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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! You can submit items for consideration, or just enjoy the news collection!

Final Votes Next Week for Arcata General Plan & Gateway Plan

The Collector

July 12, 2024


Next Wednesday, the Arcata City Council is scheduled to take its final votes on the city’s updated General Plan, along with the Gateway Plan and Gateway zoning code. If you’ve been reading CRTP’s emails over the last few years, you know what a big deal this is. By adopting robust parking reforms, modernized design guidelines, and streamlined approval processes, these new documents will make it much easier to build walkable, affordable, transit-supportive housing in our town. They also significantly strengthen the city’s commitment to transportation safety, equity and sustainability.
Adoption of these plans will mark a significant milestone in the city’s efforts to fight climate change and build a healthier and more equitable community. Since the Councilmembers have already reviewed the documents and had the opportunity to request changes, we have high hopes that the plans will be adopted. But it’s not a sure thing! If you’re available next Wednesday evening, please attend the meeting to voice your support; otherwise, we encourage you to contact the City Council with your support before the meeting.
Humboldt County has been talking about a new sales tax measure aimed mostly at road maintenance for over a year, and CRTP has been advocating since the beginning for transit funding to be included. Local transit funding is critical because, just as the county has been saying about roads, state transit funding is never enough to support a high quality system and is subject to the whims of state officials. But the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to finalize the tax measure in less than two weeks, and despite our efforts, the county’s public messages about the tax so far have offered little more than lip service to public transit. So CRTP and our allies from EPIC, RCCER, the NEC and 350 Humboldt put out a clear public message this week: a tax that funds roads but not public transit would be neither fair nor climate-friendly, and we can’t accept that.
CRTP knows that bike and pedestrian safety can be a particular challenge in tribal communities. The recent national Dangerous by Design report showed that Native communities have the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities compared to any other racial/ethnic group. We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that that the Street Story tool has been adapted to be used in and by tribal communities in California. When choosing an area you would like to make a report, you can click “tribal” and select which tribal community you would like to report in. Street Story provides the opportunity for tribal communities to have an active voice in the safety of their streets and the people on them.
A screen shot shows a report of a biking hazard on Highway 96 in the Hoopa Valley Reservation. The narrative reads: "There are no shoulders and drivers cannot see bicyclists because the road is curved and in a cut."  A screen shot from a Street Story form shows a drop down menu of California tribes in alphabetical order.
Eureka’s Design Review Committee is supposed to review the aesthetic qualities of new development. Parking is not in their jurisdiction. But at a meeting this week, it was clear that if they had been allowed to, members of the committee would have required a new senior housing project to build more parking, possibly in the form of an underground garage. A few years ago, the city might very well have imposed such a requirement. And since building underground parking can add $50,000 or more to the cost of each apartment, such a requirement would have killed the project and prevented 44 much-needed affordable senior apartments from being built. Thankfully, state and local laws now prevent the city and its committees from imposing such outrageous parking mandates for a project like this.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Active Transportation Program Funding Still Facing Steep Cuts
Until recently, due to state budget cuts, California’s main program for bike and pedestrian infrastructure was slated to have its funding almost eliminated for the next two years. Thankfully, $200 million was restored in the final budget. But that still leaves the program $400 million short, and even when fully funded, it was never enough to meet statewide needs. Nevertheless, next week, you can weigh in at a public workshop on how the limited funds should be spent.

More on the Caltrans Complete Streets Bill
As we reported last week, SB 960 was substantially weakened by the Assembly Transportation Committee. But our friends at CalBike point out that the bill would still represent some progress toward safer state highways, and still faces an uncertain future. You can find out more and take action here.


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.

 

 

