Complete Streets Bill Near the Finish Line

The Collector

September 6, 2019


Arcata City Council Picks Annie-Mary Trail Route
The portion of the trail through Arcata will stay on the former railroad right-of-way, rather than following any roads. This route was generally the most popular during public outreach, but does leave some potential users feeling unsafe due to greater isolation.

County Planning Commission Tackles Subdivisions
Several subdivisions, mostly on the periphery of urban and suburban areas, were on this week’s Humboldt County Planning Commission agenda. We used to call that sprawl.

Complete Streets Bill Near the Finish Line
Advocates are calling SB 127 one of the most important active transportation bills in years. Caltrans is working hard to stop it. (Side note: Why, Caltrans, why?) It’s now on the Assembly floor. If it passes, it goes on to the Governor.

Humboldt Supervisors Form Ad Hoc Sea Level Rise Committee
Some of the infrastructure most at risk, of course, is transportation-related. See next item.

Safety Corridor Snafu?
This week, the Humboldt County Association of Government’s Technical Advisory Committee talked about new cost increases for the long-discussed project intended to improve safety on Highway 101 between Eureka and Arcata. Apparently Caltrans didn’t plan for the fact that the new Indianola interchange would be built on unstable fill material, and had to go back to the drawing board for new engineering. You’d think… oh, nevermind.

Weekly Street Story Update: Speeding, Speeding, Speeding
As reports trickle in, one trend is clear: speeding is the top reported cause of hazard, crashes, and near misses. It’s noteworthy that when a driver hits a bicyclist or pedestrian, higher speeds are directly tied to higher chances of death. The causes of speeding are many and varied, but street design plays a surprisingly large role. You can make your Street Story report here.

Candidate Climate Plans Ignore Driving
Too much driving is, well, driving greenhouse gas emissions in the US. But most of the Democratic presidential candidates have little or nothing in their climate plans about reducing driving.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists Are Dying in San Francisco
And your risk of being hit depends on where you live.

E-Bikes in National Parks?
First e-scooters in cities, now e-bikes in parks. How do we decide how and where new (or newly popular) modes of transportation should be used? A question for our times.


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 County Zoning Rules Adopted

The Collector

August 30, 2019


Supes Move Forward on Eureka Land Purchase
Final decisions on whether to buy it and how to develop it are in the future. Will it be a parking lot? Members of the public had some pointed comments. “‘This parking lot thing is the opposite of the whole thing we did this morning,’ said one speaker, referencing the board’s earlier decision to create an advisory committee to address climate change.” Indeed. Or as another commenter asked: “Maybe managers could carpool?”

New County Zoning Rules Adopted
At the same meeting, the Supervisors adopted new zoning rules to implement the 2017 General Plan update. While a lot of the discussion – and all the media coverage – was about timber zoning, they also adopted rules for the new mixed-use zones to be located in town center areas. The rules include the possibility of reduced parking requirements – but you’ll still have to get a special permit for that, despite CRTP’s best efforts. Oh, and the Supes voted to move ahead with forming a Climate Advisory Committee, too.

Arcata Annie & Mary Trail Connectivity Project Report Available
The project aims to connect the existing Bay Trail North to the future Annie & Mary Trail along West End Road. The draft project report is available online, and the Arcata City Council will be discussing it at their meeting next Wednesday.

Another Driver Kills Another Pedestrian on Highway 101
Highway 101 is often the main route, and sometimes the only route, between locations on the North Coast. It must be made safer for people without a vehicle.

Weekly Street Story Update: The McKinleyville Gateway Area
An group of concerned citizens, now working through the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee’s new ad hoc Active Transportation Committee, has been trying to get safety improvements on Central Avenue in what is sometimes called the “South Gateway” to McKinleyville – from the highway ramps to the shopping center. Anyone who’s traveled this area knows it’s terrifying and dangerous if you’re on foot, on a bike, or need mobility assistance. Street Story reports confirm hazards, collision(s), and a near miss in the area. You can make your Street Story report here.

Supervisor Candidate Says Trails Are a Priority
Full disclosure: CRTP Executive Director co-hosts the Happy Trails segment with Berkowitz on KHUM once a month. Listen to our latest segment here.

McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee Talks Town Center
The idea is as popular as ever. When will it actually happen?

