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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!

The Collector

 

Plaza Bike Racks, Eureka General Plan, Unmet Transit Needs and More!

The Collector

September 21, 2018


Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
This week, a two-for-one obstruction: Low-hanging branches ready to knock an unsuspecting rider off a bike, right next to a row of cars blocking the lane! Send your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Sign the Petition for a More Pedestrian-Friendly Plaza!
If you haven’t already signed it, that is.

Arcata Transportation Safety Committee Talks Plaza Bike Racks…
The Committee, chaired by CRTP’s own Ryan Campbell, discussed the need for additional racks around the Plaza. Here’s the situation on a recent farmers market day:

…and E-Bikes, Too!
The Arcata TSC talked e-bikes and speed limits at their meeting this week, too. CRTP’s Colin Fiske was also on KHUM to talk about it on Wednesday.

Eureka Planning Commission to Consider New General Plan
The Commission holds a special meeting on Monday (September 24) at 5:30 pm. You can read CRTP’s previously submitted comments here.

New Group to Sponsor Public Meeting on Trinidad Development
The newly formed Humboldt Alliance for Responsible Planning will hold a public informational meeting on Thursday, September 27, from 6-9 pm at the Trinidad Town Hall to discuss the Trinidad Rancheria’s plans to build a 100-room hotel… and a new interchange on Highway 101 less than a mile from the existing Trinidad exit. The just-released Environmental Assessment for the hotel project can be found at the link above.

Annual Unmet Transit Needs Hearing Start Next Week
Let local officials know what improvements the local bus system needs.

The Skunk Train and the Revitalization of Fort Bragg
Could extending and fixing the tourist train finally spur redevelopment of the town’s coastline?

Should Helmets Be Mandatory for Drivers?
After all, as the author of this article points out, many more people get head injuries in cars than on bikes.

A Spanish City Completely Removes Cars from the City Center
And people love it!


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.

Supervisors Pass Climate Resolution, East-West Rail Scheme Revived

The Collector

September 14, 2018


Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Parked cars completely blocked the bike lane on Samoa Boulevard in Arcata recently, conveniently right next to a “No Parking – Bike Lane” sign. Thanks to reader Jen Kalt for submitting the photo! Send in your pictures of sidewalk or bike lane obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Supervisors Pass Climate Resolution
Supervisors unanimously voted for the resolution after scaling back the goal of 100% clean, renewable energy from the entire county to just County of Humboldt operations, at the insistence of Supervisor Rex Bohn. CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske was the only person at the hearing to mention transportation, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the county.

East-West Rail: Somehow, It’s Still a Thing
The latest scheme comes with an interesting twist: a shady out-of-town financial firm asking local residents for money.

Eureka Loses Lawsuit Over Unsafe Street Conditions
A jury says they should have re-surfaced and re-graded the street. City staff point out that they just don’t have the cash to maintain all the streets in their jurisdiction.

Wildfire Closed I-5 for Six Days
Although local coverage didn’t mention it, Highway 101 becomes a major alternate route for trucking when I-5 is closed for extended periods. We wonder if anyone measured the change in local truck traffic.

Del Norte Supes Get Presentation on Prop 6 Impacts
It turns out that hundreds of millions of dollars in new gas tax money is going to the county, and will evaporate if Prop 6 passes.

Crash Plus Five-Car Pileup on Highway 101 Safety Corridor
Luckily, there were only minor injuries. One can only imagine how much worse this could have been with a higher speed limit.


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.

Supervisors to Consider Climate Resolution on Tuesday

The Collector

September 7, 2018


Supervisors to Consider Climate Resolution
Supervisor Mike Wilson has introduced a resolution which would: (1) commit the County to completing a Climate Action Plan by 2020; (2) establish a goal of 100% clean and renewable energy for the County by 2025; (3) formally state the County’s support for the Paris Climate Accord. Transportation is by far the county’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, so this resolution – particularly the first part – should have a big impact on our local transportation system. Come out on Tuesday to let the Supervisors know how important this is!

Sidewalk Obstruction of the Week
We know you thought we’d stick with bike lane obstructions forever, but sidewalks are important too! In fact, sidewalk obstructions are so common that they almost seem unremarkable. But regular placement of objects like this fire hydrant in sidewalks often prevents wheelchair passage and always prevents people from walking side by side or passing each other safely and comfortably. Walking is the lowest-impact form of transportation, and we should make it as safe, easy and comfortable as possible! Send your pictures of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Arcata City Council Appoints At-Large Members to Plaza Task Force
Laura Hughes of the North Coast Growers Association, Erica Grey of Community Pride and Peace, and local business owner Daniel Bixler made the cut. Presumably, the task force will now start meeting. CRTP will be there to continue advocating for a redesign that’s more friendly to non-vehicular users!

