Eureka’s Still Dangerous for Pedestrians

The Collector

October 19, 2018


Eureka’s Still Dangerous for Pedestrians
You’ll notice our headline differs from the one in the Times-Standard, which focused instead on a minor reduction in overall collisions. Unfortunately, the fact that Eureka’s pedestrian collision rate is still one of the highest in the state got only a passing mention in the article. On the other hand, the police officer interviewed for the story spent quite a bit of time trying to make the seeming irrelevant point that most bike and pedestrian collisions involve “transients.” Word to the wise: The fact that a person injured or killed in a collision isn’t part of your social group doesn’t make the injury or death any less of a tragedy. In related news, more auto-oriented fast food restaurants are coming to Broadway.

Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
Obstructions like this mailbox leave barely enough room for one person to pass. They certainly don’t allow two people to walk side by side, or pass each other, which can lead to pedestrians stepping out into the street. And there’s clearly not enough room for a wheelchair. Let’s widen the sidewalks! Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org – you might get your picture in The Collector.

Are Hydrogen Vehicles Making a Comeback?
You might be forgiven for thinking that hydrogen-fueled vehicles were a pipe dream abandoned sometime during the second Bush administration. But now the Redwood Coast Energy Authority is teaming up with Schatz Energy Research Center to look into so-called Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) for the North Coast. Could this be part of the zero-carbon transportation solution for rural areas like ours?

Eureka City Council Approves New General Plan
It’s a significant improvement over the last one from the perspective of responsible land use and transportation planning. Unfortunately, it still uses the outdated metric of vehicular level of service (LOS) as a transportation management tool.

Stagecoach Road Gets “Temporary” Fix…
…three years after it failed. The struggle to maintain our extensive and expensive road system continues.

New York Times Op-Ed Highlights the Potential Catastrophe of Prop 6
As you probably know by now, not only would the state ballot initiative remove billions in funding for road repair, it would also take away hundreds of millions for transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and make it much harder to raise gas taxes again. Translation: it would become much, much harder to meet California’s climate goals. The fact that the op-ed was published in the New York Times highlights the importance people across the nation are placing on the issue.

Cargo Bikes Take Off in Budapest
Urban delivery by bike is possible!

Sydney’s Car-Sharing Program Is a Smashing Success
If they can do it in Australia, we should be able to do it here. Right?


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.

Could Transportation Issues Swing Local Elections?

The Collector

October 12, 2018


Transportation Issues Playing a Prominent Role in Local Elections
At a recent forum, Harbor District candidates clashed on East-West rail proposals, while Eureka City Council candidates sparred over plans to make bicycle and pedestrian improvements to H & I Streets. It’s just the latest example of these and other transportation issues playing an unusually large role in local politics. In fact, transportation issues are among the most talked-about in Humboldt County elections this cycle.

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
This week, another parked car in a bike lane – at night, when it’s even more dangerous! Send your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Eureka City Council to Consider General Plan Overhaul on Monday
The Council will consider approving the new General Plan at a special meeting at 5 pm on Monday. You can read some of our thoughts about the plan here and here. Then on Tuesday, the Council will consider requesting an investigation of the new East-West rail scheme and a proposal to augment law enforcement patrols on the Highway 101 safety corridor.

California Transportation Commission to Consider Bay Trail
At its meeting next week, the Commission will consider accepting the “Bay Trail South” environmental documentation and declaring the project eligible for state funding. This is the next step toward filling in the final missing segment of the long-awaited Humboldt Bay Trail. In other business, the Commission will also consider allocating funding for filling in the gap in Eureka’s Waterfront Drive, and an additional $2 million allocation for the Highway 101 safety corridor “improvement project.”

Dirty Tricks Surface in the Yes on Prop 6 Campaign
Robocalls to local (and apparently statewide) voters by Prop 6 proponents have sown confusion by implying that their absentee ballots are incorrect. Spoiler alert: the ballots are fine.

The Heavy Burden of Bicycle Tickets for Low-Income Riders
This important article highlights the plight of low-income commuters in California who ride a bike to work because they can’t afford a car, and are often forced to make a choice between riding legally but in an unsafe manner and getting a ticket they can’t afford to pay.

Large Truck Fatalities on the Rise
These collisions continued to increase in 2017 even as overall motor vehicle deaths dipped slightly.


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.

The Transportation Issue We Should All Be Talking About

The Collector

October 5, 2018


Could This Obscure Showdown Shape Eureka’s Future?
Don’t miss this important new post from CRTP about the transportation issue we should all be talking about – but almost no one is!

