Three new articles: A high-density building, the State Density Bonus Housing Law, and reducing regulatory costs. The State Density Bonus Housing Law and how it affects us here in Arcata is the single most important issue facing the Planning Commission with regard to the success of the Gateway Plan.
NOW INCLUDES EUREKA COMMUNITY MEETING. Videos made during walkability expert Dan Burden's visit to Humboldt County on July 22-25, 2023. Free events took place in Arcata, McKinleyville, Eureka, and Blue Lake.
A selection of articles, maps, aerial images, and opinions on the L Street Corridor Linear Park and the proposal for and against the K-L Street couplet. Includes link to the Petition for the L Street Linear Park.
Partial build-out of the Gateway Area Plan. The Plan was finally adopted in 2031, following nine years of discussion and community input. A minor typographical error in the final version resulted in a 70-story maximum height, rather than the previously agreed-upon 7 stories. As anticipated, many developers opted to build smaller buildings than the allowable maximum.
The Full-Width Linear Park vs. the proposed K-L Street “Couplet” -- In terms of what the L Street pathway contributes to the joy and humanity of the Creamery District, if the southbound traffic currently on K Street were instead routed to L Street — Then the L Street Pathway as we know it and love it would have ceased to exist.
The first Gateway City Council / Planning Commission Joint Study Session took place on August 23, 2023. At this meeting, the three-person sitting Council unanimously affirmed that there will be no new road on L Street. The concept of a couplet with K Street and L Street is to be eliminated from the draft Gateway Area Plan. There is plenty to write about as take-aways from this meeting. Much good was said, and many misconstrued or false notions expressed also. All that will be in a separate article.
As a preview to the August 22, 2023, joint City Council / Planning Commission study session, the City Council says a big NO*NO*NO to the L Street Couplet, and a Yes to the Woonerf and full-width Linear Park. PLUS - thoughts on Inclusionary Zoning and BUILDING HEIGHTS in the Gateway area.
28-1/2 minute video and a full transcription. Discusses "Plan B" alternatives for a K-L Street couplet FOR THE FIRST TIME. Minimizes the issues with putting a new road on L Street. Declines to discuss the most obvious alternate to a K-L Street couplet: No new road there at all.
James Becker and Patricia Cambianica have been collecting signatures of people in favor of the L Street Linear Park. As of May 9, 2023, they have gathered over 715 people's names. At the March 14, 2023, meeting of the Arcata Planning Commission, Jim showed the commissioners just what these signatures look like.
The joint City Council / Planning Commission study session introduced big problems when an elated City Council considered the Transportation Safety Committee's strong recommendation for an L Street Pathway and Linear Park and tossed it out the window -- well, sent it back to the TransSafetyComm for them to review. This presentation was the cause. Is it filled with misleading and possibly false information? Read it, and you decide.
The City wants to destroy a quiet strolling pathway so that car and truck traffic will be split between L Street and K Street. Meanwhile, cities all over the world are attempting to get rid of car traffic in favor of walkable public spaces. A "Plan B" has been promised since January, 2022. An inadequate discussion of alternatives finally emerged in August 2023, over a year and a half later.
The Form-Based Code for the Gateway area is now called the Gateway Code. It specifies the building height and massing for each of the four districts in the Gateway area: Barrel, Corridor, Hub, and Neighborhood. I am not implying that 5-story or 7-story buildings will be built -- only that, by code, they can be built.
The Transportation Safety Committee met on January 18, 2022 — just six weeks after the draft Gateway Plan first came out. Gateway-related issues amounted to about 2-1/2 hours of that meeting. What is here is a 37-minute section of the audio of that meeting and a transcription of what was said. “This is an opportunity to really put our money where our mouth is in terms of making it a little less of a car-centric area.”
At the August 2, 2022, Transportation Safety Committee meeting Chair Dave Ryan spoke for 9 minutes on just why the plan's L-K Street Couplet should be abandoned -- and replaced with an L Street Linear Park and walking pathway -- and why this is the heart of a successful Gateway plan for Arcata.
Walkability expert Dan Burden will be in Humboldt County on July 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Named by TIME as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.” Named by Planetizen as one of the “Top 100 urbanists of all time.” *** FREE EVENTS in Arcata, Eureka, Blue Lake, and McKinleyville that you can attend.
A major component of the December 2021 draft Gateway Plan involves splitting the vehicle traffic on K Street and making a new L Street for the southbound traffic. Does the City have the rights-of-way to do this? Who knows?
