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Federal challenge to Richardson Grove highway project

Challenge Seeks to Halt California Highway Project That Would Destroy Ancient Redwoods

[Press Release] SAN FRANCISCO— A coalition of conservation groups and local residents today asked a federal judge to stop California transportation officials from moving ahead with a controversial highway project that would jeopardize ancient stands of redwood trees in northern California’s Richardson Grove State Park.

The coalition seeks to halt plans by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to realign a section of Highway 101 that winds through old-growth redwoods in the park. The work would require crews to dig into the roots of towering redwoods that stand along the highway within park boundaries. Today’s filing asks a judge to stop the project until legal proceedings are complete.

The threat of possibly fatal damage to the prized ancient trees, as well as harm to sensitive wildlife posed by the controversial project, is driving today’s legal challenge, which is the second filed by the coalition. Caltrans has failed to evaluate impacts of the project in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

“The importance of this old-growth redwood stand, in view of the important heritage of the redwood forest, requires special consideration before projects that would impact the stand are allowed to go forward,” Joe McBride, a professor of forestry and landscape architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, said in today’s filing. “Substantial, irreparable damage would occur to the trees in the project area. This would, in turn, cause negative impacts to the overall health of the forest.”

McBride’s finding is based on his scientific review of the potential of impacts to each tree along the project route — a review plaintiffs show Caltrans failed to undertake.

“This project will cause major damage to one of our most prized state parks,” said Gary Hughes of the Environmental Protection Information Center, one of the plaintiff groups and spokesman for the coalition. “For Caltrans to railroad this multimillion-dollar project by grossly understating its impacts is a violation of the public’s trust and a wasteful use of taxpayer money.”

“With less than 3 percent of our ancient redwood trees remaining, we cannot allow Caltrans to injure and kill the precious giant trees of Richardson Grove State Park,” said Peter Galvin, conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We will fight this project to the end, no matter how long it takes.”

Plaintiffs are Trisha Lee Lotus, Bess Bair, Bruce Edwards, Jeffrey Hedin, Loreen Eliason, Environmental Protection Information Center, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics and the Center for Biological Diversity. They are represented by a team that includes Philip Gregory and former congressman “Pete” McCloskey of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, a law firm in San Francisco.

  1. What Now
    May 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    GOOD!
    I’m sending another check to EPIC today.

  2. Anonymous
    May 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    It’s all about the money. Whether you seek to gain it through aligning the road so STAA trucks can deliver goods in and out of Humboldt County to better the commerce or whether you want to fill the coffers of the environmental activist organization of your choice.

    Where were the protests when the bypass occurred between Orick and Klamath and between Klamath and Crescent City. That took out a grand swath of redwoods. I guess it was just a little too far to travel to protest and just wasn’t nearly sexy enough.

  3. Rationalist
    May 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Precious old-growth ecosytems don’t usually have highways running thru them (for like 75-yrs). If it is so precious, maybe we should close the drug rehab center, park housing, Burl stands, campground, and reggae on the river.

  4. woodsworker
    May 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Anonymous and rationalist–you are both incredibly ignorant, you so clearly don’t understand an f-ing thing about this project.
    The forestry study that’s at the base of this legal action is incredible and demonstrates Caltrans EIR isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

  5. Anonymous
    May 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Caltrans just wants to keep their business of using up tax money going. They do not care about studies and the truth. As a taxpayer I would rather see them pulling out invasive Pampas Grass and Scotch Broom. Leave our State Park alone.

  6. Ben
    May 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    This is a much needed project and it will happen even with the irrational hysteria about it.

  7. Down the Road
    May 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    How do all of the big semi-trucks for Safeway, K-Mart, Winco, Sears, and etc. get here? Do they go through Richardson Grove? I do know they all leave here empty. I also know most of these corps. would probably lease out room, even stage for the different destinations for anyone leasing.

    The redwoods were here before the dawning of Christianity. These trees cannot be replaced.

    It is stupid to think this highway widening is going to help the economy in Humboldt. The economy
    problem here is because of the coastal hillbilly governments and the assholes they cater to.

  8. Anonymous
    May 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    You can put an eight lane freeway to Humboldt and it will not help the economy in Eureka. Eureka is run by inept inbred locals that are trying to look good after their ancestors slaughtered the Native people. They now cater to welfare trash in hopes it will make them look compassionate and charitable. The economy will never flourish with these Hillbillies at the helm.

  9. Andrew Bird
    May 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I was there when the Save the Redwoods League’s arborist toured the project site. The SRL’s arborist concluded the project would not negatively impact the old growth redwood in Richardson Grove. The Save the Redwoods League has been around since 1918, decades longer than most environmental groups, and was responsible for saving the old growth that became Richardson Grove State Park in 1922. The Save the Redwoods League has one goal: to save old growth redwood.

  10. Anonymous
    May 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    well, that arborist must have a hidden agenda.

  11. Ponder z
    May 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Down the Road:

    The corporations sending in trucks now are using shorter trailers, per CHP and DOT regs.

    Most do go home empty. As most industry has been destroyed in Humboldt.

    New young redwoods sprout every day. If some stupid dope smoking hippie doesn’t crush it, it may live 2000 years.

    With a wider highway I can shave eleven seconds off my trip to the wine country.

    Stupid dope smoking hippies!

  12. Well said
    May 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    “Anonymous says:
    May 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    well, that arborist must have a hidden agenda.”

    Yeah, who you gonna believe me or your lying eyes.

  13. Fool On Hill
    May 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Dr. Stephen Sillett, Chair of the Redwood Forest Ecology Dept. at HSU, came to a different conclusion about the potential damage to roots in the construction zone. His letter to Caltrans dated 1/27/09 (page 767 of the FEIR) states, “Thus, I urge Caltrans to abandon plans to widen Highway 101.”

  14. pete
    May 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Save the Redwoods League isn’t what it used to be-that is apparent. Like everything else it becomes weak as time goes by and the original leaders die off. The organization becomes just another fat Non Profit.

