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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

 

The Collector: Unmet Transit Needs, Great Redwood Trail Amendments, and much more!

Bike Law Fact of the Week
Now that you know that blocking bike lanes is against the law, what can be done on those frustrating streets where people consistently park in the bike lane anyway? Luckily for you, the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (not always a bicyclist’s friend) contains the following rule: “If the installation of signs is necessary to restrict parking, standing, or stopping in a bicycle lane, appropriate signs…shall be installed” (Section 9B.10). A report of a consistent parking-in-bike-lane problem to your city or county along with a reminder of this rule just might do the trick!

HCAOG Talks Unmet Transit Needs & Bike/Ped Allocations
At its Thursday meeting, the Humboldt County Association of Governments Board of Directors took on a number of important topics, including this year’s proposed allocations for bicycle & pedestrian projects from Transportation Development Act funds as well as the required annual findings of unmet transit needs. The majority of bike/ped funds are slated for the “Highway 101/Broadway Corridor Study” in Eureka. On transit, HCAOG prepared a finding that there’s a need for more late-night weekday bus service, but the local governments can’t afford it.

CRTP Comments on Eureka North-South Corridor Plans
CRTP has just submitted our comments on the initial design concepts for improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure around H & I Streets corridor – Eureka’s primary north-south corridor. The North Coast’s first protected intersections and bike boxes might be on the way!

Great Redwood Trail Bill Amended
The amendments include specifying Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) as the successor agency for the North Coast Railroad Authority’s tracks south of Willits. There is also new language emphasizing the intention that the trail provide for multiple uses.

New EV Charging Stations in Arcata?
The City Council was set to discuss a location for new electric vehicle chargers at this week’s meeting, but the meeting did not go as planned.

The Village Set for Final Appearance Before Planning Commission…Finally
After considering the Arcata student housing project over the course of about 10 meetings (we’ve lost count) over many months, the city’s Planning Commission is set to make a recommendation to the City Council on Tuesday.

The Little Engine That Wouldn’t Die
An independent group will hold a forum next week to provide an “update” on the imagined possibility of an east-west freight rail line connecting Humboldt Bay to the Central Valley. Many of us thought this proposed boondoggle was a thing of the past and we could move on to thinking about more helpful and realistic transportation infrastructure needs. Apparently not.

GHG Goals Threatened by VMT
Greenhouse gas reduction goals in many states may be thwarted by the failure to decrease vehicle miles traveled.

The Push for Higher Truck Weight Limits Continues
A federal committee says more study is needed. Local opponents of highway projects catering to STAA trucks (that would include CRTP), 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.

The Collector: The Village, The Great Redwood Trail Act, The Radical Up-zone Bill, and more

Bike Law Fact of the Week: Bike-Actuated Traffic Lights
Many bike riders have been in this situation: You’re approaching a traffic light which turns green only when a vehicle approaches (a “traffic-actuated signal” in transportation jargon). You pull up and stop at the red light, and nothing happens – your bicycle is not detected. Do you run the red light? Get off the bike and press a pedestrian signal button (if there is one)? However you get through, you might want to report that intersection afterwards to your local government or Caltrans. Because there’s actually a law in place that’s supposed to prevent this scenario from occurring: California Vehicle Code Section 21450.5 requires traffic-actuated signals to respond to bikes and motorcycles. Here’s a hint: grooves cut in the pavement often reveal where the detector lies, and a small bike-rider icon is occasionally even painted on the pavement to assist you. If you’re in the right place, you might be detected – but clearly a lot more work needs to be done to make these signals bike-friendly.

The Village Final EIR Released
The City of Arcata has released the Final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed big new student housing project, The Village. We think they were a tad dismissive of CRTP’s comments suggesting fewer vehicular improvements, less parking and a greater focus on bicycles, pedestrians and transit. However, the City and the developer have previously agreed to our suggestion of “unbundling” (charging separately for) residential rents & parking spaces. That will provide a significant incentive for future residents not to bring cars, and prevent non-car owning residents from having to subsidize parking for car owners. We’ll take our wins where we can get them!

RCEA Taking Applications for Zero Emission Vehicle Enthusiast Group
Your opportunity to help promote ZEVs in Humboldt.