At the April 11, 2023, Planning Commission meeting, the matters of how to achieve increased safety on K Street and the fate of what the Commissioners want to see on L Street -- Linear Park or thoroughfare road -- was discussed. Eventually there was a vote. The vote was tallied as 4 to 2 -- with 4 members supporting the motion and 2 opposed. ******** The motion changed mid-way through the voting discussion, and does not match what the Commissioners had expressed as what they wanted.
The Transportation Safety Committee at their September 20, 2022, meeting discussed how the City Council had asked the members to revisit and reconsider the strong recommendation to not construct the L Street - K Street Couplet. Instead, the TSC committee stated, the L Street Corridor should become a permanent Linear Park.
In June, 2010, the City of Arcata published a 160-page document titled "Arcata Rail With Trail Feasibility Study and Operations Plan." This detailed study is significant now for the Gateway Area Plan because of its depiction of how L Street would be converted into a Linear Park. With images and street designs. **** THIS IS A "MUST SEE" DOCUMENT by the Planning Commissioners, the City Council, and all citizens who want to see how exciting and desirable an L Street Corridor Linear Park could be.
David Loya dismisses the Transportation Safety Committee's input in a major way -- yet again. Arcata's Community Development Director David Loya has inadequately, inaccurately, or in a diminished fashion presented recommendations from the Transportation Safety Committee to the Planning Commission. **** David Loya's reply, and a response from Fred Weis ****
David Loya dismisses the Transportation Safety Committee's input in a major way -- yet again. Arcata's Community Development Director David Loya has inadequately, inaccurately, or in a diminished fashion presented recommendations from the Transportation Safety Committee to the Planning Commission. It is evident from past manipulations of the Transportation Safety Committee's recommendations that Director Loya cannot be trusted to convey information from the Committee.
This letter was sent by Dave Ryan, Chair of Arcata's Transportation Safety Committee, to David Caisse (the TSC liason), to the full Transportation Safety Committee, and to David Loya. It was distributed to the Planning Commissioners at their April 11, 2023, meeting. It was partially posted to the City's website -- just the first page, and not the whole letter -- on April 14. Here is the full letter from Dave Ryan.
A letter to Arcata's City Councilmembers and Planning Commissioners: This draft Form-Based Code has about 40% of the information and code that is needed for a good Form-Based Code. It fails to provide for the intents and interests and purposes of the Gateway Plan. It does not fulfil our needs.
At the November 8th, 2022, Planning Commission meeting, David Loya acted as though he was familiar with the 2010 City study that proposes what amounts to a linear park on the L Street Corridor. But from his speaking, it was clear he did not know what that study contains. A suggestion to him: Come to the Arcata1.com website and learn.
The May 16 Creamery meeting was essentially hijacked by David Loya and taken over for his own purposes. 42 people at the start, almost half left after the intro. Why? Because they were expecting an open meeting, where ideas could be discussed and concerns heard. Instead they were told that staff had selected six topics, and that they'd talk about those six topics.
WITH TRANSCRIPTIONS OF THE NOTES. ** Why was this "open discussion" meeting so controlled? In his introduction David Loya made clear what he was there to discuss. What the people there wanted to talk about apparently was not of large importance.
IMAGES OF NOTES from the neighborhood Creamery District meeting on May 16, 2023. There were people present who thought that this would be an open discussion about how the Gateway Plan might affect the Creamery District. Specifically, people wanted to discuss the question of the L Street Corridor Linear Park. David Loya told the group that the Linear Park was not one of the topics on that evening's list of topics to be discussed. Over 1/3rd of the people present walked out.
For what appears to be the fourth time, Arcata's Transportation Safety Committee has once again rejected the Gateway Plan and General Plan concept of the L - K Street Couplet. At their May 16, 2023, meeting, Chair Dave Ryan and other members of the Committee took mere seconds to reinforce what they have clearly stated as their firm position on the couplet concept for L Street: They are against it and feel it has no place in the modern design of Arcata's streets and traffic patterns. Arcata deserves the L Street Corridor as a people-oriented linear park.
Prior to the May 16, 2023, Creamery District meeting, it was expected that the purpose of the meeting was to have an open discussion with Creamery residents, business owners, and interested citizens on the potential impacts of the Gateway Plan on the Creamery District. That is what the Planning Commission asked for at their November 8, 2022, meeting. But that's not happened at the meeting.
The Planning Commissioners asked for a meeting with the Creamery community. At the time, Community Development Director David Loya agreed. But when the meeting occurred, it was not what the Commissioners had requested. As we have seen so many times, Director Loya did what he wanted to do. And once again Director Loya disregarded the expressed wishes of the Planning Commission -- and disregarded input from our community.
