It is easy to be overwhelmed by despair about the impending climate crisis, to look away, give up (Mailbox, March 24). An antidote to hopelessness is action in community. There are local programs through which we can do our part to slow climate catastrophe. One such proposed program is Arcata's Gateway Plan, which will promote infill housing and multi-family units in walkable (climate friendly) distance from Arcata's town core in order to meet current housing shortages and future projected growth.
The Gateway Plan values sustainability. Car travel and housing are drivers of climate change. This plan de-emphasizes car travel and prioritizes bike/pedestrian/bus travel. Gateway residents will have easy non-car access to the rest of Arcata, reducing fossil fuel use. There are incentives in the plan to reduce fossil fuel use in housing by encouraging electrification. These incentives should be as strong as possible.
The Gateway Plan values housing equity. Currently, out-of-the-area buyers are dominating the market, driving up the price of home ownership and rentals, pricing out locals. We need home ownership and rental options for all levels of income. The Gateway Plan aims to incentivize economically integrated housing.
The plan values city vibrancy. The plan proposes a gradual transition of K St. from light industry/vacant lots to commercial and retail with setback residential units above, creating a more vibrant city "gateway" into Arcata. An important feature is that no existing businesses would have to move if they did not want to.
There is currently much debate about this plan because we all care about our town. I hope Arcatans will keep discussing, offering feedback, going on the guided city walks to get factual information. The Gateway could be a positive addition to our city while providing much needed housing and doing our part to slow climate change.
Cathy Chandler-Klein, Arcata