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.

New Street Safety Tool Makes Its Debut in Humboldt

The Collector

June 21, 2019


We Want to Know Where You Feel Unsafe on Humboldt Streets
With the support of other local agencies and organizations, CRTP is rolling out the online Street Story tool on the North Coast. The tool was developed at UC Berkeley as an easy way for the public to report where they’ve had collisions, near-misses, or just feel unsafe on local streets and roads. Nearly 200 reports have been made in the county just since the tool was announced yesterday morning.

Hazards reported in the Arcata-Eureka area.

Supes Ask for More Zoning Rule Options
On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors discussed a set of zoning code text amendments meant to implement the new(ish) General Plan. One of those changes is the creation of new Mixed Use zones, which are intended to facilitate denser, pedestrian-oriented town centers in places like McKinleyville. CRTP has been arguing for months that these zones need reduced parking requirements in order to allow the kind of development our town centers need. And apparently someone was listening: at the hearing the Supes asked staff to come back with proposals for reduced parking requirements. Imagine that!

State Transportation Commission Set to Discuss Local Topics
At its meeting next week, the Commission will vote on allocating $775,000 toward preparations for the Trinidad Rancheria’s desired new Highway 101 interchange. The Commission will also move the Annie & Mary Trail, the Bay Trail South (the “final four”), pedestrian improvements on Central Avenue at McKinleyville’s southern entrance, and Trinidad’s Van Wycke Bicycle & Pedestrian project one step closer to construction each with various funding and right-of-way decisions on the agenda.

Annual Public Transit Allocations Made in Humboldt
This week, the Humboldt County Association of Governments Board took up the annual task of allocating Local Transportation Fund dollars among local jurisdictions for public transportation support. This year, as in past years, the County of Humboldt is using a quarter-million dollars of its allocation on streets and roads instead of public transit, claiming that money isn’t needed for transit. Because there’s no way our transit system could use that money…right?

Arcata Council Considers Loan for Infill Project
Let’s face it – it’s not easy to build a good, pedestrian- and transit-oriented infill project. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Blue Lake Envisions a Town Square
As a long-time resident said: “Everybody started driving so the businesses went away.” The town wants to capture something of what it once had. And we all know a good town square is a pedestrian paradise!

CSUs Blasted for Building Expensive Parking While Raising Student Fees
OK, that’s not the headline the newspapers chose. But it’s still a lesson to be learned.

California is Dangerous for Pedestrians
That’s not really news. But seeing how much higher our rate of pedestrian deaths is than the nationwide average is still sobering.

How Do We Actually Get People Out of Their Cars?
A fascinating look at some ways we can use the science of behavior change to design better mode shift strategies.


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.

How Will Humboldt County Reduce Transportation Emissions?

The Collector

June 14, 2019


Another Victory for Opponents of Richardson Grove Highway Expansion
A state court appears to have put another nail in the coffin of the proposed highway expansion through Richardson Grove State Park.

Progress on Countywide Climate Action Plan
The County held a public workshop in McKinleyville this week to talk about the countywide (multi-jurisdictional) Climate Action Plan currently under development. There was a lot of talk about transportation – because it’s the source of more than half the county’s greenhouse gas emissions. The solutions? Better land use planning and support for alternative transportation and transportation electrification. But a lot of the details haven’t yet been filled in. The Board of Supervisors recently formally approved the Plan’s development, and another workshop is scheduled for next week in Willow Creek.

Trinidad Hotel Loses Coastal Commission Vote
The rejection isn’t binding for the Trinidad Rancheria, which is a sovereign nation, but will likely have an effect on the project. While the Commission focused on issues with the project’s water supply, another big issue is the hotel’s relationship with a new Highway 101 interchange that the Rancheria also wants to build nearby.

Arcata Planning Commission Discusses Infill Project
Neighbors of the proposed active transportation-oriented affordable housing project in downtown Arcata objected to shading of their properties and…wait for it…parking impacts. City staff and some of the Commissioners pointed out that we’re never going to get good infill development if we build lots of parking. The Commission asked the developer (Danco) to come back on June 25th with project modifications.