Great Redwood Trail Act Passes First Committee
Support for Senator McGuire’s bill was unanimous in the Senate natural resources committee. Meanwhile, the Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, long-time enviro-adversaries of the North Coast Railroad Authority which would be abolished by the bill, seem fairly pleased.

CRTP Board Members Discuss Richardson Grove Project on KMUD
Board members Tom Wheeler, Barbara Kennedy, and Dave Spreen bring listeners up to date. To listen, click on the link above and scroll down to the Tuesday, April 10th Environment Show. The discussion starts at around 23 minutes.

Radical Up-Zoning Bill Amended, Set for Hearing
SB 827, which would override local zoning laws around major transit hubs and corridors in order to allow denser residential development, has been substantially scaled back. Potential building heights have been lowered, standards for “major” transit areas have been raised, and a bit of a loophole to allow some parking minimums has been introduced. New provisions have also been inserted with the intent to protect against gentrification. The bill is set for a hearing next week.

Precedent-Setting Lawsuit on Regional Transportation Planning & Climate Settled
The case, which went to the California Supreme Court twice, will require Regional Transportation Plans to take a much stronger look at the implications of transportation improvements for greenhouse gas emissions and sprawl.

Seattle May Implement Congestion Pricing
Charging cars to enter city centers, in order to reduce pollution and traffic jams, has been successful in many world cities but so far hasn’t gained much traction in the US. Is that about to change?

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: Bike Laws, Speed Limits, Fuel Economy Standards

Bike Law Fact of the Week: Construction & Bike Lanes
Ever been forced out of an official bike lane by a temporary sign warning drivers about road work ahead? Turns out that’s not really allowed! Buried in the lengthy California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is this requirement (Section 6D.101, if you’re curious): “Bicyclists shall not be led into direct conflicts with mainline traffic, work site vehicles, or equipment moving through or around the TTC [temporary traffic control] zone.”

Plaza Task Force to Include Transportation Perspective
After comments from CRTP and others, the Arcata City Council on Wednesday agreed to add three at large seats to its new Plaza Improvement Task Force, one of which CRTP plans to apply for. CRTP has been involved in Plaza redesign efforts for the last year, arguing among other things that a more pedestrian-friendly Plaza would be good for civic life and local business. The City Council’s Transportation Safety Committee will also be represented on the Task Force, so the transportation perspective should be well represented!

Supervisors, Caltrans Take Input on Speed Limit Near Richardson Grove
Although marketed as a speed limit decrease, Caltrans’ proposal is actually to create a more gradual “step down” of speed south of the Grove, decreasing speed limits in some places while increasing them in others. CRTP and friends commented at the hearing held on Tuesday. We highlighted the ridiculous state laws that actually make it nearly impossible to lower speed limits in most circumstances. You can hear our comments by clicking on the link above and scrolling down to the 6pm newscast on Wednesday, April 4.

Did You Catch That Local Caltrans April Fools Joke?
Somehow the idea of a massive, absurdly expensive highway project meant to shave a few minutes off of commuting times for a handful of people didn’t seem that unrealistic.

Fuel Economy Standards the Latest Victims of Trump Administration
For everyone hoping the next generation of cars would help reduce our nation’s fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, this is time for some soul-searching – and litigation.

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: Richardson Grove, Last Chance Grade, and Visions of a Self-Driving Dystopia

Richardson Grove Project Has Another Day In Court
Caltrans is defending the big truck accommodation project on multiple legal fronts. Based on the arguments heard yesterday, it seems they could have avoided a lot of this trouble by just allowing another public comment period for the revised Environmental Impact Report – but transparency for this project is beginning to seem like the agency’s kryptonite.

Hearing on Speed Limit Reduction Set for Tuesday
As we’ve reported previously, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on Tuesday about a Caltrans proposal to lower the speed limit on a small section of road to the south of Richardson Grove State Park. We hear that this item will be heard at around 10 am, but as of this writing the agenda has not yet been published. In any case, come out and have your say!

Humboldt Transit Authority Moving Forward with Solar Panels, EV Buses
At its meeting Wednesday, the Board discussed changes to a contract to build a solar electric system at its headquarters over the next few years, designed to provide energy for charging new electric buses. The first electric bus has been purchased and is expected to arrive by the end of the year.