  15. What Now
    May 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    “Anonymous says:
    May 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm
    You can put an eight lane freeway to Humboldt and it will not help the economy in Eureka. Eureka is run by inept inbred locals that are trying to look good after their ancestors slaughtered the Native people. They now cater to welfare trash in hopes it will make them look compassionate and charitable. The economy will never flourish with these Hillbillies at the helm.”

    Been randomly mixing meds with your liquor?
    Speaking of “inbred”, it appears your anscestors never so much as splasked their toes in the greater gene pool.

    “Andrew Bird says:
    May 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    …The Save the Redwoods League has been around since 1918, decades longer than most environmental groups, and was responsible for saving the old growth that became Richardson Grove State Park in 1922.”

    The Save the Redwoods League was an offshoot of the eugenicists-same shithead philosophy.

  16. Scott
    May 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Didn’t Hank mention the idea of a stoplight at each end of the grove? One lane of traffic would be plenty wide for those STAA trucks and no trees need to come out. But then you’ll have to wait an extra minute.

  17. Bolithio
    May 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    As soon as the opposition to this project stops yelling that old growth trees are going to be killed – when their not – people in the real world will take them seriously.

    The only valid argument against his project is its timing and need. The old growth issue is complete and utter poppycock.

  18. May 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I think some Posters are lost. They would be more at home at craigslist.org

  19. anonymous#1
    May 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Move the whole road across the river where it should have been built originally. Make it have a wide enough right of way to allow future rail possibilities. No new bridges needed and plenty of work for Cal-Trans.
    Then the park would be parklike with hikers, cyclists and campers enjoying the experience sans the traffic.

  20. Anonymous
    May 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you, Professor McBride, for your expert opinion! Surely, most scientists, botanists, and arborists (who aren’t employed by CalTrans) are in agreement.

  21. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Down the Road says:
    May 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm
    How do all of the big semi-trucks for Safeway, K-Mart, Winco, Sears, and etc. get here? Do they go through Richardson Grove? I do know they all leave here empty. I also know most of these corps. would probably lease out room, even stage for the different destinations for anyone leasing.

    The redwoods were here before the dawning of Christianity. These trees cannot be replaced.

    It is stupid to think this highway widening is going to help the economy in Humboldt. The economy
    problem here is because of the coastal hillbilly governments and the assholes they cater to.

    Response: Wow, that hit the nail on the head in a Beverly Hillbilly way, but, as an analogy, it sure is close to accurate; yet, ya can’t forget to include the wannabe urban enviro geeks who pull faces after emmigrating north from below or south from above or west from the east, etc………..

    Heck, when business “hides” its “books” claiming some “special trade secrets of that business would be exposed, thus benefitting the competitors”, what that business is really saying is that it does not want the consumer to comprehend the “price gougings” after those trucks have come and gone past.

    Again, a survey that works from the epicenter of the project area outwards that would show levels of support in various “constructs”, as there is no way a business is gonna pass along savings when it can make the extra profit, especially in this crap-canned economy Americans have fruitioned. Those “VERY FEW” businesses that do, either by customer noticing or business PR, are generally doing what “THE FEW” have usually done since I still believe some local businesses are ethical, fair and appropriate in “not gouging” – “gouging” is also “skimping” on the product,

    “like a steel gate where the LOCAL manufacturer takes 2 alike and in-kind gate styles, and on one order, welds the frick outta the connections, while on the other order, does not weld even the same necessary locations, thus reducing the # of welds over-all, making for a weaker gate with less man hours and materials included, but at a higher cost than the first order (less product, more cost = gouged AND skimped which begs the question for sustainable businesses and community health versus less community health and consumer price gougings that benefit enough of the business ownership class at the expense of the local consumer and mostly labor force – nothing union about this stuff when considering unequitable distribution of cash flows based on “business price gougings that translate to higher societal costs”) …….

    like a local furnace distributor who sells a brand new FAU unit(green technology or not – does it really matter type when the point is about the new purchase of new goods and service) that fails in under 2 seasons,

    or the local car lot transaction and the new car is in the repair shop within months for non-customer related issues, etc… SO, ya see, local business can be bungling itself while charging the consumer to train and pay for the bunglings to continue – hence why estimates/bids are 1.5 – 2+ times over-stated…..businesses use the customer’s money in bid form to pay for the “workmanship/manufacturer frack-ups” that business does on that specific customers project or consumer good. The local heavy “select-club” businesses, especially those tied to school bond measures and other social tax hike schemes that are fascist arrangements with obvious financial and opportunity kick-backs, are usually the biggest pocket-change reamers (definately not rectitude conduct by local boys and girls).

    Follow the money trail, either side of this issue – its is a checkmate stand-off, period.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  22. Bolithio
    May 26, 2011 at 7:13 am

    The other side of the river is completely unstable, at least once you get around the bend. Just look to your right when you pass over the old bridge.

  23. Anonymous
    May 26, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I am with the arborist at Save the Redwoods. The plan shows such a minor project, small changes, not many trees removed and no large ones, but people’s imaginations have gotten the better of them. Hysteria, if you will, and another good example of wrong information and assumptions making people act irrationally.

  24. May 26, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Why does it take 15 years to get something done around here that anywhere else in the world would take 6 months?

  25. May 26, 2011 at 7:30 am

    PS
    The trucks that leave here empty will not be leaving empty once they dredge the bay and create a deep water port in Humboldt Bay.
    Ask yourself why they wanted to put LNG storage here?

  26. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 26, 2011 at 8:15 am

    As far as “bay-shipping”,

    judging by historical observations and facts, a higher traffic base in a deeper water port will only de-preserve the natural ecosystem and marine life of Humboldt Bay and its tributaries. Afterall, all these weird non-local species that morph with indigenous species because of “humanoid shipping calamities” that exchange one species over here for that displacement of this species over there. Barnacles, seaweads, straggler species alongside vessels, ballast water exchanges, etc… yep, I’d rather have on the ground transport of goods and services – the planet’s water supply gets more “fracked-up” when we put stuff “DIRECTLY” into it…..good intentioned or not. It is just safer to stay “PHYSICALLY” outta the water when it comes to “industry” using water as a transport method. The ground travel, which is not “divided” by grand oceans and lakes, is safer imo, even when accidents do happen, the impacts are not generally as adverse as is “accidents within the ocean”. Yet, I do believe re-routing of industrial “land” transportation of goods and services is key in areas where water sources exist (to avoid those tip-over spills and such that make it into streams and rivers). Profiteers care more about an industrialized Humboldt Bay Deep Water Port idea than the consumer and/or non-profiteering guests/residents. In reality, it is non-industry that has way too many vehicles on the roadways (consumers).