Environmental Art in Eureka
A street or a sidewalk can function not only for transportation – it can also be a venue for cool public art!

Great Redwood Trail Moves Forward
The state legislature passed a budget this week that includes $10.8 million for the next steps in closing down the North Coast Railroad Authority and preparing for the Great Redwood Trail. Meanwhile, another town hall to talk about the Trail is scheduled for next Saturday (6/22) at 10:30 am in Ukiah.

Hydrogen Ferry Hopes to Make Debut on San Francisco Bay
Will fuel cell ferries be more viable than long-promised fuel cell cars?

New York Protects Bike Lanes During Construction
If you ride a bike regularly, you know that construction projects regularly block bike lanes, and usually don’t provide a safe detour. A new law in New York City will change that.


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 Infill Housing for Downtown Arcata?

The Collector

June 7, 2019


More Infill Housing for Downtown Arcata?
The city’s Planning Commission is set to consider the “Isackson’s Affordable Housing Project” next week, which would add 43 affordable apartments to the downtown area. It’s also tied to a number of improvements to the surrounding bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as a potential new bus route. CRTP weighs in on the project here.

Flights from Denver Start Arriving in McKinleyville
Don’t get us wrong, we understand the appeal of being more connected to the world beyond the redwood curtain through a quick plan ride. But it still strikes us as odd that local boosters are encouraging the public to fly as much as possible, when flying is one of the most climate-wrecking forms of transportation.

We’ve Run Out of Clever Headlines About The Village
But the Arcata City Council finally said they’re OK with it. Formal approvals to come… probably.

Eureka Gets Money to Study Balloon Track
As both a contaminated former rail yard and the desired location of a future extension of 4th Street being studied by the City and Caltrans, the Balloon Track is a significant site in local transportation lore. But contamination is only one of the challenges here – it’s also full of coastal wetlands, as a lawsuit from local environmental groups reminded developers the last time around.

Redwood Coast Energy Authority to Host Electric Vehicle Workshop
While we generally support driving less, if you have to drive, an EV is the way to go. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of how to buy an EV, this event is for you.

Cal State Students Pay More for Parking Than Faculty or Staff
Students and advocates are framing this as a case of poor students subsidizing wealthier staff. But reduced parking fees means that non-driving students (who incidentally are more likely to have lower incomes) will have to subsidize drivers. Our opinion: if the CSUs want to help struggling students, they should provide alternative transportation rather than reducing fees for private vehicles to park on campus.

Letter Laments Potholes
We lament the fact that our cities, counties, states and federal government built up an enormous system of streets and highways over the last half century with no feasible way to pay for maintaining 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.

New Report: Cars and Trucks (and Sprawl) Are Killing Us in Humboldt

The Collector

May 31, 2019


Cars and Trucks Are Among Leading Causes of Death in Humboldt County
A new report on local community health shows that traffic collisions are the most frequent cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24 locally, and one of the leading causes for people of all ages. Humboldt’s rates of traffic death are far higher than state or national rates – particularly when it comes to drivers hitting pedestrians. Significantly, many of the other leading causes of death are related to physical and social isolation and lack of access to transportation – in part a result of sprawling, unsustainable development patterns. This should be a wake-up call for everyone in this part of the state.

Meeting Planned on Proposed Cutten Subdivision
A major residential subdivision is being proposed on the outskirts of Eureka, and a public scoping workshop (held prior to developing environmental documents) is scheduled for June 13th. Will it be possible for future residents of this area to get around easily without driving? If not, projects like this just shouldn’t be built.

Road Planning Workshops Scheduled in Del Norte
The Del Norte Local Transportation Commission has scheduled a public workshop for June 26th as part of its ongoing efforts to redesign Elk Valley Cross Road. The City of Crescent City and Elk Valley Rancheria are also holding a public workshop on June 6th at noon at the Cultural Center (1001 Front St) for input on future Front Street improvements – which could include better bike/ped infrastructure!

Annual Celebration of Pedal Power
The Kinetic Grand Championship was a success again this year. Approaching the Arcata Plaza before the start of the race, bike racks and sign poles were packed with bicycles, and it was clear that spectators as well as participants were taking the opportunity to celebrate active transportation.