All About Highway 255

The Collector

July 5, 2024


State Route 255 connects Eureka and Arcata via the Samoa Peninsula. For most of its length, it is a high-speed, two-lane highway with no bike or pedestrian facilities. It divides the community of Manila in two and acts as a main street (Samoa Boulevard) in Arcata.
Caltrans is now developing a new State Route 255 Corridor Management Plan, which will lay out a new vision for the road. You can provide your input by filling out their survey, which is open until July 11th. CRTP is advocating for safe bike and pedestrian paths to be added along the entire length of the route, as well as new designs to slow traffic and allow for safer crossings both in Manila and Arcata.
At the same time, the City of Arcata is developing a plan for its end of State Route 255. This project is intended to address the long-standing need for safe bike and pedestrian facilities on the State Route 255/Highway 101 interchange, which currently acts as a barrier for people walking, rolling or biking between Sunny Brae and the rest of Arcata. The city will also consider new designs for the rest of Samoa Boulevard (255 within Arcata city limits) and south G Street. You can provide your input via a survey and interactive map on the city’s website.
And don’t forget to make your reports on Street Story, too! Both Caltrans and the city of Arcata refer to Street Story reports when developing these plans, and CRTP uses them in our advocacy as well. Many bicyclists and pedestrians have already reported the risky situations they have faced on this road to Street Story, and we know there are many more out there. To make a report on Street Story today click here.  Haga clic aquí para hacer un informe en español.
A wide expanse of asphalt at the intersection of State Route 255 (Samoa Blvd) and G Street in Arcata, on a cloudy day
Arkley-Backed Group Threatens Litigation Against Transit Center
CRTP has learned that “Citizens for a Better Eureka” (CBE) sent the Eureka City Council a letter alleging that the Council’s recent approval of a development agreement for the Eureka Regional Transit and Housing Center (EaRTH Center) violates city policy. That means that CBE, a group funded by conservative businessman Rob Arkley, is threatening to file yet another lawsuit against the city of Eureka – this time specifically targeting much-needed transit improvements. The EaRTH Center is a key part of transit improvement plans for Eureka and the broader region. Litigation and other threats, like the anti-housing ballot initiative paid for by Security National, put at risk these investments in our community.
In its latest letter, CBE is claiming to be concerned about the city’s process for awarding development agreements. In other lawsuits, they claim to be concerned about environmental impacts. The same group of people is promoting a ballot measure that they say is about housing in another part of town. But nobody is fooled by all the mixed messages and slick advertising. We all know this is just Rob Arkley and his pals trying to block walkable, affordable homes and transit improvements. And we won’t stand for it.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Caltrans Complete Streets Bill Gutted
We are deeply disappointed to report that SB 960 – the bill that was intended to add new accountability for Caltrans to include safe and effective facilities for walking, biking, rolling and public transit on state highways – has been weakened to the point that it makes only minimal changes to current policy. The Assembly Transportation Committee removed the bill’s strongest parts and added huge loopholes, all at the request of Caltrans itself. If Caltrans is already committed to safety for all road users, as it claims, why is the agency putting up so much opposition to being held accountable to that commitment?

Hawaiian Youth Win Landmark Commitment to a Climate-Safe Transportation System
Hawaii settled a lawsuit brought by young people who argued that the state’s carbon-intensive, highway-focused transportation system represents a major threat to their future health and welfare. As part of the settlement, Hawaii agreed to transition to a zero-emission transportation system across all modes by 2045, including the construction of bike, pedestrian and transit networks on each island. This is truly a historic win for younger generations, for the climate, and for the health and safety of Hawaiians.

Congress to Investigate the Safety Impacts of Massive Cars & SUVs
At the request of Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, the Government Accountability Office has opened an investigation into the impacts of bigger and bigger vehicles – and the government’s failure to regulate them properly – on the safety of people walking and biking. The news comes as pedestrian deaths remain near historic highs nationally, and advocates are calling on the US Surgeon General to treat car crashes as a public health emergency.


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.

 

 

Arcata Gets Grant to Support Infill Housing

The Collector

June 28, 2024


Unfortunately, the language is still complicated and difficult to understand. If you’re a Eureka voter, here’s what you need to know: The ballot measure is an attempt by conservative mogul Rob Arkley and his pals to block the development of affordable, walkable downtown housing, as well as a much-needed transit center, by imposing the impossible (and completely unnecessary) mandate that existing parking lots must be preserved and a bunch of additional parking must also be built. The other part of the measure, which concerns a proposed rezoning of the Jacobs site to allow a variety of uses, is a red herring, since the city has no power to require housing development on the site. The measure might be confusing when you see it on the ballot, but we hope the decision to vote no is obvious.
Last week, we reported on the California Transportation Commission allocating funds for a project that includes 2 miles of bike lanes on Myrtle Avenue between Pigeon Point Road and Freshwater Road. We also reported on Myrtle Ave in our recent Street Story analysis on all of the data in Humboldt County. Are there any experiences or hazards you have noticed while on Myrtle Avenue? Report them on Street Story! Haga clic aquí para hacer un informe en español.
Here are a couple of highlighted narratives about Myrtle Avenue from your fellow Street Story reporters:
“Speed limit is too high. There is barely a shoulder, no bike lane, no lights. People pass on the wrong side of the road, cross double lines into oncoming traffic.”
 
“Sidewalk on the south side of the street unexpectedly ends with no nearby safe place to cross to the sidewalk on the other side. Overgrown vegetation stops me from being able to walk on grass for that stretch.”
The funding will help the city develop new zoning rules to encourage development in “infill opportunity” neighborhoods, as well as supporting new accessory dwelling units citywide. CRTP is excited that the city will continue to promote denser housing that will support higher quality public transit and also allow people to walk or bike to jobs, schools and other key destinations.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Speak Up (Again) for the Caltrans Complete Streets Bill
Thanks to support from advocates like you, SB 960 made it out of the state Senate. Next week, it faces another key vote in the Assembly Transportation Committee. If passed, this bill would require Caltrans to provide needed bike, pedestrian and transit facilities on state highways. In our region, where many state highways act as community main streets, the bill could have a transformative effect.