Last Change Grade Gets a Down Payment, Studies to Start This Summer
The new $5 million from the state is enough to get geotechnical and environmental studies for the massive project started…barely. But Caltrans is moving full speed ahead!

Fortuna Road Projects Get Funding
One is a maintenance project, the other is supposed to both “relieve congestion and provide bike and pedestrian facilities” around the Kenmar Road/Highway 101 interchange. More information about the latter project can be found here. Why does every bike/ped improvement seem to come with an even greater improvement for cars?

SB 827, Part 2
An update and spot-on analysis from the folks over at TransForm about Senator Weiner’s radical upzone bill, which we mentioned in the very first edition of The Collector.

Self-Driving Uber Trucks Have Been Using Arizona Highways for Months
Only days after a self-driving Uber car with back-up driver killed a pedestrian in Arizona, it has come to light that self-driving Uber trucks with back-up drivers are all over Arizona highways. But that’s about all Uber will say. Meanwhile…

Back-Up Drivers Aren’t Much Use for Self-Driving Cars
It turns out people just can’t stay vigilant for very long when they’re not actively engaged.

California About to Permit More Self-Driving Cars; Bicyclists Worried
It’s not hard to figure out why.

Bringing Facebook’s Business Model to Transportation
If self-driving fleet vehicles start to pay for themselves with advertising, shifting the business incentive so that Uber & Lyft want to keep you in their cars as long as possible, then we’re all in a lot of trouble.

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: Bike Law Fact of the Week, Uber Death, and Two Key Acronyms

Bike Law Fact of the Week: No Obstructing Bike Lanes!
Following up on last week’s story about bike lane obstructions, here’s some edification for all you riders from California Vehicle Code Section 21211(b): “No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail . . . which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.” (We know that last caveat sounds like a loophole big enough to park a truck in, but we’re not aware of any other state or local laws which would require or allow anyone to park or leave objects in a bikeway under normal circumstances.)

Richardson Grove Project in Court Again Next Week
A hearing is scheduled at the Humboldt County Courthouse on Wednesday, March 28th at 1:30pm in one of several cases challenging the project. The hearing is public, so come on out and see what happens – or stay tuned for more information.

Eucalyptus vs. the Bay Trail?
Opinions about the eucalyptus trees along the Highway 101 corridor between Arcata and Eureka vary widely, with some considering them a beautiful historic landmark and others calling them invasive safety hazards. Now, some of the trees are proposed for removal as part of the development of the last segment of the Humboldt Bay Trail, and some folks are pretty upset. Let’s hope we can work this out and still get our trail ASAP!

VMT vs. LOS: The Wonky Acronym Fight that Will Decide the Future of the Transportation System
It’s taken 5 years for the state to get close to finalizing new CEQA rules that will require the use of Vehicle Miles Traveled rather than Level of Service to measure transportation impacts. This change should to a long way to ensuring that we stop building projects that induce more car travel. But will the new rules be undermined by exempting transportation projects themselves?

First Pedestrian Death Caused by Self-Driving Uber
Cars kill people. Notwithstanding the possibility that self-driving cars might make fewer mistakes than human drivers, this was bound to happen sooner or later. But maybe it will finally light a fire under regulators to address some of the serious questions about how we should allow these vehicles to operate, and what we should do when things go wrong. In the meantime, let the victim-blaming begin.

Charging Lyft & Uber for Curb Access
In many cities, the drivers are constantly taking up valuable public space (including blocking bike lanes!) while picking up and dropping off passengers. Why not charge them for it?

E-bike Share Program In San Francisco Going Well
Electric-assist bikes could play a key role in the transportation systems of the future.

Caltrans Releases Annual Non-Motorized Transportation Report
They say everything’s going swimmingly. But is progress fast enough to reform our transportation system before we’re all literally swimming in rising seas?

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: Railroads and Sidewalks and Bike Lanes, Oh My!

McGuire Proposes Bill to Dissolve Rail Authority, Create Trail Authority
Local and state officials may be finally coming to terms with the fact that we’ll probably never again have freight rail north of Willits. But maybe we can turn the rail line into an awesome multiuse trail instead!

The Sad Saga of the Eel River Canyon Line
A local student recounts some of the history of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad’s ill-fated freight rail tracks.

