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'Most at Risk'

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Editor:

The Journal and other local media outlets report regularly on local car and truck crashes that seriously injure and kill people ("One Killed, Another Injured in 101 Crash," posted April 2). The death toll on our streets and roads is a national disgrace. It is a particularly acute problem here in Humboldt County, and our most vulnerable road users are most at risk.

Mapping local crashes that have resulted in serious injuries or deaths makes one thing very clear: Serious crashes are concentrated on state highways. Deadly crashes involving people walking and biking are particularly common where state highways pass through communities, like Broadway, Fourth and Fifth streets in Eureka.

Caltrans has made significant progress in recent years toward prioritizing safety for all modes of transportation, and the agency deserves credit for those changes. But that improvement is not coming quickly enough, and there are still conflicting pressures and outdated policies that hold back progress on safety. 

That's why my organization, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, is so excited that Senator Wiener has introduced Senate Bill 960, the Complete Streets Act. This bill would create a legal mandate for Caltrans to provide safe facilities for all kinds of road users, along with accountability mechanisms to ensure that more progress is made.

Communities here on the North Coast clearly need safer state highways for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers, and we would see huge benefits from this bill being made law. The bill will have its first committee hearing soon, and I encourage anyone concerned about transportation safety to express their support to our region's representatives — Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood — as well as to the members of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Colin Fiske, Arcata

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