How Much Bike Parking Should New Buildings Provide?
The California Building Code is being updated to increase requirements for bike parking in new residential and commercial buildings. Adequate bike parking is a crucial but over overlooked necessity to allow more biking. If you have opinions about how much bike parking – and what kind – should be required, CalBike has instructions for submitting your comments.

California is the Eighth Most Dangerous State for Pedestrians
That’s just one of the important findings of the most recent Dangerous by Design report from Smart Growth America.


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.

 

 

Parking on the Ballot and on the Street

The Collector

June 21, 2024


The Juneteenth Day Festival sponsored by Black Humboldt and other local organizations is taking place in Eureka’s Halvorsen Park this Saturday starting at noon. Interested bicyclists can meet at 11:30 am at the Jefferson Community Center, where Moon Cycles will help with bike preparations prior to a quick ride over to the main event. This ride is also co-sponsored by the Northcoast Environmental Center and CRTP. And if you can’t make it to Eureka on your bike, check out the bus schedules to see if you can get to the festival by transit!
This week the Eureka City Council discussed how exactly November’s ballot should describe the contents of the Arkley-funded, anti-housing, anti-transit, pro-parking initiative. Needless to say, we agree with those Councilmembers who feel it is important to clearly and accurately state that the main impact would be to require the preservation of all existing downtown public parking – at the expense of building more walkable housing and transit facilities.
Meanwhile, Eureka has started enforcing downtown parking rules again. Nobody likes parking tickets, but it is important to ensure drivers abide by metering and time limit rules to allow more efficient use of public parking – partly because more efficient parking management helps reduce the perceived need for building even more spaces.
Next week, the California Transportation Commission is slated to allocate funds for a project that includes 2 miles of bike lanes on Myrtle Avenue between Pigeon Point Road and Freshwater Road. We haven’t seen the plans, but we hope the new lanes will be wide enough to provide some additional safety and comfort for the many people who bike on this road – although we know that for a road where people drive so fast, what’s really needed is a buffer and some kind of physical barrier to protect bicyclists.
After recently voting to recommend that the City Council adopt the city’s General Plan updates and Gateway Area Plan, the Commission is scheduled to vote next Tuesday on a recommendation on the Gateway zoning code. Since the zoning code implements the Gateway Plan, and the Commissioners have already spent many meetings reviewing it, we expect that they will recommend the City Council adopt the zoning code as well. The Council itself is scheduled to vote on the General Plan updates and both the Gateway plan and zoning code on July 17th.
Humboldt County planning staff have released the latest draft of their new ordinance to allow the construction of “tiny house villages,” which ideally would provide a flexible and affordable new form of housing. Unfortunately, the proposed requirement to provide a parking space for every tiny house would drive up costs and result in more space devoted to parking lots than to housing. We appreciate that the latest draft includes some alternatives which would allow builders to provide less parking under certain circumstances. But the better path would be to remove the costly and unscientific parking mandates altogether and let builders and service providers figure out for themselves exactly how much parking they actually need – and can afford – for each project. The Humboldt County Planning Commission will be reviewing the new draft ordinance at its meeting next Thursday.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Long-Distance Driving is Not Inevitable for Rural Residents
Did you know that small-town residents in rural regions actually drive less than suburban residents in big metro areas? Check out this new video from Smart Growth America and AARP to find out more about the importance of complete streets and better land use planning in rural areas.

Non-Drivers Are Everywhere
Disability rights advocate Anna Zivarts points out that a third of Americans don’t have a driver’s license, and there are lots of reasons that people don’t – and often can’t – drive. Designing our streets and communities with non-drivers in mind makes them better places to live for everybody.


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.

 

 

Greyhound Ending North Coast Service

The Collector

June 14, 2024


Affordable Downtown Eureka Housing One Step Closer to Reality
Nonprofit affordable housing developer Linc Housing secured additional funding this week, bringing their three downtown projects closer to construction. The projects will replace underutilized parking lots and create much-needed affordable, walkable housing in an area served by both city and regional transit systems. We’re excited to see these projects nearing completion!

Greyhound Ending North Coast Service
CRTP has learned that Greyhound will be ending its route on the North Coast at the end of June, and will no longer provide its previous service between Arcata and San Francisco. We are deeply disappointed with the loss of this important regional bus service. But readers should know that Amtrak continues to provide a similar bus service, and the new Redwood Coast Express service from the Humboldt Transit Authority now allows riders to piece together a low-cost trip from Del Norte to the Bay Area on regional transit buses as well.