    JL

  27. Spank Hank
    May 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Scott said: “Didn’t Hank mention the idea of a stoplight at each end of the grove? One lane of traffic would be plenty wide for those STAA trucks and no trees need to come out. But then you’ll have to wait an extra minute.”

    Hank Sims showed his lack of investigative journalism skills when he wrote in a lame opinion piece a couple weeks ago about RG.

    Get this – Hank is so clueless he thinks Cal Trans offered the option to put in a stop light and that opponents of the project rejected that option!

    Stupid, lazy Hank did not bother to read the EIR or the comments on the EIR. OPPONENTS SUGGESTED a one-way traffic scheme to get the trucks through – CAL TRANS said NO. Hank turned that upside down and blamed the opponents for not being willing to consider alternatives.

    Hank, you really need to pull your socks up and do your homework. What you wrote was a lie. You destroyed any shred of credibility you might have once had.

  28. Cristina Bauss
    May 26, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Sorry, Spank Hank, you either 1) need to work on your reading comprehension, or 2) are purposely twisting what Hank ACTUALLY wrote to support your negative views of him.

    Following is what Hank wrote in “The Grovie Dialectic,” on the Lost Coast Outpost:

    “Within the Grovie appeal, there is a curious interplay between these two elements, which can be illustrated with a simple thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Caltrans, tomorrow, scrapped its existing plan and put forth the following alternative: There would be no physical alteration to the road whatsoever, but stoplights would be erected at either end of the highway’s particularly bendy section. Only one-way traffic would be permitted through the gauntlet at a time. The width of the highway would be effectively doubled, and any known vehicle could cruise through it safely.

    “Does today’s Grove Defender give this scheme the thumbs-up? Then why does he now prate about the deep existential threat posed by STAA trucks? Does he give it the thumbs-down? Then why does he pretend that his concern is for the effect of road construction on the trees?”

    The REAL point he’s making is that, should Caltrans actually drop its current plan and implement the stoplight idea (per some environmentalists’ and activists’ suggestion), then you’d have STAA trucks going through the Grove ANYWAY, and the entire economic argument – that STAA access would enable further big-box development in HumCo – would then come into play. In other words, the anti-Caltrans lobby’s “solution” to the problem would only succeed in allowing STAA trucks into the county, thus leaving the anti-RGIP lobby in a rather twisted bind.

  29. pete
    May 26, 2011 at 10:14 am

    This is about saving the grove not keeping trucks out.

  30. Kubla
    May 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Mark Sailors writes: “Why does it take 15 years to get something done around here that anywhere else in the world would take 6 months?”

    Mark, are you referring to the widening of the road? If so, why were you demonstrating at a Save Richardson Grove rally?

  31. Cristina Bauss
    May 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I hate to break this to you, but for a lot of people, it’s also about “keeping trucks out.” There are some who believe that allowing STAA traffic through the Grove will not only facilitate a massive expansion of big-box business in Humboldt County, but that said expansion will result in increased traffic through the Grove and increased damage to redwood root systems.

  32. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Christina,

    I agree that the “it’ll lead to more Big Boxes” argument is weak (to say the least), and that claims made by those opposing the R.G realignment on those grounds are quite exaggerated. But I think the economic arguments in favor of the project are pretty weak, too, and that the claims of those supporting the realignment on those grounds are also exaggerated.

    So that leaves the argument about whether the realignment project is likely to harm the old-growth trees, and if so, how much. This recent statement by Professor McBride is one of the more persuasive arguments I’ve heard from the anti-R.G.-realignment camp so far.

  33. neomoderate
    May 26, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I find the “canopy” arguments pretty weak in light of the fact that everything that will be cut will be beneath the existing canopy. The pro-grovers do need to better justify the economic benefits though. I hear some pretty persuasive heresay from some small businesses that ship big stuff, but it would be great to see some well-documented studies. The “big boxes” and “more traffic” arguments are pretty bad too. Until we increase demand up our way (unlikely), there will be no supply. No latent demand, no supply, no need for more trucks. Am I missing something?

  34. Spank Hank
    May 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Cristina, the big trucks are already coming through RG. Every day. Widening the road will bring many more. The purpose of the project, as stated by CalTrans, is to make a through-fare for STAA traffic. Downtown Eureka will feel the impact.

    I take issue with Hank’s tunnel vision and the way he portrays opponents the RG project. He asked, “Does today’s Grove Defender give this scheme the thumbs-up?” then assumes to know the answer and avoids addressing the real issues. Actually, some Grove Defenders do give this scheme a thumbs up. Did he bother to ask? NO. Does he bother to address the other negative impacts that have been discussed and debated in several forums? NO.

    Hank has no credibility on this issue. He is biased and blindfolded.

  35. Mitch
    May 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

    The stop light could be a Northbound tourist’s first experience of Humboldt: the stop light that saved the trees you’re passing. There could be pamphlets at the park headquarters.

    Unfortunately, every stop light burns a ton of electricity.

    I think a clock system for trucks that are too large would be a far better approach; northbound passage legal for the 15 minutes past the hour and half hour, southbound passage legal for the 15 minutes before.

    If such a restriction were enforced by CHP, fines could probably pay for the enforcement. If not enforced but treated as intelligent guidance by truckers, it would still lower the extremely low probability of excessively large trucks encountering one another in the grove, and at a cost of… $0.

  36. Anon
    May 26, 2011 at 11:53 am

    The issue of one stop light at each end doesn’t work. Too many entrances and exits along that stretch that would also need lights at each driveway so anyone turning out of one of the driveways would know either they could only go south or north depending on which light at the end was green.

