For over 10 years, the Humboldt County Association of Governments, the City of Eureka and Caltrans have been looking at ways to improve the Broadway corridor to make it prettier, less congested, and most importantly, safer. And, once again, the public will have a chance to comment on the latest proposed Broadway Multimodal Corridor Plan during HCAOG’s board meeting on Thursday.
Planners have looked at many different approaches to addressing Broadway’s safety and traffic issues and have identified the controversial Double Couplet Option — which proposes building two new segments of one-way road to the west of Broadway — as the preferred plan. One of the couplets would run between Fourth Street and Koster Avenue, passing through the area known as the Balloon Track, and the other would run between Hawthorne Street and the Bayshore Mall.
Opponents of this plan — including Humboldt Baykeeper and the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities — argue that this option is not feasible because it requires building through coastal wetlands, something that the California Coastal Commission would not be likely to approve. But planners argue that the commission has approved similar projects, such as the 101 Safety Corridor improvements, and say that the existing segments of Broadway are too constrained to allow for adequate safety improvements.
The City of Eureka and Caltrans are working together to find some short term solutions to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety on Broadway. Caltrans has also applied for a grant to begin improvements to the southern portion of the corridor between Herrick Avenue and Truesdale Street. HCAOG Executive Director Marcella May says they are hoping to hear good news about that grant soon.
One thing all of the stakeholders agree on is that something needs to be done to deal with the Broadway nightmare sooner rather than later. “Three people have died since we started this plan,” May told the Outpost.
Members of the public will have a chance to comment either during the HCAOG meeting on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. or by emailing or mailing written comments to the board by Jan. 13. Once the public comment period has ended, the plan will return to the board for adoption at a future meeting
You can find more information in the following press release from HCAOG:
The Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG), the City of Eureka, and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), are proposing new improvements to save lives, reduce traffic accidents, improve pedestrian access, provide bicycle facilities, improve traffic flow and freight movement and provide transit lanes where possible on Broadway between Herrick Avenue and the 4th Street on Highway 101.
Highway 101 is the most highly traveled and crowded roadway in Humboldt County. It is important for both quality of life and economic development that residents, commuters, and visitors be able travel easily whether they are choosing to walk, bike, drive or use transit to get around. HCAOG, the City of Eureka and Caltrans are all working together on this plan to identify projects that will be competitive to receive funding and can ultimately be constructed.
The community is encouraged to join the HCAOG Board meeting to watch a presentation on the Broadway Plan, offer improvements and join the conversation. Meeting information can be found at this link: HCAOG Board Meeting Information.
Community input pays a vital role in making improvements and recommendations regarding the network of transportation options made available through Humboldt County. The public may submit comments on the Broadway Plan via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail addressed to Beth Burks, HCAOG Executive Director, 611 I Street, Suite B, Eureka, CA 95501 until January 13, 2021. The HCAOG Board will consider adoption of a Final Broadway Plan at a future meeting.