Sidewalk & Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
This week, we encountered trash and recycling bins blocking a sidewalk, only feet away from bins blocking the bike lane! But wait, you say – where should people put their bins if not on the sidewalk or in the bike lane? Therein lies the problem of local governments declaring shoulders to be bike lanes, but still treating them like shoulders. It’s a perfect example of the need for infrastructure that is actually designed for bikes and pedestrians, rather than accommodating them as an afterthought. (It’s also worth pointing out that no one would ever stand for trash and recycling bins being left blocking the car lanes.) Send your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

 

Great Redwood Trail Bill Signed by Governor
Trail advocates have something to celebrate this week. But now the real work begins – figuring out how to turn more than 300 miles of deteriorating railroad right-of-way into a world-class trail system.

Arcata City Council Comes Out Against Prop 6
Add Arcata to the long list of local governments and public-interest organizations (including CRTP) opposing the onerous Prop 6.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station Incentive Program Coming to Humboldt
Although it’s not yet listed on their website, the “CALeVIP” program will move into Humboldt County in April 2019, providing rebates of up to 75% for businesses and local agencies installing EV charging stations. California Energy Commission staff held a workshop in Eureka this Monday to review the program and answer questions. In other local EV news, HSU’s Sustainable Futures Speaker Series will host a panel discussion on Zero Emission Vehicles in California next Thursday.

“Bike the Vote”
The California Bicycle Coalition releases its general election endorsements.


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.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

The Collector

September 28, 2018


Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
Actually this one isn’t so much an obstruction as just an end to the sidewalk in downtown Arcata. This lot is a small mobile home park, and clearly substantial driveways are needed on this lot to allow mobile homes and RVs to enter and exit. But it’s just unacceptable to have no sidewalk whatsoever in a dense downtown area like this. Send your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Eureka Planning Commission Recommends General Plan Approval
The Commission’s deliberations took place over the course of two meetings last week, but they eventually recommended that City Council adopt the new General Plan without very many substantial changes. CRTP generally supports the new General Plan, but has a few reservations. You can read our comments here.

RCEA Hosts Local EV Infrastructure Workshop
The meeting will be on Monday, October 1, at 11:30 am at RCEA’s Eureka offices. Or you can attend online via the link above.

Brown Signs Speed Limit Bill
AB 2363, substantially watered down from its original version, might still eventually result in some changes to California’s crazy and counterproductive method of setting speed limits.

Sacramento Bee Joins the Chorus Against Prop 6
They know everybody likes to pick on Caltrans – often with good reason – but argue that’s not a good enough justification to repeal the gas tax. We have to agree. On a related note, our friends over at TransForm have released their November 2018 voter guide (which of course also calls for a no vote on Prop 6).

Meanwhile, Prop 6 Backers Introduce Another Ballot Measure for 2020
Yup, they’re already looking for ways to even further cripple responsible transportation funding in the future. Oh, and kill high-speed rail, of course.


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.

Plaza Bike Racks, Eureka General Plan, Unmet Transit Needs and More!

The Collector

September 21, 2018


Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
This week, a two-for-one obstruction: Low-hanging branches ready to knock an unsuspecting rider off a bike, right next to a row of cars blocking the lane! Send your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Sign the Petition for a More Pedestrian-Friendly Plaza!
If you haven’t already signed it, that is.

Arcata Transportation Safety Committee Talks Plaza Bike Racks…
The Committee, chaired by CRTP’s own Ryan Campbell, discussed the need for additional racks around the Plaza. Here’s the situation on a recent farmers market day:

…and E-Bikes, Too!
The Arcata TSC talked e-bikes and speed limits at their meeting this week, too. CRTP’s Colin Fiske was also on KHUM to talk about it on Wednesday.

Eureka Planning Commission to Consider New General Plan
The Commission holds a special meeting on Monday (September 24) at 5:30 pm. You can read CRTP’s previously submitted comments here.

New Group to Sponsor Public Meeting on Trinidad Development
The newly formed Humboldt Alliance for Responsible Planning will hold a public informational meeting on Thursday, September 27, from 6-9 pm at the Trinidad Town Hall to discuss the Trinidad Rancheria’s plans to build a 100-room hotel… and a new interchange on Highway 101 less than a mile from the existing Trinidad exit. The just-released Environmental Assessment for the hotel project can be found at the link above.

Annual Unmet Transit Needs Hearing Start Next Week
Let local officials know what improvements the local bus system needs.

The Skunk Train and the Revitalization of Fort Bragg
Could extending and fixing the tourist train finally spur redevelopment of the town’s coastline?

Should Helmets Be Mandatory for Drivers?
After all, as the author of this article points out, many more people get head injuries in cars than on bikes.

A Spanish City Completely Removes Cars from the City Center
And people love it!


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.