  37. Anonymous
    May 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    The groups that oppose this project give real environmentalists a bad name. Their arguments are full of half truths, wild conspiracy theories, paranoia and outright lies.

    The scale and scope of the project is constantly exaggerated, details about the extraordinary measures being taken to protect the trees ignored and the economic benefits/risks of the project misrepresented.

    This project won’t be stopped, only delayed at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars. Want to know why Ca. is going broke? Because we spend most of our money doing nothing. Of the $15,000,000 this project will cost in the end, over $10,000,000 will be for meaningless pieces of paper.

    Humboldt County has one of the highest per capita number of Not for Profit Orgs in the US. It was once the wealthiest County in Ca. Today it has one of the highest poverty rates. I don’t think that is a coincidence.

  38. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Mitch and Anon, you don’t understand the one-way traffic option. They want to widen the road so that two STAA trucks can pass each other. If two trucks were approaching the grove at the same time, one STAA truck would wait to enter until the other had passed through. Only the STAA truck would be stopped.

    Given that STAA trucks already drive this stretch of road, I’ll bet drivers already have a system worked out to avoid passing another truck in the grove. The system is called CB radios. Why not require a radio check, and a brief wait?

    Anonymous @ 12:04, you would make Glen Beck proud.

  39. Anonymous
    May 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Andrew Bird’s comments really surprised me.

    Neither he, nor I, are scientists.

    It’s no surprise that credible scientists retained by Caltrans disagree with credible scientists retained by EPIC.

    Is it not time to err on the side of nature?

  40. Anonymous
    May 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Epic has not retained any credible scientists. Dr. Sillett made some general comments based on misinformation provided by EPIC but isn’t mentioned as an expert in the request for an injunction. One would assume they asked him and he said no.

    McBride is an Ecologist not an Arborist and makes some weak technical arguments about the methodology of the studies. His background does not give him credibility to evaluate the impacts of the proposed work on individual trees.

    As pointed out earlier in this thread, his argument that the removal of understory trees will cause wind damage is just stupid and shows how desperately he is grasping at straws.

  41. Ben
    May 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    The big box issue is not a real issue, just part of the “talking points” for EPIC. WalMart trucks now travel through here on 299 going to Crescent City. The stop light is simply silly, there are many side roads entering the highway and is the idea to place a stoplight on each entry? Just plain silly. What is really sad is that this has become a flashpoint issue and has gained much more importance than it deserves, there must be some important issues to fight for rather than this silly notion of crying the sky is falling! Because of the restrictions to truck traffic, the cost of doing business in Humboldt County is higher than our neighbors and the opponents say they want to support local businesses but are taking actions to harm it. Again, just plain silly.

  42. Anonymous
    May 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Even if CalTrans loses in court on some piece of technical BS it will not stop the project. All that will happen is another round of studies and another circulation of the EIR. EPIC will win in that they may be awarded legal expenses $$$, the public will get another pile of meaningless paper and we will all sink deeper in debt.

    At least Scott Gracien had the sense to extract himself from this mess.

  43. Ben
    May 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    We assume that the goal is to stop the project, not to just get some money from the state (us).

  44. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Ben, You asked: “The stop light is simply silly, there are many side roads entering the highway and is the idea to place a stoplight on each entry?”

    Read my comment at 1:05. No STAA trucks enter the grove through side roads. STAA trucks already share the road with regular trucks and vehicles. You might pass one in RG now, if you drive there. There would be no stop lights. One STAA truck would wait outside the grove until the one going the opposite direction passed through. Get it?

    Ben, it is silly to comment on something you don’t understand. Do your homework. At least read the comments on this thread.

  45. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Ben, you say “Because of the restrictions to truck traffic, the cost of doing business in Humboldt County is higher than our neighbors”

    Where is the study to support that claim?

  46. anonymous
    May 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    To respond to Christina’s statement, “There are some who believe that allowing STAA traffic through the Grove will not only facilitate a massive expansion of big-box business in Humboldt County…”

    There is a nuanced distinction to make. STAA trucks already come through the Grove (some legally, most illegally), and they also come in from the north through 199 & from the east via 299. So the businesses that want and “need” STAA trucks to come in, already have access to them–it is just not super convenient. What the STAA truck drivers want is increased efficiency and a more direct route in and out of Humboldt County, which would increase the amount of truck traffic on the highway. As it is now, unless they absolutely have to come into the area, they won’t because it takes too long and involves long stretches of windy roads. But if CalTrans is allowed to open up Richardson Grove to two STAA trucks passing side by side, then more trucks will be persuaded to pass through the Grove and into and out of Humboldt County.

  47. neomoderate
    May 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    3:11, the answer is no. There will not be more trucks going through the grove unless there are more goods to haul up to or out of Humboldt. See the supply/demand discussion up above. Seeing how that’s pretty unlikely, it’s equally unlikely that truck traffic will increase.

    Truckers aren’t tourists, they need the shortest, easiest route to their destination, and we are not on the shortest, easiest route to anyplace but here.

  48. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    3:11,

    I don’t quite understand that argument. Where is this “increased amount of truck traffic on the highway” going to come from, and where is it going to? Crescent City? That can’t add up to much. Trucks going between the Bay Area and points north, like Eugene and Seattle? I doubt it, they’ll continue to take I-5, which is much flatter and straighter, and overall a much shorter and more fuel-efficient trip.

    Personally, I don’t see a good reason for the Richardson Grove realignment project, but the arguments pertaining to an increase of truck traffic don’t make much sense to me. Am I missing something here?

  49. Steak n Eggs
    May 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Anonymous at 1:57 pm: Well said. EPIC and others thrive on finding meaningless technicalities with CEQA & NEPA documents and extracting money in the form of court costs. Hurray for Californians! We’ve been saved from ourselves by EPIC.

    No doubt that the project will go forward because its in the the public interest, but first the enviros need to get paid off. Typical and very predictable.

  50. Ben
    May 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    As a business owner we had to send our truck and employees to Redding to get shipments because the company would not deliver here because of the road restrictions. Yes this is an extra cost, good enough data?

  51. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Wait…they wouldn’t come over on 299 either? I thought STAAs were allowed on 299?

