Draft Plans for Eureka’s Coastal Areas Now Available

The Collector

June 30, 2023

Draft Plans for Eureka’s Coastal Areas Now Available
The Coastal Land Use Plan covers the city’s entire coastal zone, while the Waterfront Specific Plan focuses on Old Town, the Library district and surrounding areas. Both draft plans are now available for review, and the city is accepting public comment.

CRTP is excited that the city is finally modernizing coastal zoning rules, many of which have remained basically unchanged since the 1960s. The new rules go a long way toward encouraging denser, more walkable development and planning better bike and pedestrian infrastructure. However, we think some improvements could still be made, like eliminating counterproductive and costly parking mandates, providing more protected bike lanes, and acknowledging the importance of public transit service in the area. Check out the links above to read the draft plans and provide your own comments today!

Commission Recommends Improvements to Gateway Zoning Code
This week, the Arcata Planning Commission weighed in on aspects of the proposed zoning code for the Gateway Area and recommended improvements. Several of the proposed changes come in response to education and advocacy from CRTP and our members and supporters.

Recommendations from the Commission included the removal of remaining car parking mandates, higher standards for long-term bike parking, and an increase in minimum building height to three stories (more density supports walkability and transit). These are big improvements to what was already a very strong code, and we’re excited about the progress! The Commission will forward their entire package of recommendations, developed over the last year and a half, to the City Council on July 11, but will likely continue discussing the Gateway plan and zoning code long after that.

Unmet Transit Needs in Del Norte County
This week, the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission concluded that there are real unmet transit needs in the county, including non-emergency medical transportation and significant bus stop upgrades, but there’s no money to meet those needs. This annual, state-mandated assessment process consistently highlights the need for greater investment in transit, both to better serve people who currently rely on it and to attract new riders. Increased transit ridership is a key strategy for fighting climate change, supporting economic development and increasing equity.

Caltrans Finally Agrees to Street Trees in Eureka
The volunteer group Keep Eureka Beautiful has long wanted to plant street trees on 4th and 5th Streets – part of Highway 101 – but had been stymied for years by bureaucratic wrangling with Caltrans and the city. Now the trees are finally being planted! When well selected and well placed, street trees can help create a more welcoming pedestrian environment and slow down traffic, increasing safety and comfort for everyone.

Street Story Reports Help Us Advocate for Safer Streets
When we are advocating to improve a plan or project, we frequently look at the Street Story map to see what people have reported. Your reports give us better information about the need for safety improvements! So don’t forget to make a report every time you experience a near-miss, a crash, or a hazardous location. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí. 

News from Beyond the North Coast

State Budget Avoids Fiscal Cliff for Transit Agencies
A $5.1 billion package should prevent immediate service cuts, but more sustainable investments will eventually be needed. Meanwhile, the budget negotiations also produced a package of bills aimed at streamlining approval of big infrastructure projects, including transportation infrastructure. While we applaud efforts to prevent bogus lawsuits of the type that have often been filed against projects like bike lanes and public transit improvements, we are concerned that the new laws could also help expedite old-fashioned, destructive highway projects.

Let’s Build Some More Housing on Strip Malls and Parking Lots
Tomorrow (July 1), new state laws will take effect to allow new housing to be built on commercially zoned land. In our region, CRTP has its eye on a number of huge, underutilized, commercially zoned parking lots in prime, walkable locations. We hope the owners of these properties see this as the opportunity it is and start preparing their plans!

Most People Know Wider Roads Don’t Actually Relieve Congestion
A new study shows that most of the public understands and accepts the well-documented phenomenon of “induced demand” – i.e., the idea that building more roads and more lanes just causes people to drive more. So why do transportation officials keep widening highways and promising congestion relief?

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.