Supervisors Pass Climate Resolution, East-West Rail Scheme Revived

The Collector

September 14, 2018


Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Parked cars completely blocked the bike lane on Samoa Boulevard in Arcata recently, conveniently right next to a “No Parking – Bike Lane” sign. Thanks to reader Jen Kalt for submitting the photo! Send in your pictures of sidewalk or bike lane obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Supervisors Pass Climate Resolution
Supervisors unanimously voted for the resolution after scaling back the goal of 100% clean, renewable energy from the entire county to just County of Humboldt operations, at the insistence of Supervisor Rex Bohn. CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske was the only person at the hearing to mention transportation, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the county.

East-West Rail: Somehow, It’s Still a Thing
The latest scheme comes with an interesting twist: a shady out-of-town financial firm asking local residents for money.

Eureka Loses Lawsuit Over Unsafe Street Conditions
A jury says they should have re-surfaced and re-graded the street. City staff point out that they just don’t have the cash to maintain all the streets in their jurisdiction.

Wildfire Closed I-5 for Six Days
Although local coverage didn’t mention it, Highway 101 becomes a major alternate route for trucking when I-5 is closed for extended periods. We wonder if anyone measured the change in local truck traffic.

Del Norte Supes Get Presentation on Prop 6 Impacts
It turns out that hundreds of millions of dollars in new gas tax money is going to the county, and will evaporate if Prop 6 passes.

Crash Plus Five-Car Pileup on Highway 101 Safety Corridor
Luckily, there were only minor injuries. One can only imagine how much worse this could have been with a higher speed limit.


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.

Supervisors to Consider Climate Resolution on Tuesday

The Collector

September 7, 2018


Supervisors to Consider Climate Resolution
Supervisor Mike Wilson has introduced a resolution which would: (1) commit the County to completing a Climate Action Plan by 2020; (2) establish a goal of 100% clean and renewable energy for the County by 2025; (3) formally state the County’s support for the Paris Climate Accord. Transportation is by far the county’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, so this resolution – particularly the first part – should have a big impact on our local transportation system. Come out on Tuesday to let the Supervisors know how important this is!

Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
We know you thought we’d stick with bike lane obstructions forever, but sidewalks are important too! In fact, sidewalk obstructions are so common that they almost seem unremarkable. But regular placement of objects like this fire hydrant in sidewalks often prevents wheelchair passage and always prevents people from walking side by side or passing each other safely and comfortably. Walking is the lowest-impact form of transportation, and we should make it as safe, easy and comfortable as possible! Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Arcata City Council Appoints At-Large Members to Plaza Task Force
Laura Hughes of the North Coast Growers Association, Erica Grey of Community Pride and Peace, and local business owner Daniel Bixler made the cut. Presumably, the task force will now start meeting. CRTP will be there to continue advocating for a redesign that’s more friendly to non-vehicular users!

The Glories and Pitfalls of an Incomplete Bay Trail
The lesson seems pretty clear: Finish the trail! In related news, the County responded to a Grand Jury report about the Bay Trail that described the missing trail segment, where riders now use the shoulder of Highway 101, as an unsafe “interim trail.” We gotta agree with the County on this one; that’s not really what’s going on here. Again: Just finish the trail!

Gas Taxes, Explained
The Times-Standard this week featured a pretty good explanation of how gas taxes work, a complicated and arcane but still important subject.

Can We Have Good Transit in Low-Density Areas?
In a fascinating opinion piece, urban planner Jonathan English makes the case that the demise of successful public transit in much of the country over the last century is not really due to competition from the car, but rather to bad management and underinvestment in service. He claims that even low-density areas can have successful transit – in other words, compete with car travel – if they invest in good service. North Coast transit advocates, take note.


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.

Council Blocks The Village, Rail-Trail Bill Heads to Governor

The Collector

August 31, 2018


With The Village in Limbo, Future Infill Development Uncertain
Nearly a year after it first came before the Arcata Planning Commission, The Village student housing project has been effectively denied by the City Council…probably. With 2 votes in favor, 2 abstentions, and one recusal, questions have been raised about whether the motion to move the project forward actually failed or not, but City Attorney Nancy Diamond insists that it did. If so, some readers of local tea leaves predict that HSU may now try to side-step city jurisdiction altogether by buying the property and proceeding with the project on its own. At the same time, opponents of The Village now insist that they plan to move forward with an alternative development of their own on the site, although it remains unclear who would finance or build it. Whatever comes next will have a major influence on future infill development patterns (and thus transportation patterns) in Arcata.

SB 1029 Heading to Governor in New Form
No longer known as the Great Redwood Trail Act (it’s now the “NCRA Closure and Transition to Trails Act”), McGuire’s bill passed the Assembly yesterday and as of this writing is heading for a final vote in the Senate before heading to Brown’s desk. While significantly scaled back from its original form, the bill still lays the groundwork for an eventual conversion of the North Coast Railroad Authority’s 300-mile-long right of way into a regional trail system.