  52. TimH
    May 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    “Where is the study to support that claim?”

    We worked on a project where there were multiple big rig deliveries from out of the area. The trucks leaving the factory were all STAA sized trucks and they had to stop somewhere South of RG to offload and reload the cargo onto non-STAA rigs. It cost significant extra time and money, according to the owner. I don’t have a study, but that is what happened.

  53. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    There is a contradiction at the core of the assumption that we need to spend millions of dollars on this project.

    STAA trucks drive through the grove every day to deliver goods to our businesses.Non STAA trucks are also widely used by businesses.

    Neomoderate and others say STAA traffic will not increase.

    If it will not increase, why do we need to adjust the road? The whole idea behind the project is to accommodate increased STAA traffic and to allow these trucks to pass THROUGH Humboldt County (REALLY. Read the EIR)

    Neomoderate just made a good case for scraping the RG project. What if we build it, and they DO NOT COME? That’s what Neo claims will happen. Certainly, our money can be better spent.

  54. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Anonymous: “the public will get another pile of meaningless paper and we will all sink deeper in debt.”

    You have correctly characterized the CalTrans EIR: a pile of meaningless paper. The purpose of an EIR is to honestly study the need for the project and honestly evaluate the impacts. The EIR did neither.

    We seem to differ on what should be done when presented with a sham EIR rather than the real thing. Anonymous thinks we should go ahead with the proposed actions. I think we should stop the process and demand a legitimate evaluation. Is that unreasonable?

  55. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    The whole idea behind the project is to accommodate increased STAA traffic and to allow these trucks to pass THROUGH Humboldt County.

    Okay, I’ll repeat my question: THROUGH Humboldt County — from where to where? If your answer is “from the Bay Area to Eugene, Portland, and Seattle” then please explain why a trucker would go out of their way to go through Humboldt County, spending extra time and fuel money, rather than just taking I-5.

  56. Plain Jane
    May 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Maybe to Walmart and Home Depot in Crescent City, Tra?

  57. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I feel like I need to keep pointing out that I’m not for this realignment project. While the risk to the Old Growth trees may indeed be exaggerated by project opponents, I also think the potential benefits of the project to the local economy are exaggerated by project supporters.

    Yes, it does cost a bit more to truck stuff to and from here than it does in the Bay Area, but on the other hand other costs here are much lower — for example it’s less expensive to rent or buy property, and labor costs are lower.

    But I’m not persuaded by the argument that we’ll be flooded with STAA through-traffic if the R.G. re-alignment is completed. Yes, there will be more STAA trucks delivering goods to Humboldt, and also shipping products out of Humboldt. But for the most part, it seems to me that these STAA trucks will simply be taking the place of the non-STAA trucks that currently fulfill those functions.

    Basically, it seems to me that the folks on both sides of this issue are guilty of exaggerating the effects of completing, or not completing, this project.

  58. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    P.J.,

    I believe WalMart and Home Depot already run their STAA trucks over 299 and then up 101 to Crescent City. So at most we’re talking about a few more trucks on 101 south of 299, but fewer on 299, and the same number on 101 north of 299. I guess that could mean some additional impact on traffic in Eureka, and that’s a fair point. But Crescent City is pretty small and I can’t imagine that we’d really be talking about all that many additional trucks. Plus, depending on where the good were coming from, some of it would likely still come up I-5 and over 299.

    Look, if we were right between two major population centers, and we were the shortest route between those major population centers, and the only thing stopping massive truck through-traffic was the Richardson Grove ban on STAA trucks, then this through-traffic issue would be a much more compelling argument. But “neomoderate” put it well when he or she said:

    Truckers aren’t tourists, they need the shortest, easiest route to their destination, and we are not on the shortest, easiest route to anyplace but here.

  59. Plain Jane
    May 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Good points, Tra. Isn’t the beef industry here a major proponent of widening RG?

  60. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I don’t know. I thought I remembered reading that trucks carrying cattle already had an exemption to the STAA rules, but I’m not sure. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong?

  61. Ben
    May 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Cattle trucks can go through now. Most commenters miss the point that local businesses pay more for deliveries because of the limit on truck size. The comment that the STAA trucks go through now is not a valid claim because the fine is significant if they get caught and “legal” truckers will not break the law because it costs too much.

  62. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Most commenters miss the point that local businesses pay more for deliveries because of the limit on truck size.

    I get that. And local businesses also pay more for deliveries than businesses in Redding or Oakland, simply because of the extra time and fuel it takes to get up here. I suspect that is a much larger factor.

    Yes, the STAA trucks will save some businesses some money, but if anyone is thinking that after the R.G. relignment project it will suddenly become as cheap to ship to and from Eureka as it is to ship to and from Redding or Oakland, then they are going to be in for a disappointing reality check.

  63. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Let’s assume tra’s analysis is correct, there will be no increased STAA traffic, except for a few regular trucks being replaced by STAA trucks to deliver in/out of Humboldt County only. How many trucks are we talking about? Cattle trucks are already exempt. Couldn’t ALL deliveries bringing goods to or from this county be exempt? There can’t be that many extra STAA trucks, if they are in fact not passing though.

    STAA truckers know about the short section in RG, and could be required to check the CB when approaching RG for another STAA. If one is coming the other way, they could slow down a little to adjust their entry to the park. Why is this simple, rational alternative rejected?

    Ben, I’d like to see a valid study to support your claim that “local businesses pay more for deliveries because of the limit on truck size.” I’d also like an unbiased study of which and how many businesses really need STAA trucks.

  64. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    P.J.,

    Although cattle trucks are apparently already exempt from the STAA restrictions, my guess is that the local cattle industry may still be big proponents of the R.G. re-alignment because they believe it will be safer for their STAA trucks to go through there if the re-alignment is done.

    However, as others have pointed out, there may be other ways to improve the safety situation, such as reducing the speed limit, providing radar “your speed is” signs, only allowing one STAA truck at a time, etc. I’m certainly no expert on this, but it seems to me that some of those other ideas may not have been given the full consideration that they ought to have been given.