Ride Your Bike to the Oyster Festival!
CRTP will be providing our bike valet service at the Oyster Festival in Arcata this Saturday. Ride to the event, and we’ll watch your bike for you – you don’t even need to lock it up!

In our recent Street Story Data Analysis, Central Avenue in McKinleyville rightfully attracted significant attention. Reports indicate that crashes and near misses occur here regularly. Drivers are often reported coming off the freeway at fast speeds and continue in a similar manner down the length of Central, despite stoplights and high traffic. Bicyclists report narrow shoulders near the freeway and not feeling safe biking down Central even with a bike lane due to drivers speeding and high traffic. There are numerous recorded incidents of bicyclists and pedestrians being cut off by drivers who are either not paying attention or trying to get ahead of the non-car travelers. One highlighted report from Central Ave:
“I was bicycling southbound in the bike lane on Central Avenue when a vehicle crossed my path into a parking lot so close to me that I had to brake abruptly and went over the handlebars, injuring my hand and shoulder.”
 
Let us know your experiences on Central Avenue and other areas in Humboldt County on Street Story. Making a report is quick and easy!  Haga clic aquí para hacer un informe en español.
A wide expanse of Central Avenue asphalt is in the foreground, with a parking lot and sign for the McKinleyville Shopping Center behind
The driver was very seriously injured, but thankfully did not hit anybody else. This scary incident highlights the need for significant safety improvements on 11th Street, which along with K Street have been priorities for CRTP for the last few years. The city has recently taken up our idea of starting with near-term, “quick-build” safety improvements to these two streets, and we hope to see changes on the ground soon.
The battery failed while charging. While this may be a first for our area, cheap e-bike batteries have unfortunately caused a number of fires in other communities, almost always due a charging failure. This is a good reminder to only buy e-bikes with UL-listed batteries, and to follow all directions for use and charging. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority has information about what to look for in a quality e-bike on their rebate information page.
The tunnel will be the longest in California, and the biggest and most expensive infrastructure project on the North Coast in many years. It will also come with significant environmental impacts – although less significant than many of the other alternatives that were under consideration. CRTP will monitor the project as designs progress to ensure that there are safe facilities provided for bicyclists and other road users.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Does Jim Wood Think There’s No Transit on the North Coast?
Recently, some politicians have been fighting to exempt rural areas from requirements to assess the amount of driving caused by new development. This assessment has been part of the environmental review process for several years now, and is critical to advancing climate goals and reducing car dependence. But to hear some people talk about it, car-dependent development is the only option in vast swaths of the state. In a recent legislative hearing, the North Coast’s own Assemblymember Jim Wood apparently suggested – falsely – that there’s no point in measuring driving in his district, because there’s no public transit people could use instead.

Of course, there are many transit systems serving the North Coast, and we assume Wood knows that. Maybe the Assemblymember misspoke, or maybe he was misquoted. Either way, fighting to maintain the car-dependent status quo is a terrible idea. We hope that our representatives recognize the urgent need to develop more housing in areas that are served by the buses and bike lanes and sidewalks we have – and to put more funding toward improving those systems instead of pretending they don’t exist.

One Simple Trick for Lowering Car Insurance Rates
Make the streets safer! A new law in Wales lowering traffic speeds has had the result of not only reducing collisions, but also reducing auto insurance costs. Why couldn’t we do the same in this country?


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.

 

 

Ride the Bus for Free This Summer!

The Collector

June 7, 2024


Ride the Bus for Free This Summer!
The Arcata & Mad River Transit System is offering free rides for everyone for the whole month of June, and the entire Humboldt County bus system will be free on Thursday, June 20, for National Dump the Pump Day. Buses throughout the county are also free for kids under 18 and seniors 62 and over all summer (June, July and August). With all the free rides, this summer is a great opportunity for new riders to try out the bus!

While you’re riding, make sure to keep an eye out for anything to report on Street Story. Even as a passenger on the bus, the safety concerns you notice are well founded experiences worth reporting. Happy Street Story reporting! Haga clic aquí para hacer un informe en español.

A white, yellow and red Arcata & Mad River Transit System bus on the street in front of Arcata City Hall

Arcata City Council Moves on General Plan, Sunset Interchange, and Bikeshare
The Council this Wednesday held one last discussion of proposed General Plan updates before a scheduled vote on July 17th. While they didn’t request many amendments, one change they did make was disappointing: they watered down language that would allow the city to consider making the Plaza car-free in the future, and pushed consideration of that measure out years into the future. Campaigning for a reduced role for cars on the Arcata Plaza was one of CRTP’s first projects, and we think the Council’s decision to effectively freeze the Plaza’s streets in their current form for years to come is short-sighted. Nevertheless, the overall General Plan update still represents a major step forward for walking, biking and transit, with many strong, progressive policies on land use, parking reform, and street safety.

