The Arcata Plaza: A Transportation Microcosm

The Collector

March 8, 2019


The Arcata Plaza: A Transportation Microcosm
As the Plaza Improvement Task Force continues its work, CRTP wants to make the Plaza a safer space for people who aren’t in cars. Meanwhile, the comments of the police officer quoted in this article demonstrate vividly how bicyclists and pedestrians are currently blamed for being hit by cars around the Plaza – just like they are everywhere else. (And don’t even get us started about how a bicycle-pedestrian collision resulting in death – a virtually unheard-of event – is a subject of intense concern for the officer, while the numerous pedestrians killed by people driving cars in and around Arcata are never even mentioned.)

Thankfully there are no dangerous bicycles to be seen in this typical photo of the Arcata Plaza – only cars and pickup trucks.

The Village: Deja Vu All Over Again
At its umpteenth hearing on the proposed large residential project, the Arcata City Council essentially asked the developer for the same modifications they had already asked for and been told were impossible. CRTP Board Member Keenan Hilton spoke at the hearing in support of The Village as an important infill development which will lend itself to active transportation – although preferably with a reduced parking lot.

Richardson Grove Project Headed Back to Court
The next hearing will be on March 18th at the Humboldt County Courthouse.

Local Projects on State Transportation Commission Agenda
The CTC will consider an ADA upgrade project on Broadway in Eureka, modest pedestrian safety improvements at the south end of McKinleyville’s Central Ave, and a Class I bike path in Manila, along with extra money for the Highway 36 road-widening project near Alton. There are also staff reports on a number of local projects, including emergency storm damage repairs.

Humboldt County Measure Z Funds Requested
The biggest request is for road maintenance and repair. Not too surprising in the context of the recent damage resulting from just a few major storms.

The Eureka Transportation Safety Commission Will Meet!
After many months of limited agendas and canceled meetings, the city has a meeting scheduled next week with new members and new agenda items.

Caltrans Report Shows Backsliding on Pedestrian Safety, Vehicle Miles Traveled
The most recent data show pedestrian fatalities up and people driving more. If Caltrans can’t make progress toward decreasing both of these key indicators, our lives and the climate will be at increasing risk.

Bus Rapid Transit Moves Ahead in East Bay
It’s a bus! It’s a train! It’s bus rapid transit!

Depaving the Alleys
Can urban alleyways be repurposed as more natural social spaces?


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.

Storms Highlight North Coast’s Transportation Vulnerability

The Collector

March 1, 2019


Caltrans Talks About Eureka Projects
A jumble of overlapping projects and objectives aim to improve bike and pedestrian facilities, but also move traffic faster. Faster cars are more dangerous to people on bike and on foot, of course, but no irony has been noted in Caltrans’ presentations.

Tantalizing Hints of a Zoning Code to Come
The Humboldt Transit Authority Board got a sneak peak at the City of Eureka’s new zoning code, which is currently under development. Among the potential features of the new code relevant to transit: “development bonuses for including annual bus passes for new residential development [and] parking reductions for being within a set distance of a bus stop.”

Flooding, Slides Hit Local Roads
Many state highways and local roads were impacted by the week’s weather. Of particular note for bicyclists, flooding in the Arcata Bottoms blocked a popular bike-commuting route between McKinleyville and Arcata for several days.

Shoaling Wreaks Havoc on Local Maritime Transportation
On the North Coast, our roads have land slides, and our marine corridors have shoaling.

Clean Electricity Goal Inches Forward
On Thursday, the Board of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority directed staff to conduct public outreach and continue researching the goal of providing Humboldt County with 100% clean, renewable energy by 2025 (which had been recommended by the Authority’s Community Advisory Committee). As much of our transportation system looks set to transition to electric power, the sources of that electricity become more and more relevant to transportation advocates.

Nothing to Talk About
The Del Norte Local Transportation Commission’s regular March meeting was cancelled, as were the regular Technical Advisory Committee meetings for both DNLTC and HCAOG.

Can Block-Chain Technology Help Reducing Shipping Emissions?
Or at least hold shipping companies more accountable?

Is the Future Rural?
A new report from the Post Carbon Institute argues that “reruralization” will be necessary for a post-carbon society, in part because of the costs of long-distance transportation of food. But what about the transportation of people, which is much more impactful in rural areas and is already one of the primary factors driving greenhouse gas emissions higher?


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.

California Fuel Economy Standards in Trump’s Crosshairs

The Collector

February 22, 2019


Caltrans to Host Public Meeting on Eureka Projects
Next Thursday at 5:30 pm at the Wharfinger building, local Caltrans staff will tell the public about a number of projects currently planned or under way along Highway 101 in Eureka – including a proposal to continue the 4th-5th Street one-way couplet through the Balloon Track to a newly one-way Broadway and Koster couplet. It’s the latest in a long line of Caltrans ideas for moving traffic faster through Eureka.

Plaza Task Force Talks About How to Judge Changes
The City Council’s Plaza Improvement Task Force didn’t make a final decision at its meeting last night about which criteria it will use to assess proposed changes to the Plaza. But at CRTP’s suggestion, they did add another potential criterion to the list: considering the comfort and safety of the Plaza’s most vulnerable users, including people on foot, bicycle, and assisted mobility device.

HCAOG Board Takes on Annual Work Plan
Among the items in the plan for the Humboldt County Association of Governments are funding for development of local transit ridership projection software and an online bike map app.

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
A sign warning motorists about the presence of workers in the right-of-way blocks the bike lane and sends bicyclists into the car lanes. No workers were actually present at the time this picture was taken. Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Trump Administration Quits California Fuel Economy Talks
The state’s decades-old right to set stricter vehicle mileage standards than the federal government is under threat by the administration, which is trying to roll back federal standards as well. Transportation is already the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and growing. The global climate could hang in the balance.

The Green New Deal is Missing Something
There’s almost no mention of transportation and land use.

Mobility-on-Demand Meets Public Transit
A new type of company aims to be a sort of hybrid between traditional transit and modern app-based ride-hailing services. The jury’s still out on the long term impacts.


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.

What Will It Take for Eureka to Cut Carbon Emissions?

The Collector

February 15, 2019


McGuire Announces Plan for Great Redwood Trail Town Halls
The State Senator wants to conduct public outreach along the route of the proposed trail to receive local input on what the trail should look like in each community.

Eureka City Council Looking at Ways to Reduce Climate Impacts
Of course, transportation accounts for the bulk of local greenhouse gas emissions, so hopefully mode shift will be front and center in their planning.

$40 Million Requested for Last Chance Grade Study
Caltrans is teaming up with local elected officials to request the money for preparation of an Environmental Impact Report. The estimated cost of just studying the impacts is an indication of just how big this project will actually be.

Extreme Pedestrianism for a Cause
A mother starts a run across the country in memory of her son. If only all pedestrians got a police escort. (We wouldn’t even need sidewalks.)

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
At least if you hit this and flipped over your handlebars, you’d land on something soft. Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

What Exactly Did Newsome Say About High-Speed Rail?
While many news outlets reported that the new governor is planning to limit the long-awaited rail line to just the Central Valley, StreetsBlog points out that what he actually said is that he’d prioritize finishing that portion while still pursuing funding for the rest of it.

San Francisco Studying Congestion Pricing
As one Supervisor put it, “Our tools for dealing with the proliferation of Uber and Lyft are limited. One of the tools we have left is congestion pricing.”

Electric Vehicle Boom Creating Lots of Jobs in California
Spurred by state regulations, investment in electric trucks, buses and passenger vehicles is growing fast.


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 Story of Parking in Arcata

The Collector

February 8, 2019


McGuire Named 2018 Responsible Transportation Champion for North Coast
CRTP is inaugurating an annual Responsible Transportation Champion award, and the first one has been given to State Senator Mike McGuire for his work to make the Great Redwood Trail a reality.

Arcata Council Keeps The Village Alive
Councilmembers voted unanimously to consider the revised plans for The Village housing project. (Readers will recall that they rejected the previous plan on a tied vote several months ago.) CRTP encouraged the Council to approve the project – but with less parking.

The Story of Parking in Arcata
CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske was interviewed by North Coast News TV about the parking situation in Arcata.

County Continues Public Outreach Zoning Blitz
One community meeting after another is planned this month as Humboldt County officials seek public comment on proposed zoning changes to implement the new General Plan. Among other things, CRTP is advocating for changes to make the new “mixed use” zones, meant for existing community center areas, denser and more pedestrian friendly.

Don’t Blame the Pedestrian
A letter from CRTP Board member Tom Wheeler highlights the problems with pedestrian safety on Highway 101 – and with how we think and talk about collisions that kill people who aren’t in a car.

Arcata Gets Input on Trail Proposal
Arcata officials asked for public input this week on a proposed stretch of trail which would someday run through Arcata, connecting the Humboldt Bay Trail with the Annie & Mary Trail to Blue Lake. One of the top recommendations of participants: give trail users the right-of-way at intersections.

Committee Considers Bike App, Transit Modeling, and VMT Training
The Humboldt County Association of Government’s Technical Advisory Committee met this week, and on the agenda was deciding how to spend a small budgetary surplus. Options included the development of a local bike map app, adapting modeling software to allow local agencies to better predict bus ridership, and training local decision makers on the state-mandated switch from congestion to vehicle miles traveled when assessing transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act. They went with the bike app and the transit modeling.