Diesel Emissions Reduction Bill Passes State Senate
Senate Bill 210, which would require the state to develop pilot programs and regulations to reduce emissions from diesel trucks, now moves on to the Assembly.

San Francisco Wants More Rental Bikes
Lyft wants to maintain its monopoly.

China Tariffs Hit Bike Shops
Trump’s trade war is hurting people who sell (and buy) bicycles.


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 Senate Passes Key Transportation Bills for North Coast

The Collector

May 24, 2019


Great Redwood Trail Efforts Move Forward in Sacramento
Senate Bill 356, which takes on some of the next steps in transitioning the North Coast Railroad Authority right-of-way into a world-class trail system, has passed the state Senate and moved on to the Assembly. Meanwhile, the Humboldt Trails Council has issued a call to action to support Senator McGuire’s request for $10.8 million in next year’s state budget to start implementing Great Redwood Trail plans.

Caltrans Complete Streets Bill Passes the Senate
The California Senate also passed SB 127 this week. Although heavily edited from its original version, the bill would still dramatically improve Caltrans’ approach to complete streets planning where state highways function as main streets – such as Highway 101 in Eureka.

The Village is Back… Again
The large housing project has been scheduled for another hearing before the Arcata City Council on June 5th. It now has room for only 530 residents – hundreds fewer than the original proposal, and well below the caps previously set by certain Council members. Will the Council finally give this project the stamp of approval?

Transit Authority Board Takes On Dial-a-Ride Renewal
Meanwhile, the Humboldt County Association Governments continues to study how mobility-on-demand concepts might apply to local transportation systems more broadly.

Pedestrian Killed by Driver in McKinleyville Hit-and-Run
A woman has been charged and pleaded not guilty in the Central Avenue collision.

Opinions Differ on Safety Corridor Plans
CRTP has joined other local groups in calling for a local Coastal Commission hearing on the Caltrans project and pointing out some safety and long-term planning issues with the project. (For example: raising speed limits just won’t improve safety, no matter what Caltrans says.) Some folks, deeply upset about existing safety problems, object to these objections. Others think the whole project is a boondoggle.


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.

Climate Planning, Parking and Pedal-Pubs

The Collector

May 17, 2019


Climate Action Plan Workshop on Monday
Arcata will host the next workshop in a series to gather public input for the Humboldt county-wide multi-jurisdictional Climate Action Plan which is under development. If you’re free, show up and remind them that driving less is the single most important thing we can do to lower greenhouse gas emissions!

Eureka Looks to Allow Pedi-Cabs…with Booze!
On next week’s City Council agenda are amendments to the municipal code to allow “pedal pubs” under certain conditions. This type of multi-person, pedal-powered, alcohol-serving vehicular business was legalized statewide in 2015. Also on the agenda: Awarding a contract for Waterfront Drive construction. Meanwhile, this week, the Council passed a major zoning code overhaul containing significant incentives for pedestrian-oriented infill development.

County Zoning Map Update Workshops Scheduled
The Humboldt County Planning & Building Department has scheduled a series of public workshops around the county to take comments and answer questions about proposed changes to the county zoning map, meant to implement the 2017 General Plan Update.

More Car-Culture Restaurants to Open on Broadway This Year
Fast food burger and pizza joints are moving through the development process.

Is Parking the Problem, or Is It Cars?
Another day, another complaint about supposedly inadequate parking for a business in Arcata. We say, as we always do: If you don’t think there’s enough parking, make sure people don’t have to drive cars.

Public Input
A cogent and compelling commentary from North Coast Journal editor Thaddeus Greenson about local squabbles over the location of Coastal Commission hearings on two major transportation-related projects.

Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
The obstruction of the week feature is back today, thanks to this gem submitted by a loyal reader of The Collector. If you have a picture or other item you’d like featured in The Collector, email Colin at colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Infrastructure Week
It’s Infrastructure Week, according to people who want massive amounts of spending on infrastructure. There’s no question that much of our infrastructure needs to be seriously overhauled. But should we really still be handing out money for highway expansions – especially when we can’t afford to maintain what we already have?

