Solutions to the Pedestrian Safety Crisis on Broadway

by Caroline Griffith

The City of Eureka, along with Humboldt County Association of Governments and CalTrans, are developing a plan to address safety and multimodal transportation along the Broadway Corridor of South Eureka. The goal of the plan is to reduce congestion and enhance safety by encouraging a variety of different transportation options along the corridor. Those who pay attention to transportation planning will know that there have been numerous studies and plans throughout the years to improve this particular stretch of roadway. The agencies involved say that this plan is different in that it widens the scope of land that is being looked at for potential improvements. The area under consideration stretches from slightly east of Broadway all the way to the Bay, meaning that some wetland areas are included in the study area.

Under the leadership of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, NEC, Humboldt Baykeeper and EPIC submitted comments to the City of Eureka, HCAOG and CalTrans focused on alleviating the pedestrian safety crisis and reducing vehicle miles travelled. The letter urges decision makers “to take quick action to improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists within the existing Broadway right-of-way, and to utilize all available funding sources to do so. The situation is too grave to wait for other possible long-term changes to the corridor to materialize.” 

In order to alleviate this crisis, the groups suggest “dramatically improving pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, particularly opportunities for safe crossings of Broadway; encouraging more people to use non-vehicular transportation in the corridor (safety in numbers) by improving transit performance, and improving access to and from the corridor for active transportation.

Specific suggestions include: 

Prioritizing pedestrians and bicyclists at existing intersections; 

Increasing the length of time available for crossing streets; 

Providing a leading pedestrian and bike signal interval for increased safety; 

Providing pedestrian refuges; 

Improving signage, lighting, and visibility of crosswalks;  

Adding additional safe crossing opportunities for pedestrians between intersections, especially at locations where mid-block street crossings are already common, and at bus stops.

According to their website, the plan will take approximately 18 months to complete. It began in June 2019 and is scheduled to be completed by November 2020. Those who have an interest in transportation and bicycle and pedestrian safety can visit to submit comments and share ideas using the Broadway 101 Corridor interactive mapping tool.