The Disappearing Crosswalk to Nowhere
This week, we feature a combination of two common scenes on the North Coast: an unmaintained crosswalk, and one that ends in a spot with no pedestrian infrastructure. Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

“This is the new face of climate change denialism”
The new multi-billion dollar highway tunnel in Seattle is meant to replace a damaged and ugly surface freeway. But why didn’t officials simply remove the freeway and not replace it, as many other cities have successfully done?

Are Uber and Lyft Eating Away at Bike Trips Along with Transit?
San Francisco is discovering that accomplishing mode shift is not as simple as “complete streets” that (sort of) accommodate everybody. We’re going to have to take steps to reign in driving – including driving by on-demand services like Uber and Lyft – if we want to see a real and permanent change.


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.

What Will Infill Development Look Like in Arcata?

The Collector

February 1, 2019


Revised Version of “The Village” Unveiled
The new plan is about half community rentals and half “purpose-built” student housing. It has over 600 beds, but significantly less than the 800 originally proposed – and a lot more parking spaces. The new proposal was discussed at a public meeting Wednesday night.

New Downtown Arcata Development Proposal Focuses on Active Transportation
The affordable housing project just a block from the Plaza could include everything from free bus passes to covered bike parking to car share, and could pay for upgrades to bike/ped infrastructure in the surrounding blocks if the developers get the funding they need.

Annie & Mary Trail Connectivity Public Workshop Next Week
The City of Arcata is looking for input Monday on the plan for the section of trail within city limits, which would extend from the Larson Park area to Valley West.

Great Redwood Trail Planning Begins
Trail advocates and stakeholders met in Ukiah Thursday to talk vision and next steps. CRTP was there, of course! Once completed, the Great Redwood Trail will stretch from Marin to Humboldt and be the second-longest trail in the state (after the Pacific Crest Trail).

A Pedestrian Is Just a Person Who’s Walking
This article underscores the tragedy of the crash on Highway 101 last week by providing some background on the man who died while walking there. Hopefully, we can move beyond victim-blaming and take action to make this stretch of highway safer for people on foot.

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Getting tired of seeing pictures of parked cars and trucks in the bike lane? We’re getting tired of taking them! Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Monday is Transit Equity Day
It’s the birthday of Rosa Parks, and a national coalition is agitating for the recognition of public transit as a civil right.

Oslo’s Successful (Almost) Car-Free City Center
What do you know? People love a place to walk around without cars!

It’s Not Just Millennials – Seniors Want Walkable Communities Too
And they’re living together, Golden Girls-style, in order to gain access to them.

TransForm Releases Report on Equitable Congestion Pricing
Want to know how to reap the benefits of congestion pricing without hurting the poor? This report has your answers.


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.

Pedestrian Deaths Are Up, and California Plans for More

The Collector

January 25, 2019


Pedestrian Deaths Are Up, and California Plans for More
According to a new nationwide report, pedestrian deaths have increased 35% over the last decade while driver deaths have decreased. Likely causes: poor road design, more driving, and more deadly SUVs. Meanwhile, California is among a number of states that have submitted official plans to the federal government establishing a goal for the number of pedestrian fatalities next year that’s actually higher than last year’s number. Translation: the state is planning for more pedestrians to die.

And Another Pedestrian is Killed on 101
The area south of Eureka where a driver struck and killed a man this week has been particularly deadly for pedestrians in recent years.

Local Trails on the California Transportation Commission Agenda
Next week’s agenda includes approval of funding for both the completion of the Humboldt Bay Trail and the first phase of the Annie and Mary Trail, as well as “vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian improvements” on Redwood Drive in Garberville. Meanwhile, other local projects including the 101 Safety Corridor, Eureka 4th Street, and Dr. Fine (Del Norte County) bridge replacement projects appear on the Commission’s “watch list” because they are considered at high risk for cost overruns.

Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
This week, a pickup truck pulls so far through a parking space that it blocks almost the entire sidewalk on I Street in Arcata. Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org!

Newsom Could Re-Shape Transportation Commission
At least 3 of the 11 voting seats on the Commission are up for re-appointment in the next several months. Is it possible the new governor will break with tradition and appoint members who don’t represent construction industry interests?

Why is Transit Ridership Declining?
Uber & Lyft, 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.

CRTP Delivers Plaza Petition with Over 500 Signatures

The Collector

January 18, 2019


Plaza Petition Calls for Prioritizing Non-vehicular Users
CRTP delivered the petition with 518 signatures to the City of Arcata’s Plaza Improvement Task Force at its meeting Thursday. The Task Force is still collecting additional public input through its online survey, so fill it out if you haven’t already!