At the same meeting, the Council awarded a contract to an engineering firm to develop more specific plans for the proposed roundabouts at the Sunset Avenue/LK Wood interchange. These dangerous intersections are long overdue for a redesign, and it’s important that we get the new designs right. We are encouraged by the fact that Councilmembers and city staff expressed support for changes to the conceptual designs based on concerns raised by CRTP, including separating bike and pedestrian facilities, raising crosswalks to slow down traffic, and potentially eliminating dangerous slip lanes.

Also on Wednesday, the Council extended the contract for the city’s growing bikeshare system for another two years.

Eureka City Council Approves Danco Partnership for EaRTH Center
Local affordable housing developer Danco is now slated to build up to 99 affordable units on top of a ground-floor transit center in the heart of Eureka. CRTP is excited about the long-needed transit center, and about all of the new homes that will have such great access to transit! We hope the new agreement will allow the delayed project to move forward more quickly toward construction.


News from Beyond the North Coast

Safe Road Design Saves Lives!
A new international study confirms that following basic safety design principles for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists makes streets safer and has already saved hundreds of thousands of lives in communities around the globe. Safe streets advocates should take heart: our work is having a real and significant impact.

E-Bike Rebates Can Help People Drive Less!
In other exciting news, a new Canadian study documented that people who used a local rebate program to buy an e-bike in one local community decreased their driving by 30-40%. As one of the researchers noted: “Travel behaviour has a lot of inertia, it doesn’t change a lot…So when you find things that get it to the double-digits of shifts in travel behavior, it’s pretty remarkable.” Click here for information on our local e-bike rebate program.

New York Governor Cancels Congestion Pricing
Now for some bad news: The decades-long effort to charge cars entering the busiest parts of New York City and use the revenue to improve public transit (which is how most people in the city get around) saw a huge setback this week, with Governor Kathy Hochul effectively canceling the program less than a month before it was set to be implemented. Her decision is very bad news for advocates in many other US cities who have been hoping New York would set an example they could follow.


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.

 

 

Humboldt Trails Summit Tomorrow

The Collector

May 31, 2024


Humboldt Trails Summit Tomorrow
Our friends at the Humboldt Trails Council are holding their annual Trails Summit on Saturday in Eureka, and there will be lots of exciting trail news to talk about! For example, the long-awaited Humboldt Bay Trail connecting Arcata and Eureka is finally nearing completion, and the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan process is well under way. In fact, the public comment period on that draft Master Plan was recently extended, so you still have time to submit comments. You can check out CRTP’s comment letter here.

Arcata City Council Moves Gateway Plan Forward with Minimal Changes
At their meeting this week, Councilmembers only requested a few relatively minor edits to the Gateway Plan. The Council will continue to discuss details of the city’s broader General Plan update at a meeting next Wednesday. Then the General Plan, Gateway Area Plan and associated zoning code will all come to the Council for a vote on July 17th.

CRTP has been deeply engaged with this planning process for years, and we are extremely excited to see these great bike, pedestrian and transit-friendly plans finally move toward adoption. We are grateful to all of our members and supporters who sent in supportive comments to the Councilmembers, and especially to everyone who showed up at the Council meeting this week to voice support.

What’s the Street Story in Your School Zone?
Parents and caregivers who drive on campus and in neighborhoods near school can play an important role in enhancing safety near schools by following safe driving practices. At arrival and dismissal times, drivers are often in a hurry and distracted which can lead to unsafe conditions for students and others walking, bicycling and driving in the area. Whether you are driving, biking or walking your kids to school, Street Story is a useful tool to report these happenings! Children 13 year & older can independently make reports on Street Story and children 12 years old and younger can make reports with guardian supervision. Young people deserve have a voice in street safety advocacy too!  La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

Two young people, seen from behind with backpacks, use a crosswalk and smile at each other

Driver Strikes & Kills David Sprague, 66, in Eureka
After hitting Sprague, the driver apparently continued to speed down the street, striking several vehicles and a building and sending more people to the hospital. Our thoughts are with Sprague’s family and friends, and with the other victims.

Because this happened on I Street, which very recently underwent a long-awaited lane reduction and other bike and pedestrian safety improvements, some may be tempted to say that the safety project was unsuccessful or even counterproductive. But that’s the wrong conclusion to draw from this tragedy. Pedestrian deaths in Eureka are infuriatingly common, and the recent improvements, from bulb-outs to buffered bike lanes, are proven to improve safety. It’s even possible that they kept the results of this incident from being even worse.

What is clear, however, is that these improvements were not enough. An event like this is another tragic reminder of the need for actual physical protection for bike and pedestrian facilities, for even more effective traffic calming interventions – and for much stricter requirements for the safe design of vehicles.

Eureka City Council to Consider Changes to EaRTH Center Project
The ground floor of the new building will remain a transit center. However, it now appears that upper floors will host additional affordable housing built by local developer Danco, after previous partners including Cal Poly Humboldt dropped out of the project. The potential for even more – and more affordable – housing units above the transit center only makes this project more exciting from our perspective. The City Council will consider approving an environmental exemption and the Danco partnership at its meeting next Tuesday.


News from Beyond the North Coast

US Streets Just Keep Getting More Dangerous for Pedestrians
The latest edition of Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design report is out, and the news is not good. In 2022, the last year for which there are complete data, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the US hit a forty-year high. Pedestrian deaths have increased 75% just since 2010, as bigger and more dangerous vehicles continue to flood US streets that are designed for speed over safety. And some communities – particularly those that are Native American, Black, or low-income – continue to be hit much harder than others.

Caltrans Complete Street Bill Makes It Through the Senate
SB 960 now moves on to the Assembly, where we hope it will also pass. If adopted into law, the bill would increase requirements for Caltrans to include bike, pedestrian and transit facilities in projects on state highways in local communities. Check out CalBike’s legislative summary for information about the recent progress of this and other important transportation-related bills.

Legislature Looks to Restore Bike & Pedestrian Funding
Governor Newsom had proposed completely eliminating the next two years’ budget for the state’s main funding program for bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Thankfully, the legislature’s budget restores the Active Transportation Program’s funding with money from the State Highway Account. We deeply hope that the legislature wins this fight.


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.

 

 

Arcata’s Gateway Plan Enters the Final Stretch

The Collector

May 10, 2024

Editor’s Note: The Collector will be on a break for the next two weeks, but never fear – we will be back bringing you local transportation news before you know it!


Arcata’s Gateway Plan Enters the Final Stretch
Next Tuesday, the Arcata Planning Commission will consider a final recommendation to City Council on the Gateway Area Plan, the rest of the General Plan updates, and the Gateway zoning code. Two weeks later, on May 29th, the City Council is expected to make its final decision. It’s been two and a half long years since the first draft of the Gateway Plan was published. As we’ve said many times, this is the most bike and pedestrian friendly land use plan yet proposed in our region, and many of its best policies have now been incorporated into the General Plan to apply citywide.

Over the long term, these plans and policies will encourage the development of more walkable, vibrant neighborhoods at densities that can support high-quality public transit. We’re very excited at the prospect of the Gateway Plan and zoning code and the updated General Plan finally being adopted. We encourage CRTP’s members and supporters to express their support to the Planning Commission and City Council.

Delays for Arcata Trail & Eureka Bike Boulevard
Next week, the cities of Eureka and Arcata are requesting one-year funding extensions from the California Transportation Commission for two important local projects. In Eureka, the C Street Bike Boulevard is delayed due to an unexpected conflict with a PG&E power pole, and in Arcata, the Annie & Mary Trail project connecting the Sunset neighborhood near Cal Poly Humboldt with Valley West and points north is delayed due to funding changes and red tape. Both projects now have a construction deadline of June 2025.

The Arcata trail project is part of the much larger Great Redwood Trail, whose Master Plan is currently out for public review. If you want to learn more about the Great Redwood Trail, our allies at EPIC are holding a webinar next week. Click here for more information.

What Are Street Story Reports Telling Us in Humboldt County?
Find CRTP’s new Street Story data analysis, “What are Street Story Reports Telling Us in Humboldt County? An Analysis of Almost Five Years of Data”, on our website here. In this report we take a look into all of the Street Story data in Humboldt County up until March 25th, 2024. We focused our analysis on the county as a whole, but we also took a closer look at the trends in Eureka, Arcata, and unincorporated parts of the county which includes areas like McKinleyville and Bayside.

The report highlights many narratives from Street Story reports to give the reader direct insight into community members’ experiences. Street Stories provide robust and qualitative safety information that is not available from traditional data sources, such as police-reported crash data. The purpose of this report is to provide a rich examination of community reports from the Street Story tool, draw attention to the information in these reports, and spark further conversations about how to address the issues identified by Street Story users.

The more people use Street Story, the more powerful the platform becomes at supporting safer streets. Click here to make your Street Story report today! La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

A map shows reports of collisions (marked by red dots) and near-misses (marked by orange dots) throughout Humboldt County, concentrated around Humboldt Bay
Street Story crash and near-miss reports in Humboldt

Pedestrian Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver in Southern Humboldt
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of 28-year-old Dakota Stafslien. This is a tragic reminder that drivers must take great care and expect all kinds of road users, even on rural highways. Despite the lack of sidewalks or bike lanes, pedestrians and bicyclists often travel along or across these highways, sometimes because there is no other way to get where they need to go. This is especially true in places like Richardson Grove State Park, where this crash apparently occurred.

It’s Still Bike Month!
Events coming up in the next couple of weeks include bike to work days, a Eureka Mural Ride, and the big Bike Celebration at Eureka’s Jefferson Community Center on Saturday, May 18th. For a full list of events, check out the Bike Month calendar here.

Watch Our Parking Reform Webinar!
If you missed Monday’s webinar with Parking Reform Network President Tony Jordan, you still have a chance to learn some exciting information about parking policy, because we posted the video!

And if you want to apply what you learned in the webinar, a great opportunity is coming up next week. On Monday, there is a public workshop on Humboldt County’s proposed tiny house ordinance. You can attend and tell them to get rid of the costly and unscientific parking mandates that would effectively limit the number of affordable homes that could be built under the ordinance (and require more pavement than housing for a tiny house village).

A photo of Tony Jordan wearing a blue striped shirt, dark suit jacket and checked tie
Parking Reform Network President Tony Jordan

News from Beyond the North Coast

Advocates Ask Newsom to Release Transit Funding
Last year, transit agencies and supporters fought hard to get the state to provide desperately needed funding to keep buses and trains running throughout the state – and they won. The money was allocated, and transit agencies made their plans relying on it. Then, just over a week ago, the Newsom administration refused to release the funding by the April 30th deadline, citing the state’s budget shortfall. Without this funding, many transit agencies face the prospect of entering a “death spiral” of service cuts and declining ridership, leaving the state unable to meet its climate targets, and millions of transit riders stranded.

“When Driving Is Not an Option”
A new book by disability rights advocate Anna Zivarts explores the large population of people – even in the US, and even in rural areas – who cannot and do not drive, and discusses what can be done to design our streets and our communities for all people, not just 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 colin@transportationpriorities.org.

 

 

New Buffered Bike Lanes in Eureka

The Collector

May 3, 2024


Still Time to Register for Monday’s Parking Reform Webinar!
Monday at 5:30 pm, CRTP will be hosting a webinar featuring Tony Jordan, President of the Parking Reform Network. Tony is one of the most prominent speakers on parking reform in the US today, and we’re lucky to have him giving a talk for North Coast audiences. Join us to learn about “Revitalizing Space: The Hidden Potential of Parking Reform.” But be warned, once you see the truth about cheap and abundant parking, you’ll never be the same! Click here to register.

May Is Bike Month
It’s officially Bike Month, and as part of the Bike Month Humboldt Coalition, we’re celebrating with a lot of fun events. On Saturday (May 4th), you can participate in a Bike Rodeo and Clinic at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake. Then on Sunday (May 5th), CRTP will be leading a Street Story-themed ride, starting at 11 am in front of the Creamery Building in Arcata. And Wednesday (May 8th) is National Walk, Roll or Bike to School Day! Check out the whole Bike Month calendar here.

New Buffered Bike Lanes on H & I Streets in Eureka
At long last, the new buffered bike lanes have been painted on H & I Street, reducing the number of car lanes and creating a safer facility for people biking – and for everyone else too! CRTP and many others advocated for this project for years, and we’re very excited to see it finally completed. If you’ve got questions about how to drive with the new street design, the city has posted some helpful information.


Share Your Street Story About Broadway, Harris or Henderson Street!
The City of Eureka will be hosting a special meeting about the proposed Sunset Heights multi-family development on Broadway between Harris and Henderson, on Tuesday, May 7th at 5pm. Click here for more information about the meeting. Street safety has always been a major concern in this area, and CRTP has worked hard to advocate for improvements. One way you can contribute to the conversation is by making Street Story reports!

With this new development, many more people will be living in this area – meaning more people on the streets. The City of Eureka should know the street conditions for those walking, biking, and rolling. What has been your experience traveling in this area? How safe or unsafe do you feel on these streets? What improvements do you think could be helpful? La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

A map shows dots and lines indicating reports of crashes, near misses and hazards in the area of Broadway, Harris and Henderson Streets in Eureka


News from Beyond the North Coast

Intelligent Speed Assistance Bill Gutted
We reported last week that SB 961, which originally would have required active speed assistance on new cars in California, was amended to only require passive assistance. In other words, instead of a system that actually prevents dangerous speeding, the bill would only require a system that lets a driver know when they are speeding. Now further amendments have been made to specify that drivers will only get a “brief, one-time signal” when they exceed the speed limit by 10 mph – basically ensuring that the system is easy to ignore and therefore useless. We continue to be amazed at the insistence of many legislators on protecting what they apparently view as a right to break the law by speeding, and their refusal to require widely available, inexpensive technology which would save many lives.