Can Seniors Get Around Without Cars?
Many older Americans can’t or don’t want to drive. But the country’s few truly walkable communities are often too expensive for a senior on a fixed income. Isolation and declining health are common outcomes. Our aging population comes face to face with some of the problems of sprawling, car-oriented development.

Ford E-bikes Back in the Bay
Apparently the brake problems that caused them to be temporarily recalled have been addressed.


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.

Another Victory in the Fight Against Richardson Grove Highway Expansion

The Collector

May 10, 2019


CRTP to Host Free Training on Bike/Ped Safety Tool
A representative of SafeTREC at UC Berkeley will be coming to Humboldt County on May 29th to do a training on one of their new tools. It’s called Street Story, and it’s designed to crowd-source data on where bicyclists and pedestrians feel safe or unsafe and why, and where they’ve had collisions or near-misses. If you’re a local transportation advocate or professional and want to learn how to use the tool, email colin@transportationpriorities.org to RSVP and for more information.

Richardson Grove Highway Expansion Project Dealt A Major Blow
A federal judge ruled that Caltrans had not met its obligations to thoroughly review the project’s environmental impacts. CRTP has opposed this project since our founding four years ago. We don’t think the state should spend be spending our tax dollars to redesign roads for the largest fossil-fuel powered vehicles, particularly at the risk of damaging ancient redwoods in a state park. This is the latest in a series of legal victories for project opponents. Could it be the final one?

Safety Corridor Hearing Might Be in Eureka in August…
Instead of San Diego in June, as Caltrans had requested. CRTP submitted a joint letter with Humboldt Baykeeper asking for the Coastal Commission hearing to be delayed to allow for local input. CRTP’s concerns include bike/pedestrian access at the Bayside cutoff and the plan’s (lack of) adaptation for sea level rise. Caltrans had insisted that the project would lose its funding if not heard in June. However, after the Commission unanimously requested that it be moved to the local August meeting, Caltrans changed its tune and said that would probably be fine. Meanwhile, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors failed to approve a request that the Commission also delay the scheduled June consideration of Trinidad Rancheria’s hotel proposal – which is tied to a controversial interchange project on Highway 101.

Caltrans 4th Street Project to Exercise Eminent Domain
Next week’s California Transportation Commission agenda includes a resolution to use eminent domain to take a small portion of the Red Lion Hotel property at 4th and V Streets in Eureka. Those of you following along at home will remember that this project includes bulb-outs and crosswalk upgrades, but also adds an additional lane of travel on 4th Street – negating the effect of the pedestrian improvements and causing CRTP to oppose it.

Funding for Blue Lake Bike/Ped Upgrades on the Agenda
Also on the CTC’s agenda is a proposal to fund new bike lanes, sidewalks, ADA improvements, and traffic-calming features on Greenwood, Railroad, and Hatchery Roads in Blue Lake. And deadline extensions to the City of Eureka for awarding a construction contract for the “Waterfront Drive Connection” project, to Crescent City for the Sunset Circle Multi-Use Trail project, and to the Hoopa Valley Tribe for its Safe Routes to School project.

Eureka City Council to Consider New Zoning Code
On Monday, the Council will hold a hearing on the proposed new code, which happens to contain lots of interesting incentives for pedestrian-oriented infill development and reduced parking requirements.

Planning Commission to Discuss New Housing Element
Humboldt County continues its Housing Element update process.

Trails Summit a Success
Rees Hughes has a great summary in the Times-Standard. Bike Month continues this week with Eureka Bike-to-Work Day and Bike-Friendly Business Happy Hour/Shopping Spree, an Arcata Family Bike Rodeo, a Historic Blue Lake Ride, and more!

Bike/Ped Safety Operation Planned for Eureka
We’re all about improving bike and pedestrian safety in Eureka. But there’s a definite under-current of blaming the victim here.

Uber’s IPO Reveals Competition with Transit
Paperwork filed by the massive company called out a goal to “replace” both private car trips and public transit. New research suggests that it’s already doing that. Meanwhile, miraculously, bus ridership is growing in San Francisco!

What’s Next for Trump’s Fuel Efficiency Roll-Back?
An insightful analysis from Streetsblog on the many implications for the state of California.