Bike-Friendly Bills Advance
Check out CalBike’s informative legislative update.


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.

Prioritizing Kids Over Cars at HSU

The Collector

August 23, 2019


HSU Chooses Child Care Over Car Parking
In a refreshing display of reasonable priorities, the university announced that its Trinity Annex building, until recently slated to be demolished for a new parking lot, will instead be used as a child care center. Prioritizing kids over cars…imagine that! Maybe the County will follow their lead?

Planning Humboldt’s Energy Future
Over the next few months, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority will be re-writing its comprehensive plan for energy in Humboldt County. The plan focuses on electricity – including the recently adopted goal of getting to 100% clean and renewable electricity by 2025 – but will also touch on transportation, one of the major uses of energy in the county. The first opportunity to have your say is at a meeting next Thursday in Eureka.

Housing is Unaffordable in Humboldt
The average household in the county can’t afford the average home in the county. Building more suburban subdivisions won’t help. Will the County actually prioritize affordable infill housing projects? (Incidentally, that would also make transportation more affordable – walking, biking, and taking the bus are only feasible in denser mixed-use areas, and they’re all much cheaper than owning a car!)

Arcata Transportation Safety Committee Takes on Weighty Topics
At its meeting this week, the committee discussed the proposed Creek Side Homes residential development project, improvement of trail crossings, partial street closures during farmers markets, and more. September’s meeting will focus on parking. Perhaps they’ll consider the evidence that abundant free parking causes more people to drive.

State Transportation Commission Coming to Del Norte
Mark your calendars: They’ll hold a town hall on November 6th.

Take the Arcata Housing Survey
Let the city know what you think about what kinds of housing should be encouraged – and where.

Weekly Street Story Update: South Eureka
Traditional sources of street safety data include only collisions reported to the police. Street Story provides a way to report “near misses” as well. That’s critical because research indicates that locations with numerous near misses are likely to experience a collision in the future. Street Story reports so far in south Eureka may be providing a warning sign: a growing number of near misses in areas where few actual collisions have been reported yet. You can make your Street Story report here.

Caltrans Fights Dirty Against Complete Streets Bill
Caltrans was named and shamed by state legislators this week for vastly overinflated cost estimates and other underhanded tactics aimed at sinking SB 127, which would require the agency to build more bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure on many of their roadways. Hey, wait a minute…hasn’t Caltrans repeatedly said it’s already committed to doing this? Then why the big fuss? Anyway, it didn’t work – the bill still moved ahead. But the Assembly Appropriations Committee only has a week to take final action on the bill before it will be declared dead for the session.

Amtrak Bus Bill Moves Ahead
Meanwhile, SB 742 – which would allow Amtrak to provide bus service independent of its train service – was approved unanimously by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and now moves on to the Assembly floor.

You Can’t Call Them Accidents
It’s been said that you can get away with murder simply by getting into a car. Drivers, after all, are rarely held to account for actions which result in the deaths of other people on the street.


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.

Active Transportation in McKinleyville? Oh My!

The Collector

August 16, 2019


Tear Down Housing for a Parking Lot? No Thanks.
CRTP weighs in. And for the record, we’re not in favor of a parking garage, either. That would cost even more per parking space – a lot more – and just encourage more driving.

McKinleyville Has a New Active Transportation Committee
The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee has formed an ad hoc subcommittee on active transportation and trails, and its first meeting is next Wednesday. Come on out to show support for better bike, pedestrian and bus infrastructure in Mack Town!

CRTP Submits Comments on Creek Side Homes Project
Main takeaways: This could be a good project, but it needs less parking and more transportation alternatives – and it could use some more housing, too.

Arcata Plaza Task Force Considers Recommendations
At its meeting on Thursday, the Task Force began discussing which specific recommendations to make to City Council and how to implement them. Among the draft recommendations, 6 of the top 10 were related to improving non-vehicular transportation design!

Weekly Street Story Update: Highway 36
It’s no secret that Highway 36 between Carlotta and Bridgeville is dangerous – whether you’re in a vehicle or not. Street Story reports are confirming that. You can make your Street Story report here.

