Trees or trails?

That appears the be the question Caltrans is asking with its latest project proposal, which would widen four bridges along the Avenue of the Giants to accommodate non-motorized traffic.

According to the Times-Standard report, Caltrans acknowledges the project could have a variety of environmental impacts. And they’re not kidding.

Construction of the bridges would occur in habitat for protected marbled murrelets and northern spotted owls, and would not be stopped during nesting season in order to complete construction during dry weather, the notice reads. The project would involve working in the root zone of redwoods, or placing paving over roots.

Additionally, Caltrans would divert four tributaries of the South Fork of the Eeel River “for one to two seasons,” with obvious impacts to habitat and salmon.

Now, we’re not ones to go teary-eyed at the thought of a tree or two getting its feelings hurt. Nor do we think for a minute that the disingenuous hoopla over the Richardson Grove project has shit to do with the environment. It is instead a transparent attempt to continue to obstruct business development in Humboldt County. Period. There’s more environmental damage right now on the Northcoast Environmental Center’s property in Arcata than the Richardson Grove project would ever cause.

But the Avenue bridges project sounds like it could have very real impacts, and we hope the review process is both thorough and transparent.

On that score, sadly, Caltrans may not be getting off to the best start. John Driscoll notes,

The initial study was not attached to the notice, and an e-mail to the project manager was not returned by deadline. Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbee said that more information on the project will be made available on the Caltrans website on the day of the February meeting.

Yeah. Not cool, Caltrans. Get your story straight on this, or your bridges project won’t have a spotted owl’s chance in hell.

23 Responses

  1. Sheezus, Bugs. I was hoping for something a bit more polarizing.

  2. We live to disappoint.

  3. Well said. I agree on all counts.

  4. I hate it when you’re reasonable.

  5. Am I on the wrong blog?

    Kidding. You’re straight up about the Richardson Grove BS. Big trucks stock big stores and we all know how the progs feel about retails establishments owned by someone other than Bill Pierson.

  6. Poor Caltrans. They are damned of they do and damned if they don’t. They are actually being quite smart by starting with a more aggressive stance and giving themselves room to negotiate. The problem with the RG project is that they laid their best offer out first and had no room left to let the environmental groups claim some sort of win.

    In this case they have a groovy bike project that the progs will like and have time to seem like they are bending to pressure by introducing the same mitigation measures being proposed in RG. Only this time the EPIC will feel like it was their idea. Very smart Caltrans, very smart!

  7. That makes sense, Anonymous. But I think the groovie grovies would have fought Jefferson Grove anyway. No economy can grow without efficient transport, and the progs can be relied on to do everything they can to throttle economic growth.

  8. My sense is that most of them don’t care, even within EPIC. But they got mortgages and kids to feed and “saving” a well known grove of redwoods brings in the donations.

  9. But that doesn’t explain why Caltrans is withholding the report information until the day of the meeting where it will be discussed. I don’t care what your politics are, that’s just infuriating.

  10. I bet if the progs needed trucks that size to get their pot to LA that road would get straightened around in a hurry.

  11. hey, as long as all of that environmental degradation that’s to be caused is for a noble and worthy cause…….letting bikes and non motorized traffic thru…..i’m all for it.

  12. Maybe CalTrans is trying deflect heat off of the RG project by proposing this one with actual environmental impacts.

    As a fisheries biologist, the creek diversions are really not a big deal, the flow will still go down the channel, it will just diverted into a bypass pipe so that the project area is dewatered and the bridges can be worked on. We do it all the time when upgrading culverts for fish passage projects.

  13. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

  14. CalTrans should not be in the appease the orgs business – they are there to build roads, and maintain roads – this latest touchy feely crap os just buying in to the delay and obstruct crowd’s agenda. Someone in the State legislature needs to act like the adult in charge and put an end to this. Don’t abdicate and leave a state agency out having to waste time and money on “visioning.”

    That’s the Lovelace/HumboldtWatershed Council/Baykeeper/NEC/EPIC/ERF BS and all it is doing is adding to the problems of a state that is nearing bankruptcy.

    Decisions to build should be made elsewhere, and by the time CalTrans gets the order, they should get to work. This is not a private developer having to go begging and god knows there’s enough of that too.


  15. I think there should be local input on projects, that’s only fair. But the Richardson Grove project has been derailed by special interest groups that don’t have the environment in mind. I agree with the bugs, it’s about halting business development.

    They have made their points and their concerns have been addressed. Now re-align the road for God’s sake. It’s way past due.

  16. It is not just the environmental groups either. Other State agencies are just as bad. $1,000,000 in transportation funds diverted to College of the Redwoods Ag program to mitigate lost Ag land for the Alton Interchange, $700,000 to State Parks for trashcans in Richardson Grove… The list goes on and on.

  17. We also have remember it was the business community that killed the Eureka Bypass. Now were stuck with Broadway for ever. Ironic Arcata doesn’t have the same traffic mess.

  18. There was a Times-Standard My Word by some guy who retired here from SoCal eight years ago and is out protesting the Richardson Grove project with all the other people who aren’t from here. According to this Humboldt County expert, the project would imperil several of the last old growth trees in the area. I guess maybe eight years hasn’t been enough time to get out much and look around. The hysteria of the last-tree-in-Humboldt-County bunch is, well, hysterical. It’s also telling that he doesn’t need to work for a living and apparently then doesn’t mind making decisions that harm those of us who do. I assure you, Mr. SoCal, that there are more trees than jobs in this county, and it’s a damn shame you care about one of those and not the other.

  19. I don’t hate much. Life is too short. I do hate closed minds which is the proggie mantra and I hate socal and their idiots who transplant their asses up here.

  20. And they were wrong. Because now not only is the traffic a problem, buts its all going to Costco, Bayshore Mall, and Target. Also that the judges did not want to drive to court out on Indianola, so the jail is in the middle of town and on and on we go. You can continue to dwell on the past and point finger/make whiner comments. Or we can learn and move on positively.

    Old town Eureka is doing better, Arcata has an industrial zone out West end Rd., and if it can ever get going a great industrial area in McKinleyville at the airport.

    I have been camping at Ricardsons Grove since the late 50’s. It is indeed a special place. But if we do not have work for local folks this area will die. Grants are just tax money from people. They are not product.

  21. So true, CTD. In fact grants are the least efficient way to fund something – it’s money that is TAKEN FROM the area, and then doled back, after going through all the middlemen TO the community. Not necessarily to be used as the community needs or desires, but in order to suit somebody’s idea of what they should do.

    It’s really become very detrimental. And yet people chase the money because they need the money. Never ends.

  22. Does anyone have the address to the appointing secretary to Jerry Brown? I want to send them an anti lovelace letter

  23. You have your straw man. You have won the elections. Now show us the jobs. Is there a local election that wasn’t won by followers of the Humbug other than DA? Rose has that covered so show us the prosperity and jobs and loose the attacks on Mark Lovelace. How can one man be so effective that he turns a blog full of winners into a blog of whiners? Weak.

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