Roads Are the Biggest Threat to Endangered Red Wolves
Cars and trucks are not only one of the leading causes of death for people – they are also one of the leading causes of death for animals. In some cases the death toll is so extreme that it can lead to extinction.


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.

 

Bike Month Starts Next Week!

The Collector

April 26, 2024


Bike Month Starts Next Week!
May is Bike Month, and as always the Bike Month Humboldt Coalition is coordinating a number of events including fun group rides and the annual Bike Celebration at Jefferson Community Center in Eureka. Next week’s events include a First Friday ride and a Bike Rodeo and Clinic at Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake on Saturday, May 4th. Then on Sunday, May 5th, CRTP will be leading a Street Story-themed ride, starting at 11 am in front of the Creamery Building in Arcata. Check out the whole Bike Month calendar here. And don’t forget to register for the Love to Ride challenge, where you can register your rides and encourage other people on their rides too!

Public Workshop Next Week on Arcata K & 11th Street Improvements
Next Thursday at 5:30 pm, the City of Arcata is hosting a workshop at Redwood Coast Montessori (793 K Street) to gather public input on safety improvements for K & 11th Streets. Prioritizing near-term safety improvements for bikes & pedestrians on these streets has been a core demand from CRTP for the last several years, and we’re glad to see the city responding. We have specifically called for a “quick build” strategy, which means low-cost, temporary changes that can improve safety almost immediately while funding and plans are refined for more permanent changes. The Planning Commission endorsed this idea at a recent meeting as well. (And non-Arcatans should note that quick-build isn’t just for Arcata: this week, the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee voted to support the concept of a quick-build overhaul of Hiller Road.)

K and 11th Streets are busy streets with frequently high-speed traffic. They have no bike facilities and are dangerous to cross while walking, biking or rolling. If you want to support near-term safety improvements on these streets, please come out next Thursday and show your support for meaningful quick-build changes as part of a longer term design overhaul. You can also provide input through the city’s survey, and of course you should keep making reports on Street Story too.

Support Public Transit as a County Budget Priority
Humboldt County is circulating a survey asking community members for feedback on their budget priorities. The topics include “climate action including transit” – which would mean attracting more riders to transit instead of driving – and “maintaining and expanding bus services” for people who depend on transit. Both of these things mean investing in better transit service, and both are critically important. The county needs to hear that community members prioritize investments in public transit, both for climate action and for transportation equity. If you agree, please take the survey and give top marks to transit.

Will Humboldt County Require Tiny Houses to Have Big Parking Lots?
The Humboldt County Planning Commission recently discussed a draft ordinance to allow tiny house developments, both for long-term residence and for emergency and transitional housing. Unfortunately, the draft ordinance they discussed would require extra-wide driveways and at least one parking space per tiny house, meaning the space required for parking would exceed the size of the houses. These requirements would unnecessarily limit the number of homes that can be built and increase the cost of what is supposed to be affordable housing – despite the fact that many tiny house residents will not even own cars, and some tiny houses will be built where there is plenty of parking already. Mandating new parking spaces for these homes is unfair and counterproductive. CRTP has asked that the requirements be removed.


Street Story is for People Who Use Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices, Too!
People using any mode of transportation, including wheelchairs and other mobility devices, can report their experiences of crashes, near-misses, hazards/unsafe or safe locations on Street Story. People using wheelchairs and other mobility devices can face unique hazards like sidewalks that have obstructions, overgrown vegetation encroaching on the sidewalk, intersections with poor visibility, etc. The Street Story platform lists “mobility device” as a transportation mode and provides a variety of device type options: wheelchair, walker or cane, white cane, guide dog, prosthetic, or other. It is important to the Street Story team to make sure the platform is inclusive for all travelers and circumstances. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí.

A screen shot from a Street Story report form shows a variety of options for transportation mode. "Using a mobility device" is checked, and various specific options for the type of mobility device are displayed.
People using any kind of mobility device can make reports on Street Story.

News from Beyond the North Coast

Caltrans Complete Streets Bill Passes Senate Transportation Committee
If passed and signed by the governor, SB 960 will create a clear mandate for Caltrans to include improved bike, pedestrian and transit facilities in all of its relevant projects. That would make a huge difference in places where state highways pass through local communities, as in most North Coast towns.

Also approved by the committee was a significantly watered down bill requiring speed monitoring systems in new vehicles, and another bill prohibiting state funding for bike “sharrows,” which research has found do not improve safety (and may even make things worse).


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.