At the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, we know that well-designed transportation systems can go a long way toward achieving many popular public goals, from protecting our environment to promoting public health to supporting small businesses—which means they should have broad public support. But we don’t shy away from advocating for the best fact-based solutions to public problems, even when not everyone agrees with us. Over the last year, we’ve added our unique voice to public discussions on several important local projects, and in doing so have helped educate the public and shift the debate in ways large and small.
For almost a year, CRTP repeatedly reminded Arcata planning commissioners and city council members of the importance of dense infill developments like the proposed Village housing project. Dense infill allows us to achieve climate-related goals of more walking and biking and bus riding, while avoiding development of the important wildland and agricultural lands on the outskirts of town.
But we also criticized some aspects of the project’s design, and suggested ways to make it more walking-, biking-, and bus-friendly. Most importantly, we advocated for “unbundling” parking spaces from residential rents—in other words, charging separately for parking and for apartment rent, so that those who choose not to bring cars don’t have to subsidize drivers. Research shows this to be one of the most effective measures for reducing car use in residential developments. In a major victory, the developer and the city agreed to unbundling as a condition of approval for the project. However, at the time of this writing, it appears that the project is stalled for lack of support on the city council.
H & I Streets
CRTP also weighed in on Eureka’s proposed redesign of H & I Streets. This project has attracted some opposition, which we think is misguided. We’ve pointed out the importance of the project to a safe and effective bicycle system in the city, and the importance of biking for meeting our climate goals and improving our local communities. We also joined our friends at the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association in advocating for design “Option 1,” which includes adding a buffered bike lane to each of the two streets. At a well-attended meeting in August, the Eureka City Council directed staff to move ahead with
The Arcata Plaza
EcoNews readers know that CRTP has also been advocating for improvements to the Arcata Plaza for over a year, and we continue to do so. Our proposals include closing 8th and 9th Streets to most vehicles on the Plaza, while turning G & H Streets into slow-speed “pedestrian priority” zones. Although we have received broad support for these proposals, we know not everyone agrees with us. But we remain convinced that implementing them, while following other recognized principles for the design of successful public spaces, will improve downtown Arcata for everyone. You can sign a petition supporting these proposals at www.transportationpriorities.org/plaza.