State Transportation Meeting Next Week Considers Some Local Funding Proposals
Items on the California Transportation Commission’s agenda include proposals to provide $2.5 million toward bike & pedestrian improvement to Old Arcata Road and $10.5 million toward safety measures on Highway 101 in Eureka.

Mattole Restoration Council Wants Measure Z Funds for a Sidewalk
Providing safe infrastructure for students to walk between their school and their favorite lunch spot seems like a good idea to us.

Caltrans Proposes Lowering Speed Limit South of Richardson Grove
The agency is looking at lowering the limit from 55 mph to 45 mph on 0.16 miles of road, about half a mile south of the State Park. The reason Caltrans is singling out this particular small stretch of road for an adjustment are not yet clear, but we’re all in favor of lowering speed limits generally. Can we lower it in the park too? The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on the proposal on April 3.

Caltrans Reports on Progress (or Not) Toward Its Performance Goals
Of particular interest to us is the fact that car, pedestrian and especially bike fatalities are all up in the most recent data (although those data are actually 3 years old). Also interesting: vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita, a key indicator of the sustainability and climate impact of the transportation system, barely budged between 2010 and 2015.

California Bicycle Coalition Annual Advocacy Week Coming Up
Lobby your elected officials March 22-29.

Bike & Bus Lanes Blocked…a Lot
Anyone who bikes knows that bike lanes are routinely blocked by other vehicles (not to mention trash cans, construction signs, and any number of other obstacles). A New York man took it upon himself to measure exactly how often bike and bus lanes were obstructed on one particular block. The answer? A lot.

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: New Trail Planned for Eureka, Richardson Grove Back in Court, Hydrogen Utopia Proclaimed

Eureka City Council Considers Bike/Ped Trail from Waterfront to the Zoo
The trail project is part of the 2018 Capital Improvement Program considered by the Council on Tuesday night. From what we hear, it got a pretty positive reception.

Richardson Grove Saga Continues with Court Hearing in Eureka
The judge will likely take a while to rule on Caltrans’ request to “discharge the writ” – i.e., proclaim that the agency met its obligations spelled out in a previous ruling in state court. Caltrans would like to have the judge remove that legal barrier before even considering whether they have actually met the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act in the whole process. Does anyone else see a cart pulling a horse here? Meanwhile, a hearing on another of the state court cases concerning the project is scheduled for March 28th.

Extremely Drunk Man Hits Kid on Bike in McKinleyville, Gets Less Than a Year in Jail
CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske somehow ended up as an alternate juror for this trial, in which an 11-year-old boy on a bicycle was hit on Central Avenue by a man driving a large pickup truck directly after consuming 10-12 beers in a very short period of time. The kid ended up with severe injuries; the driver admitted he was drunk but said the accident was the kid’s fault for allegedly riding his bike in an irregular manner. Editorial comment: Victim blaming is very common when cars and trucks hit people walking or biking. When will we get it through out heads that it’s the person driving an extremely heavy object at high speeds who’s the one doing something dangerous?

March HCAOG Board Meeting Cancelled
Dry your eyes, Humboldt transportation enthusiasts. The April meeting is only a month away.

First Bus Stop Parklet in the US Opens in the East Bay
An inspiration to us all!

New Company Claims to Have Solved All the Problems Plaguing Hydrogen as a Transportation Fuel
Questions to ponder: Is this more hydrogen hype, or is it really a turning point toward clean transportation fuels? And if the latter, would it be a good thing for our society to extend our ability to continue driving cars in the way we currently do well into a carbon-constrained future?

“Microtransit”: The Future of Public Transportation or Revival of a Bad Idea?
Public transit consultant Jarrett Walker says new ideas about incorporating the Uber/Lyft model into public transportation are just new packaging for the failed flexible-route service proposals of the past.

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: Bay Trail Meeting, Speed Limit Bill, Black Panther Transit Inspiration and More

County Holds Public Meeting on Final Bay Trail Segment
On Tuesday evening, Humboldt County Deputy Public Works Director Hank Seeman presented highlights of the proposed project design and other information available in the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration, currently being circulated for public comment. Seeman also answered questions and heard comments from attendees, who appeared to be very excited about the trail and eager for the project to be completed. (Don’t hold your breath – Seeman continues to project 2021 as the earliest possible construction date.)