  65. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Clarity,

    Just to be clear, I didn’t say that there would only be a “few” STAA trucks replacing non-STAA trucks. There might well be a pretty substantial number, as there are a pretty substantial number of non-STAA trucks that go through there now, and many (though not all) of them may be replaced by STAA trucks.

    If you’re going to “exempt” all STAA trucks, that basically just means removing the STAA restriction entirely. My impression is that this might be a significant safety risk, as it would increase the chances of two STAA trucks approaching each other head-on at one of the tight curves.

    Yes, that might be avoided by some kind of time restrictions (northbound STAA trucks only allowed during even-numbered hours and southbound STAA trucks only allowed during odd-numbered hours, or something like that) or with traffic lights, or some other such scheme. But clearly that would still add time (and therefore expense) to the trip, and then we’re right back to square one with the arguments about the cost burden to local businesses. I think the idea of just asking the truckers to check on their CB radio may be a bit too hit-or-miss (pardon the unfortunate pun) and sooner or later a serious accident may occur.

    I have to agree, though, that the current situation where cattle trucks are exempt does, at least on oits face, seem to undercut the argument that it is unsafe for STAA trucks to go through there in the current alignment. If it’s so unsafe for other STAA trucks, then why would a cattle truck be any more safe? Do the cows confer some kind of magical safety powers to the truck that is carrying them?

    I guess the answer is that it’s really just a matter of raw power politics — the cattle industry had the political juice to allow them to carve out an exemption for their trucks, so they did so. But to be fair, it is still true that adding MORE STAA trucks going through there with the current alignment would further increase the chances of an unfortunate head-on meeting of northbound and southbound STAA trucks (unless other measures were taken to prevent that, as discussed above).

  66. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    tra, As you say “There might well be a pretty substantial number, as there are a pretty substantial number of non-STAA trucks that go through there now, and many (though not all) of them may be replaced by STAA trucks.”

    Wouldn’t it be good to have actual numbers in place of our conjectures? They could replace all our conjecture. Getting these numbers, and doing this kind of analysis, is what an EIR is supposed to to about. You will find none of it in the RG project EIR.

    Anyone who knows trucking knows that CB’s are regular equipment. They can be used to avoid passing in the grove. It would not require the elaborate scheme you see.

  67. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Clarity,

    I realize that CB radios are standard equipment, but I think the drawback of that approach is that, due to human error, inevitably some mistakes will be made and as a result some STAA trucks may still end up meeting in the middle, with potentially disastrous results.

    I agree with you that the EIR ought to address all these issues clearly, and if it doesn’t then it should be revised. And in the meantime, since there are already some STAA trucks that go through there (cattle trucks and others that either have exemptions or just ignore the rules), and given that it is a tricky section even for non-STAA trucks, CalTrans should already be taking steps to minmize any problems, perhaps at least reduced speed limits, radar “your speed is…” signs and so forth.

    I fear that CalTrans’ failure to take these sorts of steps already might be due to a desire on the part of Caltrans officials to “force the issue” and out of a concern that if those measures were shown to be effective and practical that this might take some momentum away from the push to get the R.G. realignment done. I hope that those sorts of calculations don’t result in some needless accidents in the meantime.

  68. Not A Native
    May 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I’m certain that STAA trucks aren’t allowed on 299, because of the narrow windy stretch East of Buckhorn Summit. They are allowed on 199 into Crescent City and down 101.

    I don’t think cattle trucks have a ‘blanket’ exemption through RG. There is a process that each truck has to complete(which represents $$) to obtain a permit. And I think the number and frequency of permits is limited. And of course permits take CHP/CalTrans effort to implement.

    The NCJ says that most STAA trucks have the same length trailer as a non-STAA truck, but the tractor is longer(to accomodate sleeper). So now, non-exempt STAA trucks stop and separate at RG. The trailer is ‘ferried’ past RG by a shorter tractor. Sounds like theres a cottage ferry business down there for someone. But that procedure obviously takes time and effort($$$).

    I think this project is somewhat about CalTrans wanting to promote transport flexibility by creating a standardized road network. And yes, I’m certain the project is about reducing the costs of tranporting goods, which is one of CalTrans mandates. But its useless to ask who specifically those cost reductions will accrue to, because that can’t possibly be known. And remember, every ‘cost’ reduction reduces someone’s ‘income’. At the highest level transport, cost reductions benefit society by increasing the efficiency of transactions, fostering more opportunities for commerce.

    More significantly, I saw an article today that there has been a proposal in Congress to increase the weight limit of trucks from 80,000lb to 96,000lb. Its being fought over, with truckers in support and safety and rail interests opposed. FWIW, timber shipping is one of the applications mentioned that would use the higher weight limit.

  69. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    You may well be right about STAA trucks not being allowed on 299, NAN. Now that you mention it, there are defintely sections where I’m having a hard time imagining how even two non-STAA trucks could pass each other safely!

    That section just east of the Buckhorn Summit is no joke! I was almost run off the road there just a couple of months ago by some jackass in a massive 4×4 who came around a corner a good 3 feet across the dividing line, forcing me to “thread the needle” between his oncoming fender on my left, and a rock face on my right. I’d say I missed him by about 8 inches. I had to pull over at the next pullout and wait for my adrenaline levels to drop to somewhere near normal.

    Plus there is construction going on over in that area, which makes it even more gnarly. Perhaps when that’s all done (if it ever is!) that section will be a little bit better.

  70. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Increasing the weight limits from 80,000 lbs to 96,000 lbs? Wow. That’s a pretty big jump. I can only imagine that this would have some pretty major effects on wear-and-tear of our highways. And probably some pretty significant safety drawbacks as well. I hope it doesn’t pass. (And if it does, they’d better take a close look at all our bridges and overpasses!)

  71. Clarity
    May 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Increasing the weight limits from 80,000 lbs to 96,000 lbs? Wow.

    Yeah, that is the mind set. Bigger is better.

    NAN, where are the data, which might be reasonably expected in an EIR, that justify the project? Without such data, why are you “certain the project is about reducing costs” to local businesses?

  72. Mr. Nice
    May 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    tra says

    Wait…they wouldn’t come over on 299 either? I thought STAAs were allowed on 299?

