January 2012


VOL. 31 NO. 1     

 January 2012

Newsletter of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association
P. O. Box 9054 Eureka CA 95502

Thanks to the New and Renewed Members for 2012!

New Members:

  • Nancy Noll, Arcata***

Renewed Members:

  • Mike & Bonnie Walund, Eureka
  • Will Dvorak & Carole Beaton, Eureka***
  • P-A & George WinterSun, Eureka***
  • Carl & Judy Cooper, Bayside**
  • Marylou Avanzino, San Jose**
  • Daryl & Phyllis Chin, Arcata**
  • Lisa Hoover, Blue Lake***
  • Ralph Martinelli, Eureka**
  • Gail Popham, Eureka**
  • Frank Schmidt, Arcata**
  • Laura & Mike Cent, Eureka***
  • Lloyd McClelland, Eureka**
  • Kristi Wrigley, Eureka***

If you have not yet renewed your membership for 2012, please do so by using the membership application at the end of the newsletter.
Those with a ** have made additional donations to the HBBCA. Those with *** have made donations of $25 or more. Thank you for your generous donations to the HBBCA.

The Next Regular Meeting will be held on January 23rd in Eureka

The next regular HBBCA meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m., Monday, January 23rd, at Chapala’s Café, 2nd and C Streets in Eureka.  Dinner is optional.   Agenda items may be suggested by emailing Rick Knapp at info@humbike.org

Doby Class Meets with HBBCA at its Regular Meeting of November 28th

Doby Class, Director of Public Work for the City of Arcata, along with Morgan Kessler, his assistant, attended the regular meeting of the HBBCA on November 28th, at the invitation of the HBBCA Board of Directors. 

Rick Knapp handed out an “Analysis of H Street Project as it Affects Cyclists in Arcata.”   What’s not to like about the project (between 9th and 11th Streets).  It included:

1. Cyclists have lost a bike lane.

2. Cyclists are forced between planters and curbs and into the car zone.  

3. The City is incurring liability by placing fixed objects in the lane.

4. Motorists in right lane approaching 11th or 10th must change into the left lane and back into the right lane if they want to turn right, creating unnecessary merging.

5. The painted “greenway” is not visible in the direction of travel when the sun is shining.

6. Some cyclists are ignoring the slot between the planters and the curb because they feel it is unsafe, resulting in merging into and out of the through traffic lane to the left.

7. According to pre-construction plans, the right-turn only lanes were not supposed to apply to cyclists.   However, no signing exists to allow cyclists to ride through the intersections.

8. Delivery vehicles are parking in the right lane, blocking use by cyclists in violation of CVC 22500(h), which permits only school buses to park in lanes. 

What can be done to improve the situation? 

1. Remove the planters to allow the roadway to operate in a more safe and efficient manner for cyclists and motorists.

2. Add sign modifications and pavement markings to indicate that cyclists may ride in the through direction at right turn-only lanes.

3. Delivery trucks should use alleyways to load/unload. 

At the meeting, Doby Class and Morgan Kessler indicated that some problems will be alleviated when signing is added.   They indicated the signing portion of the project was not completed. 

They indicated they were “trying to be innovative.”   That is commendable, adhering to state standards is important to cyclists so that facilities are consistent and predictable from one part of the city to another and between cities throughout the State. 

Class said there would be an agenda item brought back to the Council, likely on January 4th, and that the material we provided would be helpful in the discussion.  Further, he said that the agenda item should be available online by December 31.  [1/2/12 Update: There is no item on the posted agenda regarding the H Street project.] 

Rick Knapp also raised the issue of bike parking in the City and the letter sent by Rick Knapp on September 4, 2011, which he felt had not been adequately addressed to date.   The letter included recommended placement criteria and locations where racks were needed.   The letter was developed in conjunction with Green Wheels.   Class and Kessler were very complimentary of the material presented in the letter.   Kessler said he like the methodology and considers it a guide to follow in the future.   Class said the City “will do what is suggested in the letter.”   The letter identified nearly 40 locations where bike racks should be added, with emphasis on the downtown core and the needs of commuting cyclists.   We are hopeful that the City will move on the recommendations in 2012.

HBBCA Member hit by Truck While Riding on Scenic Drive near Trinidad

Longtime member of the HBBCA and former Mayor of Arcata, Bob Ornelas, was hit while riding his bike on Scenic Drive near Trinidad on November 29th.   Bob suffered five broken ribs and a punctured lung. 

According to a story in the Times-Standard, Bob “tried to move over to let a truck pass at about 1 p.m. when his bicycle hit mud and he fell, according to his wife and current Arcata Mayor Susan Ornelas.”   Susan said the truck hit her husband when he fell.  She also said “The ribs take a long, long time to heal, but the good think is his head wasn’t injured at all.   His helmet was fine!!” 

12/28/11 Update:  Rick Knapp talked to Bob.   He said he celebrated his one month anniversary of the crash by going out with friends and family for a beer.   He said he is also prescription drug free—finally going cold turkey—and had his best night of sleep yet last night.   He still has much to recover from.   His left arm was severely injured.   The ribs aren’t well yet, and he isn’t on a bike yet.   But, he’s walking several miles a day and is setting up an exercise bike.   He expects to be in a lot better shape in 3 to 4 weeks.   He said the folks at Mad River Hospital took very good care of him the week he was there.   They told him that he was in great health and would recover fully.

Humboldt County Bike Map Update Due Out Soon

According to HBBCA member and RCAA Natural Resources employee, Emily Sinkhorn, the draft of the updated Humboldt County Bike Map is nearly ready.   She expects about 8,000 to 10,000 maps to be printed in 2012.   We will announce its availability when printing has been completed.

Humboldt County Association of Governments Approves Modified Eureka-Arcata Corridor Project

On December 1, the HCAOG Board approved a $16 million “phased-project” for the Eureka-Arcata Corridor project.   Instead of the originally proposed full interchange at Indianola Road, they approved a phased project which would initially involve a “half interchange” at Indianola Road, initially saving about $8 million in funding from the region’s State Transportation Improvement Program funds. 

At Indianola Road, what this means is that the northbound Route 101 roadway will be elevated with a bridge over Indianola Road.   Northbound Route 101 traffic will be able to exit via a ramp to Indianola Road.  Westbound Indianola Road traffic will be able to enter northbound Route 101 via a ramp.   For the southbound Route 101 direction, traffic wanting to enter or exit  Indianola Road, will do so essentially as it does today, but with a bridge to cross under. 

The “half signal” at Airport Road consists of traffic signals northbound traffic only, which will allow Airport Road traffic to cross and enter southbound Route 101 with northbound traffic stopped. 

The project will result in the cross-median closure of all other intersections between Airport Road and Bayside Road.  That includes Mid City, California Redwood, Bracut and Bayside Cutoff. 

What this means for cyclists is that there will be substantial out-of direction travel except for through bike traffic.  As an example, a cyclist going from Mid City to Eureka would have to go north to Indianola Road in order to head back south to Eureka, and would still have to cross two lanes of southbound traffic.   A cyclist going from Bayside to Eureka would have to travel north to the Samoa Boulevard interchange to go south on 101, or use Old Arcata Road. 

The project still requires a permit from the California Coastal Commission.   Commission staff has responded negatively to the previous recommended alternative.

Mad River Bridge Project Proceeding Ahead of Schedule

Calrans has reported that the Route 101 bridge replacement project at Mad River at McKinleyville is proceeding well ahead of schedule.   According to the Resident Engineer, Tom Fitzgerald, the project is 80% complete and 20% ahead of schedule.   He anticipates that four lanes of traffic will be restored this winter.   However, he told Rick Knapp that the bicycle detour will unfortunately have to remain in effect until the new bridge is completed, now expected in summer 2012.  

The project will include 10 foot shoulders to accommodate bike traffic, a major improvement to the zero to four foot shoulders cyclists had to use in the past.   In addition, the project will include an 8-foot multiuse path, separated from traffic from Wiemer Road to North Bank Road.

Thanksgiving Day Cyclist Killed on Route 101 in McKinleyville Tested Positive for Meth

By Rick Knapp, President

On Thanksgiving Day, a bicyclist was killed on southbound Route 101, ¼ mile north of the Airport Road Overcrossing in McKinleyville, about 5:15 p.m...   The initial brief news release from the CHP indicated the cyclist was “riding his bicycle in the #2 lane southbound” when he was hit from behind and killed at the scene.   And, he was hit by three vehicles.  Only one very brief article followed in the Times-Standard which left many questions unanswered.   I followed up with the CHP, the Times-Standard and the Northcoast Journal in an effort to get the complete story.   Finally, on December 10th, the Times-Standard wrote a comprehensive story after consulting with the CHP.   Here’s what they found: 

1. Brian William Davenport of Eureka, age 52, tested positive for methamphetamine at a high level, marijuana and two prescribed drugs.

2. Davenport appeared to be crossing from the slow lane to the fast lane.   He was hit by a motorist traveling 55 – 60 mph in the middle lane and then by two other motorists.   All motorists stopped at the scene.

3. It was dark and rainy.

4. Davenport had no lights on his bicycle.

5. He was not wearing a helmet.

6. None of the vehicle drivers were impaired. 

This was a tragic collision and undoubtedly one that the three motorists and their passengers, as well as other witnesses will never forget. 

Our condolences go to the family and our thoughts are with those who were involved and witnessed this tragic collision.

Letters to the Editor

Rick - just wanted to say how much I savored the latest issue of Wheel People. So much useful information about bike lanes and projects, plus an accurate account of the circumstances of Marcus' encounter with a motorist.   He's so lucky not to be badly injured!

I haven't yet tried the new lane configuration in downtown Arcata but will soon. I really appreciate that HBBCA is actively involved in the planning stages with projects on our streets and highways.    

Thank  you!

Betty Jain, Arcata 

Thank you for your good work and efforts on behalf of the bicycling community.  

[In her note, Lisa volunteered to be available to work on tasks like attending meetings and writing letters in support of cycling causes.] 

Lisa Hoover, Blue Lake 

P. S.   Lisa also made a considerable contribution to the HBBCA along with her dues renewal.   Thanks, Lisa, for your continued strong support.

Reprinting Letter from San Francisco Chronicle of November 21, 2011

“Texting driver who killed toddler get 5-day jail sentence” (Nov. 17): 

The toddler had her whole life in front of her.   I hope that the bicyclist who wasn’t texting when he killed an elderly woman (“Bicyclist faces manslaughter charge in pedestrian’s death,” Nov. 16), who lived most of her life, gets a comparable sentence….maybe one day? 

Thanks, Gov. Jerry Brown, for vetoing Sen. Joe Simitian’s texting bill with harsher penalties (“Vetoes kill bills on kids’ ski helmets, phone fines,” Sept. 8) 

Texting drivers should be encouraged to continue their murderous behavior? 

John Chan, San Francisco 

[Editor’s comment: While we might not agree totally with the letter above, it makes some strong points.   Governor Brown vetoed a bill that would have increased the fines for phone use and texting, believing we have adequate penalties already.   Adequate for what?   It seems there are more drivers with phones in hand every day and a new generation of drivers who left the crib while texting.   He also vetoed the bill that would require 3 feet of space when passing a bicycle.]

Nominations Being Accepted for Bike Commuter of the Month

If you know someone who is a dedicated bike commuter that might inspire others, please send a nomination to us along with the reasons you have nominated the individual.   Then, we’ll contact him/her for an interview that will be included in the next newsletter.   Send nominations to info@humbike.org or call Rick Knapp at 445-1097.

HBBCA Board of Directors (Rev. 1/2012)

President---------------------- Rick Knapp

445-1097(h) email: info@humbike.org

Vice-President---------------- Brett Gronemeyer

845-2117(h); 441-5770(w)

Secretary/Treasurer---Gail Popham,

444-3316(h); 445-5204(w)

Director of Publicity………… vacant

Director of Planning----- vacant 

If anyone is interested in filling a Board seat, or becoming more involved, please call one of the Board members above.

Who to Call When You See a Safety Concern (Rev. 1/2012)

The HBBCA checked with agencies in the Humboldt Bay region to determine appropriate contact personnel to respond to bike-related issues.  If you see a condition that needs to be corrected in order to improve safety or convenience for cyclists such as a pothole in a bike lane, accumulated debris on a roadway shoulder, the need to re-stripe a bike lane, or the need to clear vegetation encroaching on a shoulder, call the responsible agency/person listed below. 

Of course, if you see a condition that requires immediate attention, like a stop sign knocked down, call 9-1-1.  For non-emergency conditions, the following contact information is provided: 

Mark Suchanek, Deputy District Director
445-6393        Mark_Suchanek@dot.ca.gov

County of Humboldt
Wendy Meeks, Dispatcher
445-7421 wmeeks@co.humboldt.ca.us
Abandoned Vehicles: Wally Williams,
County Sheriff’s Office, 268-3629 

City of Arcata
Monica Campbell,
Public Works Administrative Assistant
822-5957 pubworks@arcatacityhall.org

Abandoned Vehicles:
Arcata Police Dept. at 822-2424 

City of Eureka
Pearl Mendoza
Public Works Administrative Assistant
441-4192 pmendoza@ci.eureka.ca.gov
with cc: shutchison@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Abandoned Vehicles: Mary Kirby
mkirby@eurekapd.org, 268-5232

Please Join or Renew Your Membership for 2012 (Rev. 1/2012)

The HBBCA is working to improve and encourage bicycle commuting.  Help make it happen by joining now or renewing your membership for 2012.  

Your $5.00 annual dues, paid on a calendar year basis, will help pay for youth helmets, this newsletter, our website, BikeSmart promotions, Bike Month activities and prizes, postage, etc.   And, it will help demonstrate your commitment to our goal. 

With your membership card, you may request the following discounts on bike parts and accessories: 10% (or more) at Henderson Center Bicycles; 10% at Revolution Bicycle Repair; 15% at Adventure’s Edge; 10% at Pro Sport Center, 10% at the Outdoor Store and 15% at Sport and

Cycle.  Starting February 2011, membership cards began including stickers on the back showing discounts offered by the various shops.

Please click here to download our Membership Application.