HCAOG Meeting Discusses Bike/Ped Allocation Requests
Humboldt County Association of Government’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met on Thursday. On the agenda was a discussion of requests for the $57,000 in active transportation funding available this year for the county. The biggest request by far was from the City of Eureka for a study of high fatality and injury rates in the Highway 101/Broadway corridor. Other requests would fund bike/ped counters and a bike repair station in Arcata, Little River Trail grant prep assistance for Trinidad, and Bay Trail user tracking for the County. Also on the TAC agenda were two items pertaining to the need and funding opportunities for improved bus service. (Meanwhile, the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission TAC meeting was canceled for lack of agenda items.)

Fatal Collision of Truck & Much Bigger Truck in Eureka
Every serious crash should give us pause to reflect on the dangers of large, heavy machines piloted at great speeds through our cities and towns.

Research Suggests Uber & Lyft Are Causing More Driving, Not Less
Can the promise of shared-ride fleet vehicles to reduce car ownership and vehicle miles traveled ever be realized, or are we heading toward an apocalyptic wasteland of empty autonomous vehicles driving endlessly around waiting for riders?

New State Bill Would Make It a Little Easier to Lower Speed Limits
Current California law makes it almost impossible to lower speed limits in most locations. The new bill would make an exception that allows a permanent lowering of the speed limit if studies show a lot of accidents in a particular location.

Only Some of Cars’ Air Pollution Comes from Tailpipes
It turns out a lot comes from the tires, too. Which underlines the fact that we won’t solve urban air quality problems just by electrifying vehicles – we’ll actually have to drive less, too.

Black Panther Movie Has Some Transportation Nerds Thinking About Utopian Transit Infrastructure
Will life ever imitate art?

German Car Manufacturing Cities May Ban Some of Their Own Vehicles
Imagine Detroit banning Ford trucks over air quality concerns. A surprisingly similar scenario may actually be playing out in Stuttgart and other German auto industry strongholds.

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 – February 23, 2018

NIMBY, YIMBY, NIABY, YIEBY
CRTP lays out how a couple of common land use phenomena apply to transportation – and proposes a few acronyms of our own.

Bay Trail Fundraising Going Strong, EIR Available for Review
$240,000 is in the bank for maintenance of the trail – now it just needs to be completed. The EIR for the final portion of the trail is now available for public review and comment.

New Universal Fast-Charging Stations Coming to the Humboldt
According to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s North Coast Plug-in Electric Vehicle Project February newsletter, there will soon be six more universal “Level 3” fast-charging stations for electric vehicles installed throughout Humboldt County from Redway to Orick.

Arcata City Council Votes to Remove Statue & Plaque
Why is this transportation news? Because CRTP has been actively involved in efforts to reimagine the Arcata Plaza as a place designed for people rather than cars, and has endorsed the removal of the McKinley statue & Jacoby Storehouse plaque as part of Plaza revitalization.

Are Bike Helmets the Problem?
A new paper in the journal Applied Mobilities points out that the US has higher rates of bike helmet usage but also higher rates of bike fatalities and injuries than most other countries – and lower rates of biking. The author argues that the focus on helmets in America distracts from the real problems, discourages people from getting out of their cars and onto bikes, and may make bicyclists less safe.

San Jose Handing Over Transit-Oriented Development to Google
Well of course. It’s Silicon Valley. But can the tech giant “retrofit the city that was built for automobiles into a city built for people,” as the city’s mayor hopes?

The Dutch Show That More Bike Infrastructure Leads to… More Biking
It’s important to remember that Europe is not an inevitable bike paradise. As this article points out, European cities built themselves around the automobile after World War II just as US cities did. But now they are showing how to turn that around, with huge environmental, economic and health benefits.

State & Federal Action on Regulating (or Not) Self-Driving Cars
The California legislature is struggling with all the potential changes that would accompany widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles – which the industry says is coming sooner than we think. Meanwhile, if a bill passed by the US House makes its way through the Senate, the industry will largely be left to regulate itself, with states and local governments prohibited from taking any real action.

Should Taxpayers Pay for Trucking Companies to Clean Up Their Act?
The LA Times Editorial Board says no.

Richard Branson Proposes Hyperloop in India…
…and hyperloops everywhere else too!