Co-working on the Street
Real estate is expensive. Parking is cheap. But wait: parking is real estate!

What City Has the Best New Complete Streets Policy in the Nation?
According to Smart Growth America, it’s Cleveland Heights, Ohio.


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.

Trails Summit Tomorrow in Arcata

The Collector

May 3, 2019


Arcata City Council Rejects Partial Plaza Pedestrianization for Farmers Markets
Apparently, even a partial closure of two Plaza streets for a few hours each week was too much. Instead of approving the farmers market’s request, the Council voted (3-2) to send them to mediation with Arcata Main Street, because some of the Plaza businesses objected to the loss of free store-front public parking on Saturday mornings. We love local businesses and local farmers, but it’s beyond us why two private groups in a private mediation should get to decide the future of a public space.

Bike Month Continues in Humboldt!
Events in the coming week include tomorrow’s Trails Summit at HSU, the annual Bike Shorts film showing, Arcata Bike to Work Day, the Arcata Bike-Friendly Business Happy Hour/Shopping Spree, and much more. Meanwhile, check out CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske’s Bike Month article in the Times-Standard!

Join CRTP for the Bike Month Challenge
Get out there and ride!

Long-Running Litigation on the Agenda in Del Norte
One of the discussion items on next week’s Del Norte Local Transportation Commission agenda is an update on the long-running litigation against the highway-expansion project to allow extra-large trucks through the Smith River Canyon on Highway 199. Is the county still committed to highway boondoggles like this? Time will tell.

A Big, Juicy Agenda
The Humboldt County Association of Government’s Technical Advisory Committee (known to the acronym-friendly as the HCAOG TAC) had a lot to talk about this week. Caltrans wants suggestions on future active transportation projects, local jurisdictions have requested funding for some of their own, plus there’s highway funding, mobility-on-demand, safe routes to school, and more to consider.

E-Bike Voucher Bill Has Bipartisan Support
The California Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill to add e-bikes to the list of transportation options the state will help fund when low-income folks trade in an old car.

Bike-Share Going Bust in China?
Leave it to tech investors to make bicycle sharing a bubble industry.


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.

May Starts Next Week. You Know What That Means…

The Collector

April 26, 2019


May is Bike Month!
Check out the extensive schedule of local events. And don’t forget to sign up for the Bike Month Challenge.

New Eureka Zoning Code Moves to Council
The first major code overhaul in half a century would create a lot of new opportunities for less car-oriented infill development.

Neighbors Complain of Flooding on Proposed Bike Routes
No, the neighbors didn’t mention that they’re proposed bike routes. Neither did the City. But read the latest Regional Bicycle Plan, and you’ll see that both Wabash and G Street are designated as future Class III bike routes – adding a twist to this citizens-vs-city-hall story.

Local Trails Summit Next Saturday
Mark your calendar.

Bike Rider Hit by SUV on Highway 101
Fortunately, she is reported to have received only minor injuries.

Full Speed Ahead for Car-Culture Restaurant in Eureka
Oops, we meant “fast food.”

Caltrans Complete Streets Bill Gutted, then Passed
After removing the requirement that Caltrans update streets with bike and pedestrian infrastructure whenever it does major rehabilitation or repair work, as well as most of the other more innovative provisions, the Senate Transportation Committee passed SB 127. Still, there may be some elements left worth fighting for. This article includes commentary from CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske about the bill’s local applicability. Meanwhile, the Committee also passed SB 44, the bill intended to drastically reduce pollution from diesel trucks, after removing its most ambitious targets.

Have Some Pizza and Beer for the Humboldt Trails Council!
What could be better than pizza and beer for a good cause?

Another Car is Weaponized Against Pedestrians
Disturbingly, this seems to be a new trend.

Trump Administration Funding More New Roads, Less of Everything Else
A new analysis shows that a long-time major federal funding program for multimodal infrastructure has shifted dramatically toward funding more new road capacity – and fewer complete streets projects – since Trump took office.

Chalking Tires Unconstitutional…in the Midwest
The parking enforcement tool is still perfectly legal in California, at least for now.

Drone Delivery Program Approved
The first one in the US will start soon in Virginia.


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.