    NAN says

    I’m certain that STAA trucks aren’t allowed on 299, because of the narrow windy stretch East of Buckhorn Summit. They are allowed on 199 into Crescent City and down 101.

    N tra says

    You may well be right about STAA trucks not being allowed on 299, NAN.

    Y’all hella ignorant.

    Read they Humboldt truck map and truck map legend.

    Not 299 or 199. 80.

  73. May 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    If you are opposed to this project, please sign a Change.org petition that was started to help show international support— By signing the petition a prewritten letter will be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Noreen Evans, and Rep. Hon. Wes Chesbro.

    Much appreciation:

    Here is the link:

  74. May 26, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    If you are opposed to this project, please sign a Change.org petition that was started to help show international support— By signing the petition a prewritten letter will be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Noreen Evans, and Rep. Hon. Wes Chesbro.

    Much appreciation and respect

    Here is the link:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/defend-ancient-redwoods-save-richardson-grove-state-park

  75. tra
    May 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Y’all hella ignorant.

    As some wise person said “we’re all hella ignorant…just about different things.”

    Or something like that.

    Anyway, thanks for the links.

  76. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Not to pinch a new nub, but

    WHAT ABOUT BETTER MOTOR AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY? Is this not important?

    JL

  77. Not A Native
    May 27, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Clarity, I didn’t write that I’m certain local businesses will have cost savings. I wrote that there will be cost savings and no one can say who will have those savings.

    Its certain that the expense of swapping tractors at RG will end. And CHP/CalTrans will save the expense of processing and administering exemption permits for cattle trucks. Beyond that, no one can say.

    Remember, CalTrans has a statewide obligation even though particular road projects most heavily affect the location they’re in. People don’t want roads. They just want to use(have) a road to get from where they are to where they want to be.

  78. Gump
    May 27, 2011 at 9:48 am

    STAA trucks are not legal on virtually all of 299. they are legal on all of 101 (north and south) except RG

    http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/trucks/truckmap/truckmap-d01.pdf

  79. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 10:10 am

    “If you’re going to “exempt” all STAA trucks, that basically just means removing the STAA restriction entirely. My impression is that this might be a significant safety risk, as it would increase the chances of two STAA trucks approaching each other head-on at one of the tight curves.”

    I’ve made this argument to several people. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

    If I recall correctly, the cattle-truck exemption runs out in 2012.

    Below I have copied and pasted a passage I wrote for an article about RG (back when I was still a newspaper reporter)…

    *****

    In California, there are two designations for commercial trucks: STAA, the standards for which are set by the Federal Highway Administration, and California Legal, as defined by the state. The former is limited to travel on interstates and terminal access routes, while the latter “can use all State highways in California, except those with special restrictions such as for weight or length.” From the junction of U.S. 1 at Leggett north to Benbow, 101 is Cal-Legal only: a single-trailer truck is limited to a total length of 65 feet, while a double-trailer truck can be as long as 75 feet. A truck with two shorter trailers is less prone to “off-tracking,” which is the tendency for the rear tires to follow a shorter path than the front tires when turning. This is what puts truck trailers over the double-yellow line when rounding tight curves.

    Off-tracking is the key to the Richardson Grove dilemma – not speed, as is widely believed. Total weight limits are the same for both Cal-Legal and STAA trucks, regardless of length – 80,000 pounds maximum. However, there are axle limits as well: on both 48- and 53-foot tractor-trailer combinations, loads on trailer axles cannot exceed 34,000 pounds. In order to reduce off-tracking, the rear axle can be moved forward. But then, the weight distribution is shifted so that one axle may be overloaded, and the truck cannot be filled to capacity.

    (A push by the American Trucking Association to raise the total weight limit to 97,000 pounds deeply concerns project opponents, who argue that heavier trucks would more quickly erode and compact the roadway near, or on top of, redwood tree roots, in addition to greatly compromising traffic safety in the area.)

    When the kingpin-to-rear-axle (KPRA) ratio is reduced, so is the load. For single-trailer Cal-Legal trucks, the maximum KPRA allowed is 38 feet for a single axle and 40 for two or more axles, with an overall length limit of 65 feet. For double trailers, the length limit maxes out at 75 feet. In contrast, STAA-standard trucks have no overall length limits: the KPRA limitation on single trailers that are longer than 48 feet (up to 53 feet) is the same as Cal-Legal, but the tractor can be bigger.

    Therein lies the problem. The length limit in the grove precludes the entrance of many STAA-standard trucks, which often have a tractor with a sleeper cab and a 53-foot trailer (longer trailers are used to maximize freight and minimize costs). There are two basic types of tractors: “cab-overs,” the snub-nosed models where the cab sits on top of the engine; and conventional models, where the engine is in front of the cab, as it is in most passenger vehicles (for comfort reasons, these are preferred by long-haul truckers). Either can have a sleeper compartment, which adds length to the cab. With or without sleepers, standard cab-over tractors are 12 feet long or less. The trouble comes with the conventional tractors.

    In order to meet the Cal-Legal length requirement, a conventional tractor with a sleeper compartment can only have a 48-foot trailer; conversely, a truck with a 53-foot trailer can only have a “day cab,” a model without a sleeper. Truck drivers on long hauls through the 101 corridor often cannot pass through the grove. Therefore, several local companies – including Redwood Towing and Repair in Redway – keep a day cab for the specific purpose of getting truckers through the forbidden zone. At Redwood Towing, the posted rate for the service is a $375 flat fee for the first two-and-a-half hours. After that, the cost is $125 per hour.

    So, this is what happens when a trucker realizes he can’t get through Richardson Grove, or gets an over-length ticket from the California Highway Patrol. He calls the company whose load he’s bringing up. The company calls a local outfit that drives down to South Leggett with a day-cab tractor. The tractors are switched. The two go driving through the grove together towards their destination. If the trucker isn’t going any further than Eureka or Arcata, there’s the return trip all the way back to Mendocino County. And then, the tractors get switched back. According to Vince Thomas, Director of Logistics and Distribution for the Arcata-based Sun Valley Group, a major cut-flower distributor, switching tractors at South Leggett costs the company $1,000 each time it has to be done.