The Village is Back
The City has scheduled a January 30th meeting to discuss a revised version of The Village. This time it’s not student-only housing, and HSU isn’t involved. This latest news begs the question: could Arcata’s The Village project pull off a better plot twist than the 2004 M. Night Shyamalan movie of the same name?

Humboldt County Rezoning Process Continues
The results could have a big impact on the density (or lack thereof) of future development. The county’s transportation future may hang in the balance.

A New Face, and a New Perspective, on the Humboldt County Planning Commission
New Commissioner McCavour mentions the connection between density, wildland development, and greenhouse gas emissions. Can we be forgiven for hoping that she might move the Commission in a more enlightened direction?

New Electric School Bus Hits the Streets
The first of several to be delivered to local districts. Cool!

Sidewalk/Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
We saw plenty of bike lane and sidewalk obstructions this week. But the rain discouraged us from getting out our cameras, so you’ll just have to take our word for it. Don’t let this space go empty again – send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org!

New Bill Would Bring “Complete Streets” Framework to State Highways
Senator Scott Wiener continues his crusade for better transportation planning.

Study Shows Importance of Land Use Patterns in Transit Use
Why aren’t more Americans riding transit? Because houses, jobs, or both aren’t close enough to high-quality options. But we can 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.

The Collector Is Cancelled… Oh No Wait, That’s the Eureka Transportation Safety Commission

The Collector

January 11, 2019


Rail Authority Ordered to Cover Court Costs for Enviros
In yet another blow to the beleaguered agency, the North Coast Railroad Authority has been ordered to pay the court costs for local environmental groups with whom it’s been involved in years-long legal battles. One more reason for the NCRA to finally abandon its elusive dream of restoring rail service through the Eel River Canyon, as the newly passed SB1029 requires it to turn its attention toward long-term rails-to-trails planning.

Eureka Transportation Safety Commission Meeting Cancelled…Again
This is becoming a habit. Why does the City of Eureka struggle so much to maintain a functioning commission meant to consider its many pressing transportation issues?

Applications Due for Measure Z Oversight Committee
The deadline is next week for citizens interested in serving on the committee. Funds from this half-cent Humboldt County sales tax have often been allocated to road repair and maintenance projects in recent years.

HCAOG Board Looks to Committee Changes for Unmet Transit Needs
The Social Service Transportation Advisory Council (SSTAC) advises the Humboldt County Association of Governments on the annual task of assessing local unmet transit needs. Staff are recommending a few changes to the SSTAC, including adding a seat for CRTP. (We’ll be proud to participate in this important process!) Also on next week’s HCAOG Board agenda: An update from Caltrans on the long-running Last Chance Grade project.

Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
Yup, there’s a sidewalk somewhere between those brambles and that sign post. Just not a very usable one. Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

 

At Long Last, New CEQA Transportation Rules Are Final!
Five years after the law mandating the changes, the state has finally adopted new CEQA guidelines which prohibit consideration of traffic delays as an environmental impact. We’d like to say that’s the last we’ll see of the outmoded “Level of Service” concept in this state. But sadly, reactions to the new rules indicate that many planners and engineers will resist changing as long as they can.

On Congestion Pricing & Inequity in the Transportation System
A cogent and thought-provoking commentary.


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.

Bay Trail Funding on the Way

The Collector

January 4, 2019


$13.3 Million in State Grant Funds Recommended for Bay Trail Completion
California Transportation Commission staff recently released the latest list of recommended grant awards through the state’s Active Transportation Program, and Humboldt County’s Bay Trail project was near the top of the list. This funding would keep the region on track for a completed Bay Trail by 2021 or 2022. The CTC will vote on the recommendations at its January 31st meeting.

January Edition of “Wheel People” Released
Check out the latest from our friends at the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association. It’s always a good read!

CHP Cracks Down on Speeding for the Holidays
One wonders what the enforcement policy is for the rest of the year.

Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
Actually, this is less of an obstruction and more of a phenomenon we call the “crosswalk to nowhere” – a crosswalk that connects to a sidewalk on one side, but on the other side, the pedestrian infrastructure just ends. This one is on School Road in McKinleyville. Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Trucker Deaths on the Rise
Big rig drivers are dying in larger numbers. What’s the cause, and what can be done about it?

Elon Musk’s Newest Project is Boring Tunnels Under Los Angeles for Cars
As one of CRTP’s Board members commented, “There are already tunnels under cities that ease traffic – they’re called subways and they move millions without cars.”

State Gives Grants for “Transformative Climate Communities”
Sacramento and Pacoima got funding from the Strategic Growth Council for sustainable community development projects aimed at increasing climate resilience.


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.