The Collector: East-West Railroad, Candidate Forum Fun, Transportation Bills Amended, and More

Bike Law Fact of the Week
Has it ever seemed to you like every time a bike trail crosses a road, the drivers get the right of way? We think so too. But it turns out that’s not inevitable. Everyone’s favorite reference book, The California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, provides guidance for where stop & yield signs should be used at such intersections. It turns out that it’s mostly at the discretion of whoever designs the intersection. But the guidance does include this hopeful tidbit (Section 9B.03): “Speed should not be the sole factor used to determine priority, as it is sometimes appropriate to give priority to a high-volume shared-use path crossing a low-volume street, or to a regional shared-use path crossing a minor collector street.”

The East-West Railroad is Back…
As we previewed last week, there’s a big new push to build the long-imagined rail line between Humboldt Bay and the Central Valley. This effort claims to be entirely privately funded, unlike previous iterations of the scheme. Color us skeptical.

Supes Put More Measure Z Funding Toward Roads
The Times-Standard reports that $850,000 was allocated for road maintenance and repair, while $35,000 was allocated for “walkability studies.” We’re all for responsible road maintenance, but these mismatched figures do seem to indicate something about local transportation priorities.

Supervisor Candidates Touch on Transportation Issues
At a recent forum, both challengers for the Fourth District seat expressed support for the Great Redwood Trail Act, while incumbent Virginia Bass wavered. All three candidates are apparently interested in the new (again) east-west rail proposal. Meanwhile, in the Fifth District, candidates were asked about transportation alternatives. Challenger Steve Madrone talked about transit, while incumbent Ryan Sundberg apparently said that millennials prefer Uber. (Note to Sundberg: As the millenials might say, Uber is totes problematic.)

DNLTC Talks Active Transportation
At next Tuesday’s meeting, the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission is scheduled to consider allocating $10,000 for a Pebble Beach Drive bike/ped project and including the Craig’s Creek Loop Trail in its Active Transportation Plan.

May is Bike Month
Celebrate! Events coming up include a “confident cycling clinic” in Eureka and a car-free day on Newton B. Drury Parkway.

New Public-Private Partnership Tries to Draw Cruise Ships to Eureka
CRTP Board Member Dave Spreen says, “It’s like deja vu all over again!

Speed Limit Bill Overhauled
AB 2363, which would have allowed speed limits to be lowered a modest 5 mph in areas with lots of accidents, has now changed its approach entirely. Rather than attempting that minor amendment to existing law governing speed limits, the bill now would create a Vision Zero Task Force to write recommendations for reducing road fatalities. The Task Force would be charged with, among other things, assessing whether the current method for setting speed limits makes sense.

Great Redwood Trail Act Passes Second Committee
Like the Senate Committee on Transportation & Housing, the Committee on Natural Resources & Water passed the bill unanimously. It now moves on to the Appropriations Committee.

Cars Are Dangerous – Here and Everywhere
Humboldt County’s ninth vehicle-related fatality of the year, a pedestrian hit-and-run on Highway 101, has us thinking about the inherent dangers associated with multi-ton objects moving at high speeds through our communities. Reflecting on the tragedy in Toronto earlier this week, we are reminded that vehicles can be intentionally used as weapons, but also that countless people around the world die every day as a result of vehicle “accidents.” When we design our cities and towns and rural landscapes almost entirely around these inherently dangerous machines, and resist efforts at common-sense reforms, how long can we keep calling these “accidents”?

San Francisco Regulates Electric Scooters
New scooter-share programs are popping up in the City. They could be a useful addition to low-carbon transportation options.

Caltrans in the Mirror
If you’ve ever wondered how Caltrans sees its own history, this timeline is revealing. See if you can find the words “bicycle” or “pedestrian” anywhere.

Taxi Co-ops Offer an Alternative to Uber & Lyft
They’re better for the drivers, to be sure. But will they encourage more trips by car, like Uber and Lyft do?

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