets in America distracts from the real problems, discourages people from getting out of their cars and onto bikes, and may make bicyclists less safe.

San Jose Handing Over Transit-Oriented Development to Google
Well of course. It’s Silicon Valley. But can the tech giant “retrofit the city that was built for automobiles into a city built for people,” as the city’s mayor hopes?

The Dutch Show That More Bike Infrastructure Leads to… More Biking
It’s important to remember that Europe is not an inevitable bike paradise. As this article points out, European cities built themselves around the automobile after World War II just as US cities did. But now they are showing how to turn that around, with huge environmental, economic and health benefits.

State & Federal Action on Regulating (or Not) Self-Driving Cars
The California legislature is struggling with all the potential changes that would accompany widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles – which the industry says is coming sooner than we think. Meanwhile, if a bill passed by the US House makes its way through the Senate, the industry will largely be left to regulate itself, with states and local governments prohibited from taking any real action.

Should Taxpayers Pay for Trucking Companies to Clean Up Their Act?
The LA Times Editorial Board says no.

Richard Branson Proposes Hyperloop in India…
…and hyperloops everywhere else too!

The Collector – February 16, 2018

Welcome to the first edition of The Collector*, CRTP’s new weekly news roundup! We are aiming to collect important North Coast transportation news – including state and national news with particular local relevance – and publish it here each Friday. If you’d like to submit a news item for the weekly roundup or provide any other feedback, please email Enjoy!

*In traditional planning nomenclature, a collector road collects traffic from local roads and delivers them to major arterials. Our news roundup collects transportation news items and delivers them straight to your eyeballs!

Arcata Student Housing Project Saga Continues; Parking Unbundling Secured

The Arcata Planning Commission conducted Part 7 (no kidding!) of its initial hearing on The Village, a proposed private development near HSU intended to house 700-800 students. After some pressure from CRTP, and with the support of city staff, the developer has agreed to “unbundle” parking costs from housing rents. This is one of the most effective measures a multifamily housing development can use to reduce car travel, and it’s now one of the official proposed conditions of approval for the project.

Hundreds Show Up To Celebrate New Eureka Trail

People love trails! Enough said.

Humboldt County Announces New Public Meeting on Completion of Bay Trail

Show up on February 27th to get the latest Bay Trail news and provide your input to the County. Only 4 miles left!

State Legislature Considering “Radical Upzone” Bill

State Senator Scott Weiner has introduced a bill that would remove residential density limitations and parking requirements for new housing near major transit hubs and lines. The bill is intended to stimulate infill housing to meet the state’s housing needs without sprawl.

Water Board Announces Proposed Road Management Discharge Waiver

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has announced a tentative order on a waiver of discharge requirements for road management activities. Public comment is open until March 19th and a hearing will be held on May 17th.

HCAOG Considers Budget & Work Program

The HCAOG Board met yesterday, and its agenda included a review of the proposed Overall Work Program and Budget for FY2018-19. HCAOG is our regional transportation planning agency, and these documents lay out their plans for the coming year. Exciting stuff!

Trump Unveils Infrastructure Plan

Anyone hoping Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure plan would mean big federal money for local priorities like Last Chance Grade is likely disappointed this week, as the administration has now made clear it expects most of the money to come from state, local, and private sources.

Big Rigs Exploiting Loophole in Pollution Rules with Help of Trump’s EPA

The New York Times reports on a loophole the size of the national highway network in truck pollution control regulations. The Trump administration has recently nixed an effort by Obama’s EPA to close the loophole. Stories like this should resonate as we consider how freight gets into, out of, and through our region.