Holmlund Stepping Down as Eureka Development Director
Rob Holmlund has led the way in Eureka’s revitalization by focusing on denser, mixed-use, less car-focused infill development. Will the city’s next Development Director continue in this direction, or will we return to the old-fashioned (but still common) car-centric approach to development?

Caltrans Complete Streets Bill (SB 127) Set for Hearing Next Week
At the same hearing, the Assembly Appropriations Committee will consider the bill to allow Amtrak to run bus service independent of its train lines (SB 742). This is likely that last major hurdle for both bills.

As Trinidad Hotel Moves Forward, So Does Highway Interchange
Let’s not forget about that part of the project.

How Long Until Highway 101 is Under Water?
Maybe not that long.

Our State’s Struggle with Cars
A thoughtful big-picture look at the challenges facing California as we face the necessity of reducing car use.

New York & San Francisco Re-Think Car-Dominated Streets
If they can do it, can’t we?

Bike-Share, Scooter-Share…Moped-Share?
These new transportation systems appearing suddenly on city streets could play a valuable role in reducing driving and addressing the “last mile” problem of public transportation. But it’s a challenge to roll out new ideas in cities designed around cars.


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.

State Agencies Make Big Decisions for Humboldt

The Collector

August 9, 2019


Coastal Commission Approves 101 Corridor Project…
Despite many complaints about billboards and lack of planning for bike and pedestrian access and sea level rise, the Commission approved the changes to Highway 101 between Arcata and Eureka. What bothers us most about this project – other than the fact that much of the corridor will likely be underwater in less than 10 years – is the unstated intention to raise the speed limit. Because faster is safer, right?

..and Trinidad Hotel Project
With the focus on water, the proposed new highway interchange which the hotel relies on (but has not received any approvals yet) was barely mentioned.

Transportation Commission to Vote on Local Project Allocations
Among the projects under consideration for funding next week are “vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian improvements” on Redway Drive in Garberville and major changes to the Kenmar Road interchange in Fortuna (also to include some bike/ped amenities).

Humboldt Street Story in the News
CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske presented about local our use of Street Story on a statewide webinar this week.

Weekly Street Story Update: 6th Street
6th Street in Eureka shows up on Street Story reports to date as a string of collisions and near misses. At least this weekend bicyclists and pedestrians got a brief respite when a stretch of 6th Street was closed down for the Eureka Street Art Festival Block Party, and CRTP provided free bike valet! You can make your Street Story report here.

New York Times: Do Bicyclists Really Deserve All the Blame?
Anyone who’s ever mentioned bicycle hazards to a non-bicyclist knows that the most likely reaction is something like this: “Darn bicyclists, they’re so reckless, they create hazards for the rest of us.” Never mind that studies have shown bicyclists and drivers break the law at about the same rate, and a car is orders of magnitude more dangerous than a bicycle.


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.

Affordable Housing or a Parking Lot – What Does Downtown Eureka Need More?

The Collector

August 2, 2019


County to Raze Apartments and Build a Parking Lot
OK, so this block isn’t exactly paradise, but it still boggles the mind that the County would pave over affordable housing in the heart of Eureka to put up a parking lot. For the record: the purchase price alone amounts to almost $30,000 per parking space – and that doesn’t include demolition, construction and maintenance. But it’s not too late! While the sale of the property looks like a done deal, the County doesn’t have to waste this prime real estate on car parking. They could develop it with a fun and appropriate mix of public services and amenities along with leased commercial and residential facilities. Maybe you should let your Supervisor know what you think.

Eureka Street Art Block Party Tomorrow
Bike there and take advantage of CRTP’s free bike valet service in the Picky Picky Picky parking lot. And don’t miss the bicycle tour of murals!

Coastal Commission Meets in Eureka Next Week
The agenda includes several important local transportation topics, including changes to the Eureka-Arcata Highway 101 corridor and the proposed Trinidad Rancheria hotel, which is connected to a proposed new highway interchange nearby.

Eureka Gets Serious About Street Repair Problems
Sort of.

Weekly Street Story Update: Eureka Arterials
A map of hazards reported in the city of Eureka on Street Story is remarkably similar to a map of arterials and collectors – i.e., major streets in the city. The purple lines and dots cover almost every main thoroughfare, and relatively few other areas. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. It’s just another reminder that when we design our transportation systems almost exclusively around cars, the main routes become dangerous for everyone else. You can make your Street Story report here.

