Are you sitting down? Because we just put the squash on an age-old Humboldt County debate: What is the fastest way to get to Arcata from Eureka?
The safety corridor takes it. No contest. Samoa Boulevard is slower. Though at times Highway 101’s 50 miles-per-hour speed limit can feel constricting (my station wagon putters in protest, its four mighty cylinders begging for more gas) that straight safety stretch is definitely the quicker option, says highway patrol Officer Chase Adams. “Both time-wise and in mileage.”
Measured from the highway patrol station at the southern edge of Arcata to the Pachanga Mexicana restaurant in Eureka, where Highway 101 meets Highway 255, the safety corridor route is 7.4 miles and takes 10 minutes to drive, according to the Google machine. The back route, through Manila, is 9.3 miles long, and takes 16 minutes. The speed limit there is a heart-pounding sweat-palming 55 miles per hour.
The speed gap is likely to close in the future, making the safety corridor comparatively even quicker. During a conversation in March, 3rd District County Supervisor Mark Lovelace said that CalTrans is working on a plan to lower the speed limit through Manila. It’s unclear when the slow-down will occur. Anyway, that’ll be sweet for all those people with the “I drive 45 in Manila” signs and bumper stickers, and any other supporters of public safety.
As for which way is the pleasanter drive – “It’s completely objective,” Officer Adams says. “It depends whether you like dunes or eucalyptus trees.”
Populace, now informed: Go forth and commute.