The Glories and Pitfalls of an Incomplete Bay Trail
The lesson seems pretty clear: Finish the trail! In related news, the County responded to a Grand Jury report about the Bay Trail that described the missing trail segment, where riders now use the shoulder of Highway 101, as an unsafe “interim trail.” We gotta agree with the County on this one; that’s not really what’s going on here. Again: Just finish the trail!

Gas Taxes, Explained
The Times-Standard this week featured a pretty good explanation of how gas taxes work, a complicated and arcane but still important subject.

Can We Have Good Transit in Low-Density Areas?
In a fascinating opinion piece, urban planner Jonathan English makes the case that the demise of successful public transit in much of the country over the last century is not really due to competition from the car, but rather to bad management and underinvestment in service. He claims that even low-density areas can have successful transit – in other words, compete with car travel – if they invest in good service. North Coast transit advocates, take note.


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.

Council Blocks The Village, Rail-Trail Bill Heads to Governor

The Collector

August 31, 2018


With The Village in Limbo, Future Infill Development Uncertain
Nearly a year after it first came before the Arcata Planning Commission, The Village student housing project has been effectively denied by the City Council…probably. With 2 votes in favor, 2 abstentions, and one recusal, questions have been raised about whether the motion to move the project forward actually failed or not, but City Attorney Nancy Diamond insists that it did. If so, some readers of local tea leaves predict that HSU may now try to side-step city jurisdiction altogether by buying the property and proceeding with the project on its own. At the same time, opponents of The Village now insist that they plan to move forward with an alternative development of their own on the site, although it remains unclear who would finance or build it. Whatever comes next will have a major influence on future infill development patterns (and thus transportation patterns) in Arcata.

SB 1029 Heading to Governor in New Form
No longer known as the Great Redwood Trail Act (it’s now the “NCRA Closure and Transition to Trails Act”), McGuire’s bill passed the Assembly yesterday and as of this writing is heading for a final vote in the Senate before heading to Brown’s desk. While significantly scaled back from its original form, the bill still lays the groundwork for an eventual conversion of the North Coast Railroad Authority’s 300-mile-long right of way into a regional trail system.

Rancheria Hotel Plans Get Scrutiny
But the proposed new Highway 101 interchange connected to the development – which would be one of the biggest transportation infrastructure projects in the area in years – gets little press.

Local Church Incentivizes Walking, Biking, and Carpooling
It’s not just what you do at your chosen house of worship – how you get there counts, too!

Are Electric Scooters the Future of Urban Transportation?
The answer is a definite maybe.

Container Ship Emissions Reductions Slowing Down
An important progress report on efforts to clean up the global freight transportation system.


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.

$300,000 Parking Spaces and the Gutting of the Great Redwood Trail Act

The Collector

August 24, 2018


“Great Redwood Trail Act” No Longer
The Great Redwood Trail Act has officially been gutted (and re-named) in the Assembly. After unanimously passing the State Senate and every other committee that considered it, the newly amended bill would no longer dissolve the North Coast Railroad Authority and create a mandate for the Great Redwood Trail. Instead, it simply calls for the NCRA to spend a couple of years exploring its options for dissolution and rail-banking. It appears to have been derailed by a recalcitrant governor’s office. But the fight isn’t over! If the political will is there, the bill can still be amended.

Supes Balk at $300,000 Parking Spaces
Parking spaces can be expensive. Really expensive. The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors found that out this week when they were confronted with a jail expansion plan that would build a subterranean lot at a cost of $300,000 per space. Alternatives presented by county staff included other extremely expensive ways to build parking off-site. Apparently no one considered the idea of just not building that parking and instead using the money to provide bus or shuttle service to and from the jail. After all, $300,000 is more than an entire month’s budget for the regional Redwood Transit System.

Transportation Plays Important Role in Food Access
In an important exploration of hunger on the North Coast, the Times-Standard highlights the importance of transportation access – or the lack of it – in creating and perpetuating food deserts in our rural area. Local advocates suggest we may have to re-think the definition of “food desert” for our area. CRTP suggests that we may also want to re-think our development and transportation patterns.

Is Eureka’s Vision for Waterfront Drive Unrealistic?
The California Transportation Commission recently approved Eureka’s request for $2.3 million to help complete Waterfront Drive, and the City is now applying for almost $9 million more in federal funding for the project. In promoting this plan, the City seems to be touting a completed Waterfront Drive as the solution to practically all of its transportation problems. They say it will relieve congestion on Highway 101, improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, bring cars into Old Town, improve freight access to the harbor, complete the waterfront trail, and more. Unfortunately, some of these goals appear to be at odds with each other. Just one example: it’s pretty hard to see how a new busy boulevard carrying thousands of cars and trucks right through Old Town would improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

CRTP Responds to Anti-Bicycling Polemic
Sometimes you just have to speak up.

