More Than a Quarter of Downtown Arcata is Covered by Parking Lots

The Collector

January 19, 2024

More Than a Quarter of Downtown Arcata is Covered by Parking Lots
Following up on our analysis of parking lots in downtown Eureka last summer, CRTP this week released an analysis of off-street parking in downtown Arcata. While Arcata’s downtown has less land devoted to car storage than Eureka’s, there is still more than a quarter of developable land covered by parking lots – and that doesn’t include on-street parking or garages. This is another clear demonstration of the priority that local communities have historically given to cars over other modes of transportation. But it also suggests that if we want to produce more housing and prioritize walking, biking and public transit, there are lots of opportunities for good infill development. Read more and explore the map here.

Thankfully, local planners are starting to take steps to avoid making this problem even worse. Thanks to CRTP’s advocacy, Arcata’s General Plan update proposes eliminating outdated mandates for developers to add large amounts of additional parking with every new project. And this week, the Humboldt County Association of Governments designated 6 “major transit stops,” mostly in Eureka and Arcata, invoking a 2022 state parking reform law. New housing and other projects within a half mile of these stops will no longer be subject to any remaining local parking mandates, allowing more affordable and environmentally friendly development.

Let Eureka Officials Know What You Think Should Be Done on the Jacobs Property
Make no mistake, the recent shady property “swap” involving Eureka’s former Jacobs school campus is almost certainly related to the efforts of Rob Arkley and his cronies to mislead voters into approving their anti-housing measure in November. But hopefully Eureka voters will not be fooled, the ballot measure will fail, and the Jacobs property will remain in private hands. That private ownership makes the property newly subject to the city’s zoning rules, which is why you might want to attend next Tuesday’s town hall meeting to tell city officials what you think they should plan for on the site. We think a good idea would be affordable housing with bike, pedestrian and transit upgrades, just like the city is promoting downtown.

In other Eureka news, the city recently secured funding to spruce up one of its waterfront parks. We’re particularly excited that the project includes much-needed rehabilitation of the waterfront trail from the Adorni Center to the Samoa Bridge. Hopefully this will make the trail more usable and comfortable for commuters and recreational riders alike.

New Express Bus Service from Eureka to Ukiah
This week, the Humboldt Transit Authority started running the new daily Redwood Coast Express bus, with stops in Eureka, Fortuna, Garberville, Leggett, Laytonville, Willits and Ukiah. The service is designed to allow riders to transfer to other local transit services serving Del Norte, Lake and Mendocino Counties, filling in some of the major gaps in regional transit connectivity. And the trip from Eureka all the way to Ukiah only costs $2!

Transportation Is a Health Issue
Humboldt County and other rural areas experience higher than average rates of death, injury and illness in almost every category. Two of the many reasons for this disparity are inadequate access to reliable transportation and a landscape that fails to provide opportunities and encouragement for physical activity – in other words, a lack of walkable and bikeable neighborhoods. This is a good reminder that investments in public transit, walkable housing, and safe streets don’t just benefit the climate and local economies – they are also investments in public health.

That’s one reason we’re excited to see small communities like Rio Dell upgrading their pedestrian infrastructure. Next week, the California Transportation Commission is slated to approve funding for the city’s Neighborhood Pedestrian Connectivity Project, and we applaud Rio Dell officials for taking this initiative to improve their community and invest in their residents.

Arcata Committee Will Review Street Story Reports
Arcata’s Transportation Safety Committee recently decided to review Street Story reports on a quarterly basis and use the information to make recommendations for safety improvements. This is a great example of the importance of making reports on Street Story! Make a report every time you experience a near-miss, a crash, or a hazardous location – or report a place you feel safe. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí. 

News from Beyond the North Coast

California Transportation Budget Should Prioritize People, Not Cars
CalBike recently launched a campaign for the state to re-prioritize transportation spending in order to reduce driving and increase safe, healthy, climate-friendly options. In related news, states including California are preparing to implement a new federal rule that requires reporting on the climate impacts of transportation spending. Click here to tell Governor Newsom to set ambitious targets and ensure honest emissions reporting.

Other Sectors Make Climate Progress, But Transportation Emissions Are Up
A new analysis suggests that the transportation sector may be responsible for 40% of all US climate-harming emissions, when the impacts of car and truck manufacturing are included. And the problem keeps getting worse. Two trends are exacerbating the problem: more driving (and more air travel), and ever-bigger cars, trucks and SUVs.

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