Highway Expansion Projects Rear Their Ugly Heads Again

The Collector

December 1, 2023

Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Arcata?
At a joint study session this week, the Arcata City Council and Planning Commission expressed strong support for many of CRTP’s policy priorities, including better parking policies and safe, slow streets. They also supported building protected bike lanes (our region doesn’t have any yet), and were specifically excited about the idea of replacing one car lane each on G and H Streets with protected bike lanes. Currently this is just a concept, and no specific project has been proposed. But we are excited to see broad support for such significant bike safety improvements, and we look forward to helping make this happen in the future.

Highway Expansion Projects Rear Their Ugly Heads – Again
Next week, the California Transportation Commission is slated to authorize, yet again, state funds to be spent on the Highway 101 expansion in Richardson Grove State Park, as well as the expansion of Highways 197 and 199 in the Smith River Canyon. Together, these projects now have an estimated price tag of more than $73 million. Their sole purpose is to provide access for the biggest interstate-sized trucks – access those trucks already have to our region via Highway 299 from the east and Highway 101 from the north.

It is galling that Caltrans continues to propose spending huge sums of money on highway expansion projects in the midst of a climate crisis and a transportation safety crisis. These projects were a bad idea when they were first proposed well over a decade ago, and they’re an even worse idea now. If Caltrans is serious about its purported new priorities of safe streets and multimodal transportation, it should abandon these outdated, destructive projects once and for all and reallocate the funding. Those $73 million dollars could go a long way toward making state highways safer for people walking, biking, rolling, riding the bus and driving in local communities.

CRTP Seeking Board Members
Are you passionate and knowledgeable about safe, equitable and sustainable transportation on the North Coast? Want to get more involved? Joining CRTP’s Board of Directors could be the next step for you. Click here for more information about applying to join the Board.

New State Laws Affect Transportation and Housing
Listen to the EcoNews Report for information about a few of the recent laws coming out of Sacramento that will affect us here on the North Coast, including a new law that prohibits parking near crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety and another that mandates a study of the safety impacts of big trucks and SUVs.

Street Story: A Simple Way to Contribute to the Fight for Safe Streets
Reports on Street Story only take a few minutes, and they give CRTP and local government agencies 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

American Drivers Speed. A Lot.
Speeding is one of the most dangerous things an average person can do in their daily life. But a new survey shows that many drivers don’t understand the danger, and openly admit to doing it.

New Federal Rule on Transportation Emissions
A new rule will require state transportation departments to track how their projects affect climate pollution, and set targets to reduce emissions. There won’t be any penalties if they fail, though.

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.