COME - PARTICIPATE - LEARN - ASK QUESTIONS - SHARE YOUR VIEWS **** A meeting with businesses, owners, workers, and all residents in the Creamery District Combining Zone on Tuesday, May 16th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will also be a meeting of the Planning Commission on Tuesday, May 23rd, starting at 5:30 p.m. to "discuss this topic." *** Includes maps and the letter sent out by the City.
Utilizing stop signs to regulate vehicle speeds and create traffic calming and pedestrian safety are the prescription that the Transportation Safety Committee and the Planning Commission have asked for. But City Engineer Netra Khatri is telling us that those stop signs might not be so easy to put in.
Let’s go the next step beyond travel lanes and bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks. Let’s design streets for living, not just driving. *** We used to grow up on the street. We’d play, we’d walk to the neighbors with a casserole for the block potluck, we’d ride bikes, play games, hang out, socialize. So would our pets. Drivers knew enough to watch out for us. We all survived and thrived. We want that again. ***
MIG is a design and planning firm with over 200 employees in 14 locations, founded in 1982. "We believe that the environment around us has a profound impact on our lives. We plan, design and sustain environments that support human development." "We are a community of designers, planners, engineers, scientists and storytellers engaging, involving and acting with people in creative problem solving."
This just goes to show that almost anything can become controversial. Last year, Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton warned Fox News viewers that Democrats "want to make you live in downtown areas, and high-rise buildings, and walk to work, or take the subway, or ride an electric scooter" and "make us all poor."
This letter from Playhouse Arts, Arcata's local arts agency, was sent April 4, 2022, to the City Council and staff. However it was not available to the public until August, four months later. Signed by 23 people.
“L Street will be where the city and the trail converge, creating a vibrant community gathering space.” ----
“Implementing the Arcata Rails With Trails] will help the region achieve a world-class recreation and transportation system. A multi-use trail facility will result in expanded recreation and mobility options for Arcata, Eureka, and Humboldt County residents and visitors, especially those who seek to integrate a healthy lifestyle into their daily activities.”
Maps of the "Land Use Designation" zoning districts of the Gateway area, with a proposal for a new district around the Creamery Building. The line through the central portion is a potential "L Street Pathway" linear park and walking "mall" that would extend from Alliance Road at the north and go to Samoa Boulevard at the south. It would be a car-free area, adjacent to the Creamery District arts area, alongside The Pub restaurant and many future restaurants and shops.
Businesses, Residents, Workers, and Visitors ** Come with questions, thoughts, and recommendations regarding the future L Street Linear Park and its enhancement for the Creamery District -- and for the entire Community. ** Wednesday, May 10th ** 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. ** The Playhouse Theater in the Creamery Building ** 1251 9th Street (9th & L ) in Arcata.
An open message to Arcata's City Council, and to every living, breathing person in Arcata who cares about our future. ---- Does a decision need to be made as to the fate of L Street, whether it's going to be a park or a thoroughfare street, prior to Ben Noble formulating much of the Form-Based Code? ---- This is the Council's chance to take an appropriate leadership position. To act otherwise is hypocrisy.
This map provides an orientation for some of the buildings and business locations in the Creamery area. The background is taken from the Draft Gateway Plan, and shows the proposed street parking situation. However, this parking plan is very inaccurate -- it is "high level" and does not incorporate driveway cutouts, business frontages, and other aspects of reality.
The "couplet" created by making K Street and L Street be one-way, one-lane streets seems unlikely to happen. And if it were to take place, the joyful humanity of the current L Street Pathway would be destroyed. Why does it seem that the City is not being forthcoming on this? Why aren't we presented with alternatives?
The L Street pathway could be a community jewel in the heart of the Gateway area. The City wants it to be a high-traffic road, taking all the southbound car and truck volume from Alliance Road to Samoa Boulevard.
Again and again and again, we hear it said that the Foster Avenue Extension was 20 or 30 years in its planning, and that if it hadn't been proposed and planned for then it never would have happened. The Foster Avenue Extension and the proposed new L Street couplet are different roads, for different purposes, in very different environments, and with completely sets of buildings (both existing and proposed) alongside them. Consequently they will have very different planning processes. The situations are 100% different --they are like night and day. There is very little in common between the two roads. *** WITH AERIAL PHOTOS ***
We're told the same long-range planning process -- where the Foster Avenue Extension took 30 years to build -- applies to Gateway's theoretical L Street. This is the proposed couplet new road that cuts through the heart of the Creamery Arts district... and makes a mockery of the serene spot that's been created over these years. The two situations are not remotely similar.
“Revise circulation plan to eliminate L Street as being considered for new streets and car traffic. This area is recommended to become a car-free linear park that prioritizes people.”
***** There have been questions raised whether this draft accurately or adequately reflects our recommendation regarding L St being designated a linear park.