Rancheria Hotel Plans Get Scrutiny
But the proposed new Highway 101 interchange connected to the development – which would be one of the biggest transportation infrastructure projects in the area in years – gets little press.

Local Church Incentivizes Walking, Biking, and Carpooling
It’s not just what you do at your chosen house of worship – how you get there counts, too!

Are Electric Scooters the Future of Urban Transportation?
The answer is a definite maybe.

Container Ship Emissions Reductions Slowing Down
An important progress report on efforts to clean up the global freight transportation system.


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.

$300,000 Parking Spaces and the Gutting of the Great Redwood Trail Act

The Collector

August 24, 2018


“Great Redwood Trail Act” No Longer
The Great Redwood Trail Act has officially been gutted (and re-named) in the Assembly. After unanimously passing the State Senate and every other committee that considered it, the newly amended bill would no longer dissolve the North Coast Railroad Authority and create a mandate for the Great Redwood Trail. Instead, it simply calls for the NCRA to spend a couple of years exploring its options for dissolution and rail-banking. It appears to have been derailed by a recalcitrant governor’s office. But the fight isn’t over! If the political will is there, the bill can still be amended.

Supes Balk at $300,000 Parking Spaces
Parking spaces can be expensive. Really expensive. The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors found that out this week when they were confronted with a jail expansion plan that would build a subterranean lot at a cost of $300,000 per space. Alternatives presented by county staff included other extremely expensive ways to build parking off-site. Apparently no one considered the idea of just not building that parking and instead using the money to provide bus or shuttle service to and from the jail. After all, $300,000 is more than an entire month’s budget for the regional Redwood Transit System.

Transportation Plays Important Role in Food Access
In an important exploration of hunger on the North Coast, the Times-Standard highlights the importance of transportation access – or the lack of it – in creating and perpetuating food deserts in our rural area. Local advocates suggest we may have to re-think the definition of “food desert” for our area. CRTP suggests that we may also want to re-think our development and transportation patterns.

Is Eureka’s Vision for Waterfront Drive Unrealistic?
The California Transportation Commission recently approved Eureka’s request for $2.3 million to help complete Waterfront Drive, and the City is now applying for almost $9 million more in federal funding for the project. In promoting this plan, the City seems to be touting a completed Waterfront Drive as the solution to practically all of its transportation problems. They say it will relieve congestion on Highway 101, improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, bring cars into Old Town, improve freight access to the harbor, complete the waterfront trail, and more. Unfortunately, some of these goals appear to be at odds with each other. Just one example: it’s pretty hard to see how a new busy boulevard carrying thousands of cars and trucks right through Old Town would improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

CRTP Responds to Anti-Bicycling Polemic
Sometimes you just have to speak up.

Arcata City Council Schedules Special Meeting to Wrap Up Consideration of The Village
No more long evenings – this time it’s at 9 am!


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.

The Collector: Op-Eds, Campaigns, Scholarships and More!

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Here’s a classic: construction in the bike lane, with a warning sign (presumably aimed at cars, and completely blocking the bike lane) calling it “shoulder work.” Attention public works professionals: bike lanes are lanes of traffic, not shoulders! Submit your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org

LoCO Op-Ed: H & I Streets Project A Great Idea
H Street homeowner (and HSU professor) Erin Kelly writes a convincing piece in support of the traffic-calming, bike-accommodating project. This follows a not-so-convincing screed against the project (and against bicycling in general) in the Times-Standard earlier this week.

Candidate for Local Office to Host Ward Bike Tour
Biking as part of a local political campaign? Could it be that some people actually consider the bicycle to be a legitimate, responsible, even mainstream form of transportation?

RCEA Issuing Scholarships for Local Fleet Managers
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is offering to send local fleet managers to a clean-tech conference in October.

Great Redwood Trail Act Clears Another Hurdle
Senator McGuire’s SB 1029 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday with another unanimous vote. The bill was amended by the Committee, but it’s not clear yet what exactly those amendments were. Meanwhile, the biggest hurdle remains: securing the promise of funding from the governor. CRTP and other local groups continue to urge supporters to call Governor Brown’s office and tell him you want the bill fully funded.

Bike/Ped Safety in Valley West
A coalition of groups is holding a community training on August 29th.

HCAOG Considers Opposition to Prop 6
Also on this week’s agenda was a contract with a consultant to develop a local “mobility-on-demand strategic development plan.”

The Plight of the Truck Driver
Another striking piece highlights the underbelly of America’s freight transportation system.

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.