File photo: Redwood Transit Authority.

Do you want to take the bus to work, but there isn’t a stop close to you? Is there not enough bus service during the hours you need it? Or maybe you have other public transit needs that aren’t being met by our local service? If so, now is the time to share your thoughts with the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) during a public hearing on the community’s unmet transit needs at tonight’s Eureka City Council meeting. 

The hearing is part of HCAOG’s annual unmet transit needs assessment, during which the agency tries to gather as much public feedback as it can and determines how to distribute Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds to help improve our local public transit services. 

Cities throughout Humboldt will hold public hearings over the next couple of months, including at the Arcata City Council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, the Trinidad City Council meeting on Oct. 11 and the Fortuna City Council meeting on Oct. 17. (You can view a full list of public hearings hereto find one in your area.) If you can’t make it to any of the meetings, you can also fill out the online survey, email your suggestions to or call 707-444-8208. Comments must be submitted by Dec. 31. 

After the comments close, HCAOG’s Social Services Transportation Advisory Council will review the comments and determine if any are “reasonable to meet,” and submit them back to HCAOG for review. So, you probably shouldn’t waste your time submitting outrageous ideas like flying buses or anything like that, because that wouldn’t be reasonable. 

In the past, suggestions that were funded included adding bus service along Old Arcata Road and adding service near the Bear River Casino. Both of these bus lines were canceled after two years, however, due to low ridership. So if your needed service is added, make sure to use it and encourage others to ride the bus more too! If you don’t regularly ride the bus, check out this handy how-to guide from Tom Wheeler


Later in tonight’s meeting, the Eureka City Council will consider a revision of the City’s Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance. If you don’t know what that is (this reporter certainly didn’t), it’s an ordinance the council adopted in 2019 making property owners responsible for maintenance of the lower lateral – which is the sewer pipe connecting the property’s plumbing system to the public sewer main under the street. 

Illustration via City of Eureka.

Since the city adopted that ordinance, there have apparently been some issues with its effectiveness, with laterals not being replaced when they should be. According to the staff report, the main issue has been the cost to the property owners. 

“The main hurdle has been the fact that replacement of the lower lateral requires a Class A contractor due to the insurance requirements of working in the City right-of-way,” the staff report states. “The number of class A licensed contractors in our area is limited and owners were often having to hire two separate contractors to replace the upper and lower lateral. This increased the cost, complexity and duration of the process significantly.” 

To address this issue,  the council will consider implementing a set fee for lower lateral replacement and having the process carried out by the city. The fee amount would be  based on the average City bid cost of lateral repair/replacement over the previous two years, the staff report says. Additionally, to ensure that sewer laterals are being replaced more frequently, the council will consider amending the ordinance to include a point-of-sale trigger, which would require that the lower lateral be inspected and replaced if necessary prior to sale of a property. 


In other business, the council will consider adopting a Streetscape Improvement Fund Program, which would provide loans to businesses or commercial property owners that are making significant improvements to the streetscape. 

These improvements can include things like curb extensions, landscaped buffers, planters, seating, public art, lighting and bike parking. If a business or property owner wants to beautify the street outside of a building, they could be eligible for an up to $250,000 loan from the City of Eureka. The loan would be for 15 years at three percent interest. 

Improvement plans would have to be approved by the City and comply with all existing codes, permits and ordinances. The application process would go through the City’s Economic Development Department and loans of up to $100,000 could be approved by the city manager. Loans of more than $100,000 would need to be approved by the city council. 


If you have strong feelings on these topics, or just want to learn more about any of them, you’ll want to attend the Eureka City Council meeting tonight (Tuesday), Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at Eureka City Hall – 531 K Street. You can view the full agenda and directions on how to participate in-person or virtually here.