Arcata City Council Schedules Special Meeting to Wrap Up Consideration of The Village
No more long evenings – this time it’s at 9 am!


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.

The Collector: Op-Eds, Campaigns, Scholarships and More!

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Here’s a classic: construction in the bike lane, with a warning sign (presumably aimed at cars, and completely blocking the bike lane) calling it “shoulder work.” Attention public works professionals: bike lanes are lanes of traffic, not shoulders! Submit your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org

LoCO Op-Ed: H & I Streets Project A Great Idea
H Street homeowner (and HSU professor) Erin Kelly writes a convincing piece in support of the traffic-calming, bike-accommodating project. This follows a not-so-convincing screed against the project (and against bicycling in general) in the Times-Standard earlier this week.

Candidate for Local Office to Host Ward Bike Tour
Biking as part of a local political campaign? Could it be that some people actually consider the bicycle to be a legitimate, responsible, even mainstream form of transportation?

RCEA Issuing Scholarships for Local Fleet Managers
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is offering to send local fleet managers to a clean-tech conference in October.

Great Redwood Trail Act Clears Another Hurdle
Senator McGuire’s SB 1029 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday with another unanimous vote. The bill was amended by the Committee, but it’s not clear yet what exactly those amendments were. Meanwhile, the biggest hurdle remains: securing the promise of funding from the governor. CRTP and other local groups continue to urge supporters to call Governor Brown’s office and tell him you want the bill fully funded.

Bike/Ped Safety in Valley West
A coalition of groups is holding a community training on August 29th.

HCAOG Considers Opposition to Prop 6
Also on this week’s agenda was a contract with a consultant to develop a local “mobility-on-demand strategic development plan.”

The Plight of the Truck Driver
Another striking piece highlights the underbelly of America’s freight transportation system.

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.

The Collector: H & I Street Improvements Moving Ahead

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Low-hanging vegetation is often at just the right level to knock a rider off a bike – unless you swerve out into traffic. Send your photos of bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

H & I Street Improvements Get Go-Ahead from City Council
After certain conservative City Council candidates decided for some reason that opposing bike/ped improvements in the north-south corridor is good politics, the City Council heard a litany of testimony for and against the proposed improvements at its meeting this week. In the end, the Council voted 4-1 to move ahead with the project – specifically the buffered bike lane design option favored by CRTP, the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association, and many local residents.

North Coast Projects on CTC Agenda
The state Transportation Commission will vote next week on the funding eligibility of a sidewalk and crosswalk project in Crescent City and the seismic retrofits of two bridges on Highway 101 in Del Norte. Also on the agenda are several Humboldt County projects, including funding for the long-awaited completion of Eureka’s waterfront drive (with bike lanes and sidewalks!); new rumble strips and guard rails on Highway 299 near Blue Lake; a South Fortuna Elementary School Safe Routes to School project; and changes to the Wabash/Broadway intersection in Eureka.

State Route 299 Partially Re-opened Near Redding
Another year, another closure of a major North Coast roadway.

Speed Limit Bill Passes Key Committee
Readers of The Collector may remember that AB 2363 originally proposed allowing somewhat more leeway for local governments and Caltrans to lower speed limits for safety reasons, a procedure that is currently nearly impossible. It’s been watered down so that it now proposes only the creation of a task force to explore that possibility (and others), but still could be an important step toward sanity in California’s speed limit laws. This week, the bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SoCal Real Estate Investors Turn to Pedestrianization to Save Retail
Banning cars + adding activities = a winning formula for local business. Arcata Plaza, anyone?

Are E-bikes the Breakthrough Bikeshare Programs Need?
And if so, what does it mean for the way we design our towns and cities?

Uber & Lyft Users Are Rich
The new finding throws another wrench into the already difficult discussions about how cities can responsibly deal with on-demand mobility companies and programs.

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.

The Collector: H & I Street Redesign on the Agenda, California Fuel Economy Standards on the Chopping Block

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Regular readers of The Collector should be getting the idea by this point that trash and recycling receptacles in bike lanes are a systemic problem in our area. Submit your photos to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Board of Supervisors Certifies Bay Trail EIR, Addresses Eucalyptus Concerns
The Humboldt County Supervisors approved the environmental review for the last remaining segment of the Humboldt Bay Trail on Tuesday, clearing the way for additional design work, right-of-way negotiation, and (eventually) construction. At a later date, they’ll reconsider the issue of removing eucalyptus trees for the trail when they get the opinions of some outside arborists.

Eureka City Council to Take On H & I Street Redesign
Next Tuesday, the Council will continue its discussion of design alternatives for the north-south corridor, with a view to vastly improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure. CRTP agrees with the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association and others that the best option involves removing one vehicle lane in each direction and adding buffered bike lanes. If you bike or walk in Eureka, show up and let them know what you think!