Bill Would Increase Electric Vehicle Rebates in California
Then slowly decrease them, to encourage people to buy EVs now.

Seattle Starts New On-Demand System Linked to Transit Hubs
Will it work in the long run? Will it decrease emissions and make people safer? Questions remain, but quick adoption by local commuters is intriguing.

Will New York Now Get Serious About Bike Safety?
A series of fatal collisions is increasing pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio.

New Electric Lyft Bikes Catch Fire in San Francisco
Literally.


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.

Henderson Center Hazards…and a Trolley!

The Collector

July 19, 2019

Note: The Collector will be taking a summer break next week. But don’t worry, we’ll be back on August 2nd!


Richardson Grove Event This Weekend
EPIC is hosting a “potluck rendezvous” at Richardson Grove State Park on Sunday to celebrate the fact that there’s still no highway widening in the grove. And you can carpool there!

Fortuna Hosts Annual Celebration of Cars
We know people love their cars. But wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate forms of transportation that aren’t, you know, killing people, communities and the planet?

New WheelPeople Newsletter Released
The latest Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association publications highlights the results of this year’s Bike Month.

Weekly Street Story Update: Henderson Center
This week, we highlight the Henderson Center area of Eureka. This should be a pedestrian-friendly business district, but a significant number of collisions, near-misses, and hazards have been reported by Street Story users. Meanwhile, Henderson Center merchants are raising money for a trolley. You can make your Street Story report here.

San Francisco Creates a New Car-Free Area
And bike lanes!

Caltrans Says It’s Addressing Bike, Pedestrian Fatalities
But its local solution to a pedestrian high-hazard area – 4th Street in Eureka – includes adding an additional car lane at the same time as it upgrades some of the pedestrian infrastructure. That doesn’t make much sense to us.

Federal “GREEN Streets” Act Introduced
A bill in the Senate would require states to measure and reduce both vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. That would mark a monumental shift in the way we spend our transportation dollars.

Start-Ups Try for Zero-Emission Ships & Planes
A Costa Rica-based company is trying to revive sail-and-electric cargo shipping. Meanwhile, several companies are working to develop electric airplanes.


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 Debate Parking in Town & Houses in the Hills

The Collector

July 12, 2019


County Zoning Gets Contentious…Again
At a hearing this week, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors debated various proposed zoning text amendments for around 4 hours. The main controversy was over plans to place some limitations on where homes can be built on designated timber and agricultural lands – proposals which had some realtors and property rights advocates threatening lawsuits. Perhaps surprisingly, proposals to lower parking requirements in mixed-use zones appeared significantly less controversial. Still, the legal threats killed any chance of reasonable action by the Supes at this meeting, and they continued the hearing to August 20th.

One Step Closer to a Pedestrian-Friendly Plaza?
At a special meeting of the City of Arcata’s Plaza Improvement Task Force this week, members confirmed that a number of proposals for improving the Plaza’s pedestrian design – including those brought forward by CRTP and others almost two years ago – will be officially considered by the Task Force in the coming months. Also at the meeting, a business owner on the 8th St side of the Plaza announced that there was support from a majority of business owners on that block for pedestrianizing it to allow the development of outdoor dining and parklets!

Ride the Bus for Free in Arcata This Month!
What could be better than free public transit?

Are All Those Pickups Really Necessary?
A local letter-writer wonders. Meanwhile, another writer reports a dangerous intersection for seniors.

Weekly Street Story Update
The total number of Street Story reports in Humboldt County is now almost 300. One intriguing trend which is emerging is that almost half of the reported hazards are identified as “multiple modes.” In other words, people are reporting areas that they think are dangerous not just for walking, or biking, or driving, but potentially for all of these types of transportation. You can make your Street Story report here.

New Residential Development Under Review in Arcata
Danco’s Creek Side Homes project includes a large assisted living facility for seniors as well as some single-family homes with accessory dwelling units. It also includes some street and trail improvements. Here are CRTP, we’re still digesting the Draft Environmental Impact Report which was recently released. Comments are due in August.

Climate Crisis Threatens Local Transportation Infrastructure
A new report confirms what we’ve known for some time – and the need to act gets more urgent every day.

