Walking, Biking and Transit in the Time of COVID-19

The Collector

March 20, 2020

Editor’s Note: Here at CRTP, we’re sheltering in place as ordered by local public health officials. But we know that the transportation system remains critical for the continued functioning of essential services, and we will continue to advocate for responsible transportation priorities as best we can from the isolation of our own homes. Thanks for your continued support, and stay healthy!

What Does “Shelter in Place” Mean for Active Transportation?
Humboldt County’s Shelter in Place Order allows only “Essential Travel.” To support Essential Travel, businesses providing needed transportation services are allowed to remain open. The order specifies that this includes gas stations and auto repair shops, but says nothing about bike repair. CRTP and others have asked the county to address this oversight, as San Francisco did, to reflect the reality that lots of people need to rely on bikes for Essential Travel. So far, no changes to the order have been reported. However, outfitting stores – some of which also provide bike repair services – will remain open.

Additionally, it’s unclear how the statewide “Stay at Home” order may affect support for travel by bike or by foot. The governor stated publicly that outdoor recreation (as opposed to transportation) is allowed as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. But the key transportation modes identified by the Department of Homeland Security, on which the state order relies to identify “Essential Critical Infrastructure,” do not include walking or biking.

How the Pandemic is Affecting Public Transit
Public transit is an essential service, and systems remain operating in Humboldt and around the country. Ridership has dropped precipitously, however, and transit agencies will need significant public support to get through this intact. Yet the Senate is proposing billions to bail out the private airline industry and not a single cent for public transit.

Practically Every Public Meeting Has Been Canceled…
…including many which would have addressed important transportation topics. But you probably knew that already.

COVID-19, Telework, and Vehicle Miles Traveled
EPIC Executive Director and CRTP Board Member Tom Wheeler extols the virtues of telework – including reducing vehicle miles traveled – in a Times-Standard op-ed.

HSU Provides Free Bus Rides to Students Returning Home
Buses will go to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

COVID Can’t Stop Car-Culture Restaurant
The new Broadway drive-thru is still on track.

Measure Z Funds are Shrinking
The sales tax measure has regularly provided funds for local road repairs. Future revenues are uncertain – now more than ever.

Weekly Street Story Update: Another Milestone
Even as non-essential transportation has ground to a halt, people are still reporting hazards, near-misses and crashes on Street Story. In fact, we’ve now hit 600 reports in Humboldt County. You can make your own Street Story report here.

CalBike Advocates for the “Dutch Reach”
A simple driver-training measure could save the lives of many bicyclists.

A Green New Deal for Transportation
A new report investigates how changing development patterns and mode shift can help address the climate crisis.

New Yorkers Switch to Bikes for Social Distancing
The bad news: a lot of them are doing it to avoid public transit.

Big Data Poised to Dramatically Change Transportation Systems
Is that good or bad? That depends on who you ask.

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.