(Temporary) Pedestrianization in Old Town
2nd Street in Old Town Eureka was closed to cars recently for an event, allowing people to enjoy the public space without fear for their lives. What a concept! Could there be a permanent pedestrianization in Old Town some day?

California CAFE Standards Waiver Really Is on the Chopping Block
Earlier this week, it appeared that Trump’s EPA might not rescind California’s ability to set stricter fuel economy standards for cars, based in part on legal analysis that showed they would likely lose that case in court. But, never an administration to let a losing legal proposition get in its way, they have now proposed to do just that as they attempt to roll back CAFE standards across the nation.

Gas Tax Repeal Supporters Hard at Work Against Transportation Funding
Not only would this November’s Proposition 6 repeal the recent gas tax increase and make it virtually impossible to fund public transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, its supporters are already planning a follow-up effort that would tie all state transportation funding in knots for decades to come. More commentary on Prop 6 from our friends at TransForm 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.

The Collector: Future of the Bay Trail to Be Decided on Tuesday

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
Another case of trash and recycling bins in the bike lane. This one’s particularly egregious (check out the far side of the street). Send your photos of bike lane and sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org.

Future of the Bay Trail to Be Decided on Tuesday
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is slated to vote on the final four miles of the Bay Trail on Tuesday morning. The main debate is expected to center around the proposed removal of some of the eucalyptus trees overhanging the trail route. County staff have doubled down on their assertion that there can be no trail without eucalyptus removal, while a core of folks who just love those (non-native) trees insist the eucalyptus must be saved.

Driver Sentenced in Eureka Pedestrian Fatality
We would be remiss not to occasionally cover the depressingly regular car-on-pedestrian and car-on-bicyclist collision cases on the 101 corridor in Eureka.

Caltrans Looks to the Future While Planning for the Past
The agency’s latest quarterly newsletter (err, “performance report”) features an assessment of the challenges of planning for an uncertain transportation future, followed immediately by an article about funding massive highway expansion projects in order to (allegedly) relieve congestion. One assumes that the irony of guessing at the priorities of the 2050s while funding the priorities of the 1950s is rather unintentional.

More Evidence that Transportation is Driving Climate Change
This article buries the lede a bit, but finally there it is again: cars and trucks are foiling all our other efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Promised Self-Driving Future Squares Off Against the Proven Record of Public Transit
Planners face big choices amid plenty of confusion and overblown rhetoric.

A Nation Divided… by Cars
The politics of transportation have never been so divisive.

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.

The Collector: Funding Found for Late-Night Bus Service… PLUS the Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week

Bike Lane Obstruction of the Week
This week’s obstruction may not look like much, but it can still cause a person on a bike to swerve wildly around it – it’s a pile of broken glass! Granted, it may be harder for the responsible public agencies to prevent this kind of obstruction than to, say, ticket parked cars or move trash cans out of the way. But it’s still a problem! Send your bike lane or sidewalk obstructions to colin@transportationpriorities.org, and you could be in The Collector!

Lots of Local Active Transportation Projects Proposed!
The Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) Board considered letters of support to the California Transportation Commission for eight proposed local bike/ped projects yesterday, including Phase II of the Annie & Mary Trail, the Little River Trail, the Humboldt Bay Trail South, and the “Bay to Zoo” Trail in Eureka. Go trails!

Funding for Late-Night Bus Service Identified
Meanwhile, the HCAOG Board also discussed a source of funding for late-night weekday bus service identified by staff. Previously, this service had been identified as an “unmet transit need” which could not be funded. This represents real progress toward better transit in our region.

Local “Mobility on Demand” Plan in the Works
In yet more HCAOG news, the agency has issued a request for proposals to develop a “Mobility on Demand Strategic Development Plan” for the county. Keep your eye on this one – it’s not clear yet what direction it will take.

Humboldt Slated for Lots of SB1 Money…
…but not nearly enough to keep the roads maintained. Still, things will be a lot worse if the current effort to repeal the bill (which among other things raised the gas tax) succeed in November.

A Nostalgic Ode to the Great Redwood Trail
How can one be nostalgic for something that hasn’t happened yet? Just read it.

The Village Hearing Continues
We think you’ve heard it all by now. If not, this article is for you.

State Train Group Doesn’t Like the Great Redwood Trail Act
We know it’s hard for those outside the region to understand why local environmentalists might not like trains so much, but they really should do their homework before jumping into such an issue head-first. Oh, and they should have read the most current version of the bill (it actually does not require rail-banking at all, just that a trail be built somewhere on or near the rail right-of-way).

American Cities Have More Parking Than Housing… Way More
In one of the first studies of its kind, five very different American cities were analyzed for the amount of parking they provide. Hint: too much.

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.