Harbor District Projecting Debt
Apparently roads aren’t the only transportation infrastructure we can’t afford to maintain.

Eureka Focuses on Multi-Family Housing
Development Director Rob Holmlund accurately points out that there’s more than enough low-density single-family housing in other parts of the county.

State Assembly Transportation Committee Has a Busy Week
Among the bills the Committee approved this week: SB 127, the Caltrans complete streets bill; SB 356, which lays out next steps for the Great Redwood Trail vision; and SB 742, which could allow Amtrak to offer bus service without requiring an associated trail ticket.

Federal Complete Streets Bill Introduced
You might think a common-sense measure like this would have an easy road to passage. But if you’ve paid any attention to Congress over the last decade or so, you probably aren’t holding your breath.

Uncle Sam Says: Drive Your Car!
A fascinating look at the many ways in which our laws enforce a culture of car ownership and driving.


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.

Will Humboldt Do Anything About a Spike in Fatal Collisions?

The Collector

July 5, 2019


A New Spike in Fatal Collisions
As the article points out, this latest crash means six people have died in less than two weeks on Humboldt County roads. We can no longer view this as an acceptable cost of our way of life; we need to stop building our communities around moving heavy vehicles long distances at high speeds.

Complete Streets Bill Amended
SB 127 has faced stiff opposition from some lawmakers and interest groups. Don’t ask us to explain why anyone would oppose common-sense measures like restricting the use of state highway maintenance and repair funds for capacity-increasing projects, or prioritizing the safety of the road’s most vulnerable users. But apparently some people do. The bill’s authors have been forced to remove some of its more interesting and groundbreaking provisions, but it would still move bike and pedestrian infrastructure much farther up Caltrans’ list of priorities. Will the amended bill now pass? Your call or email might make the difference.

Weekly Street Story Update
16 more reports from Humboldt County were made on the Street Story platform in the last week. Today, we highlight an area which has been reported as a hazard seven different times already: the intersections of Sunset Ave with Highway 101 ramps and LK Wood Blvd in Arcata. These reports underline the fact that many have long considered this the most dangerous area in Arcata for bicyclists and pedestrians. You can make your Street Story reports here.

Redwood Coast Energy Authority Hiring a New Transportation Specialist
Fired up about sustainable transportation in Humboldt? Think you’ve got what it takes to make a career of it?

Oakland Makes e-Scooters Official
Rental companies get permits for the first time.

What’s the Impact of Self-Driving Cars on Disadvantaged Communities?
That will depend on how we regulate them, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Electric Cars Aren’t Enough
A report from the UK concludes the same thing that our own California Air Resources Board has long recognized: Electrification alone won’t solve our transportation problems. We also just need to drive less.


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.

Complete Streets Bill Heads to Assembly

The Collector

June 28, 2019


Complete Streets Bill Heads to Assembly
SB 127 has passed the state Senate, but the Assembly is an even bigger challenge. It’s currently scheduled for a hearing in the Transportation Committee, and sponsors are calling on supporters to contact their Assemblymembers.

More Bad News for Caltrans Richardson Grove Project
In a scathing opinion, a federal judge has ordered Caltrans to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement – a long and time-consuming process – “if it still wishes to proceed with the road project through Richardson Grove State Park.”

Arcata Planning Commission Approves Infill Project
The Isackson’s Affordable Housing Project and associated active transportation improvements were approved this week. Some neighbors offered objections to the project, while CRTP had a different take.

Weekly Street Story Update
As of this writing, a total of 272 reports have been made from Humboldt County on the Street Story platform. Speeding, failure to yield, and poor or missing bike facilities are the top reported causes of crashes, near misses, and hazardous areas. Today, we offer a close-up of one intersection that seems to be emerging as particularly problematic: 4th & O St in Eureka. Four crashes and three near misses have been reported here already. This is clearly an intersection that needs some work.

$3.8 Million for Parking
Why would state law require millions of dollars of state university money be spent on parking – and not student housing, faculty salaries, or any number of other important needs?

Great Redwood Trail Progress Continues
Meanwhile, funding for the dissolution of the North Coast Railroad Authority and planning for the new trail was included in the state budget just signed by Governor Newsome.

New York, Denver, Boston Top Walkable Metro Areas
Washington, DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago round out the top six in the new report.


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.