January 27, 2023
Community Workshop on Public Transit Next Week
Every five years, local agencies develop a Transit Development Plan that analyzes the current state of the local transit system and proposes improvements. This process is currently under way in Humboldt County. Next Wednesday at 2 pm there will be a workshop to get public input on the plan’s development. You can find out more and read a lengthy memo about the current transit system by clicking here. Getting more people to ride the bus in the next five years will be critically important for local efforts to fight climate change and improve public health and safety, so this plan is really important!
Change is Coming to Arcata…
…and this time we’re not even talking about the Gateway Plan. Cal Poly Humboldt just announced that it will break ground soon on a 964-bed student housing project at the old Craftsman Mall site. The new buildings, which will reach 7 stories at their tallest point, will provide much-needed housing in a location that is walkable to both the university and downtown. CRTP supports the project, and we’re happy to note that our comments resulted in a commitment to build an additional bike connection to the project on St. Louis Road.
Also this week, the Arcata City Council approved tentative plans for the redesign of a few blocks of 8th and 9th Streets, which will result in significantly more street space being allocated to people walking, biking, and rolling. Hopefully this is a sign of bigger things to come!
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Latest McKinleyville Town Center Plans
This Wednesday, the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee continued its years-long review of plans to develop a town center in the traditionally sprawl-dominated community. A town center ordinance seems to be nearing completion, with a goal set to begin the environmental review process by the end of February. The draft ordinance explicitly prioritizes walkability and promotes denser, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development – all of which represents real progress when compared to McKinleyville’s current development patterns. But the plan still has some major weaknesses, including outdated and expensive car parking mandates that will hamstring anyone trying to actually create a walkable development, and a failure to commit to the desperately needed road diet on Central Avenue. If you want to weigh in, there’s still time. You can find instructions for submitting comments on the County website.
Humboldt Bay Trail One Step Closer to Completion
County supervisors approved construction plans for the final 4 miles connecting Arcata and Eureka, and officials expect construction to begin in May. When completed, the long-planned trail will finally provide a safe and comfortable connection for walking, biking and rolling between our region’s two largest population centers.
In another major sign of progress this week, the supervisors finally removed support for the Richardson Grove highway expansion project from their official legislative platform. CRTP has opposed this project since our founding in 2015. It represents an outdated commitment to designing roads for the largest fossil-powered vehicles at a time when we should be spending our limited transportation dollars on designing roads for safe, low-carbon modes of transportation. We have asked the supervisors to remove the project from their legislative platform many times over the years, and we are pleased they finally did.
Make reporting on Street Story part of your routine.
If you’re out walking, biking, or rolling on local streets, you see hazards and experience near-misses pretty regularly, maybe even every day. Make it a habit to report those things on Street Story. Your reports help us advocate for safer streets, and help government agencies get funding for improvements. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.
News from Beyond the North Coast
How Do We Prevent Lithium from Becoming the New Oil?
New research makes clear that if we rely solely on electric vehicles to reduce transportation emissions, there will be massive environmental and public health impacts from a hugely expanded lithium battery industry. But the research also shows we can avoid most of these impacts by instead promoting denser development and improving public transit, walkability and bikeability.
Fight Continues Over Transportation Priorities in Washington
Republicans are mad about the Biden administration’s attempts to prioritize spending federal transportation dollars on maintenance and multimodal projects instead of building new highways. The results of this fight could have a huge impact on the country’s future transportation system.
“Sharrows Are Bulls**t”
California bike advocates officially disavow “share the road” markings, which do nothing to increase safety and are generally ignored by drivers.
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 email@example.com.