The Eureka City Council voted last night to move forward with reducing the number of lanes on H and I streets, establishing an advisory committee on needle exchange and directed staff to bring back a proposed ordinance for cannabis lounges.
Council members selected the first of three options for creating traffic calming measures on two of the city’s most well-traveled thoroughfares, which includes adding striping on Harris Street to denote parking, creating bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements such as “bulb-outs,” flashing beacons and lighted crosswalks at intersections.
The city will be looking at grants to cover the estimated $4.7 million price tag.
Councilmember Marian Brady cast the sole dissenting vote, citing the cost and saying she believes that the city could move forward with other measures such as “nice, brilliant crosswalks” to help accomplish the intended results.
Other council members voiced strong support for the project.
Councilmember Kim Bergel thanked the large crowd that turned out for the agenda item for having a respectful discussion, noting that the issue has been under consideration for at least a decade due to the city’s high collision rates.
She noted the busy nature of streets like H and I keep neighbors from interacting with each other.
“I’m excited about the positive changes that are happening in our city,” Bergel said.
Councilmember Heidi Messner agreed, adding the measures will also help promote increased livability and beautification in the impacted neighborhoods.
She noted that no parking will be lost and that safety, not bike lanes, is the focus of the project.
“It really is something that is greatly needed in our community,” she said.
In other business, the council unanimously approved moving ahead with establishing a community advisory board “for the purpose of reducing the negative impacts of syringe litter within the city of Eureka.”
The committee is slated to include board members from the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction, which has been a lightning rod of controversy amid growing frustration about the onslaught of discarded syringes found on city streets, parks and alleyways. Read more about the issue, here
The council also directed staff to bring back a proposed ordinance to allow so-called “cannabis lounges” within city limits so tourists and locals alike have a place to legally consume the product in all its forms. Read previous coverage here
Read the draft report on changes to H and I streets below: