Mark Your Calendar for the National Week Without Driving

The Collector

August 25, 2023

Mark Your Calendar for the National Week Without Driving
Decision makers often assume that everybody drives a car, but the truth is that about 30% of Americans can’t drive because they are too young or too old, have a disability, or can’t afford a car. In 2021 and 2022, leaders in Washington state participated in a Week Without Driving to gain some insight into the experiences of people who can’t drive. This year, organizations from across the country are hosting the first National Week Without Driving from October 2-8, 2023. Here on the North Coast, it’s hosted by CRTP.

Anyone can take the Week Without Driving pledge, but we are specifically asking elected and appointed officials, planners and engineers to participate. That’s because it’s particularly important for people who make decisions about the transportation system to understand what it’s like for people who can’t drive. If you are an elected official or a professional who works on transportation or land use issues, please mark your calendar and take the pledge today.

A Win and a Block for the Gateway Plan
The Arcata City Council nixed the idea of a K and L Street couplet this week, and directed staff to come back with new plans to redesign K and 11th Streets for bike and pedestrian safety. This prioritization of safety on K and 11th Streets is exactly what we’ve been asking for, so we consider this a win. Thanks to the Council for moving it forward, and thanks to our supporters for all the comments you submitted on this topic!

On the other big Gateway Plan topic of discussion, progress was harder to find. As outlined in comments submitted shortly before the meeting, 2 of the 3 Councilmembers eligible to vote on the Gateway Plan support allowing taller buildings, which we have long pointed out are needed for walkable development. However, the third Councilmember actually proposed decreasing building heights from what is currently allowed, which would be a major step backwards. Because of a quirk of state law, all 3 Councilmembers have to vote yes on the final plan, so one “no” vote can effectively block it. Because denser development is key to the Gateway Plan’s success, this week’s Council discussion puts the future of the plan in serious question.

Plans Make Progress in McKinleyville
The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee this week seemed to move toward majority support for a much-needed lane reduction and redesign of Central Avenue, after more than a year of stalemate on the issue. Committee members also reaffirmed their support for eliminating costly parking mandates from the Town Center plan, a positive step that helps clear the way for walkable development.

Also this week, the Board of Supervisors took the first step toward a required environmental review for the Town Center ordinance, and accepted a report recommending significant bike and pedestrian safety improvements throughout McKinleyville. Our region’s third largest community – long characterized by a sprawling, car-dominated suburban form – is finally taking real steps toward transportation safety and climate-friendly planning!

Eureka Bike Plan Survey Still Available
If you haven’t filled out the survey yet, please do it today! Your input will help inform plans for the city’s future bike network.

Si aún no ha completado la encuesta del plan de bicicletas de Eureka, ¡hágalo hoy! Su opinión ayudará a informar los planes para la futura red de bicicletas de la ciudad. Haga clic aquí para ver la encuesta.

While we’re talking about Eureka: don’t forget to tell your friends and neighbors not to sign that anti-housing, anti-transit, anti-walkability petition that’s going around!

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

File This Under “Unpopular But True”
Researchers have analyzed more data, and come to the same conclusion: You can’t get people to drive less just by making it nicer to walk, bike or ride the bus. You also have to make it less pleasant to drive.

Can A New Program Help Smaller Communities Get Federal Funds?
Unprecedented amounts of money are coming from the federal government to support bike and pedestrian infrastructure and public transit, thanks to the recent infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act. But small communities have historically struggled to access federal money, due in part to complex bureaucratic requirements.

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