    Project opponents argue that opening the grove to STAA-standard trucks, which have no overall length limits, will result in access for substantially longer and heavier trucks later on, if current weight limits are lifted; that investing in truck access will enable county planners to ignore the possibility of developing “green” alternatives such as short-sea shipping; and that the proposed work, if completed, will encourage speeding and increase the number of truck-related accidents in the grove.

  80. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Oops, I forgot to note that the very first quote above is from tra.

  81. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 10:13 am

    And more from Humboldt County businesses…

    *****

    For any producer of export goods in Humboldt County, the logistics of getting anything out of the area can be daunting. In the two weeks preceding Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, Sun Valley is in operation 24/7. According to Vince Thomas, the company usually runs about 15 trucks a week out of the county, but during those two periods, it averages 45 a week. Trucks must be kept at 36 degrees; a variation as small as a degree and a half in either direction can mean the difference between blooming and freezing.

    “Every year, it becomes more difficult for us to find equipment and trucks,” Thomas said – an assertion confirmed by Transportation Manager Andrea Pesenti, who had a particularly difficult time in February because of the excellent crab season. Not only was Sun Valley competing for trucks with seafood distributors, “but sometimes, we have to turn them away because they smell like crab – and that’s not great for the flowers!” Perishability is a major issue for Sun Valley, as it is for Cypress Grove: transportation “adds age to the cheese when it takes from days to more than a week to get to its destination,” Sales & Marketing Manager Bob McCall said on March 5. “Soft-ripened cheeses have a very short shelf life, so the further east the market, the more difficult it is to sell them.” From the moment cheeses are packed, the time to get them to the consumer’s mouth is only six to eight weeks, including transportation, distribution, shelving at a grocery store, purchase by the consumer, and time in his or her refrigerator before consumption.

    “We have limited choices,” Briar Bush, Lost Coast Brewery General Manager and Sales Manager, said on March 9. “There’s no depth to choose from [in trucking companies]. If they’re maxed out we can’t get our supplies. We’re held hostage to their abilities, and trucking prices correspond to supply and demand. When I ship to more remote areas, like Los Angeles or out of state [‘remote’ in terms of distance], they all require STAA trucks. I can’t use a local guy. I must contract with someone and ship to a cross-dock facility [where goods are transferred to a longer truck], and then pay a fee for use of the cross-dock.”

    The costs add up in shipping rates, lower wages, and lost markets. “Directly or indirectly, it probably affects all of them, and the incremental costs of shipping for goods or materials will be passed down to the consumer,” J. Warren Hockaday, President/CEO of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce, said on March 9. “Where it really starts to change is with the Lost Coasts of the world.” “Economies of scale add 10 to 15 percent to the logistics costs,” Bush confirmed, “dollars that could be translated into employment opportunities.” A study done two years ago revealed that “there are tens of thousands of dollars a year that we lose in this logistics challenge,” a number that goes up as the brewery grows.

    Cypress Grove faces similar problems. It costs 15 cents per pound to ship its cheese to the Bay Area, where virtually all its product goes for sale or distribution nationwide. In contrast, it costs approximately 30 cents per pound to ship its product from the Bay Area all the way to the East Coast – only twice as much to go more than ten times the distance. By the time its product reaches, say, New York, the cheese has incurred costs for both those trips, and “by the time we get anywhere,” McCall said, costs are significantly higher than for virtually any other artisan goat-cheese producer.

    The results? “Costco sells a competitor’s brand at the same price we sell it by the time it gets to distributors,” prior to any store markups. The company has lost its market in several Safeway regions because, while the price on chèvre without shipping looks competitive, “by the time distribution costs are added, it’s significantly more than it appears. When you add the additional costs to ship across the country, it really puts us behind the eight ball.” Cypress Grove does better at the higher price points – those for Humboldt Fog and Purple Haze – because of both their higher profit margin and their unique place in the market.

    Project supporters further argue that the trucking costs incurred by local businesses are environmental as well as monetary. “If we sent a truck to that cross-dock, it probably came back empty, whereas if I was using an STAA truck, it would probably bring stuff back to me,” Bush said, a point seconded by Thomas. Much of Sun Valley’s chain-store business, especially for Kroger’s, is loaded on full trucks. “A lot of times, we’re looking for a backhaul, but that’s difficult to do because everyone running east to west is using 53-footers,” Thomas said. “They want to maximize their freight and minimize their costs.” In the case of flowers, which never max out on weight, costs are determined by the cubic foot.

    Thomas has even calculated what Sun Valley would save in fuel and carbon emissions, if it substituted longer trailers for shorter ones. In the two weeks before Valentine’s Day, the company ran 85 trucks out of Arcata. If it had used 53-foot trailers instead of 48-footers, it would have eliminated 13 trucks, for a savings of 3,900 gallons of fuel and 85,000 pounds of carbon emissions. Thomas estimates that annually, Sun Valley could reduce its number of trips from an average of 1,000 to 834, for a savings of 50,000 gallons of fuel and a staggering 1.1 million pounds of carbon emissions.

  82. Random Guy
    May 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

    The fuck are you idiots talking about trucks for, look at the rest of the nation, m0ranz. Then look at all the other old growth redwood groves around the nation. Where’s the fucking common sense.

  83. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

    And this will be the last long post I post. Another long article section re.: trucking and business costs.

    *****

    In late 2007 and early 2008, the Humboldt County Workforce Investment Board conducted a survey of Humboldt and Del Norte County businesses, designed by Chico State University economist Dr. David Gallo, in which it asked them whether truck-size restrictions affect their import and export businesses, costs associated with transportation, delivery delays, and ability to expand business into larger markets, create jobs, and raise employees’ wages. According to the DEIR, “approximately 39 businesses identified STAA restrictions as contributing to unnecessarily high operating costs. This voluntary anonymous survey indicated that STAA restrictions increase local truck transportation costs for the identified industries by 16.9 percent, which the economic impact study performed by Dr. Gallo approximated amounting to $5.98 million annually.”

    The survey results have been highly controversial among project opponents. In a detailed letter to the California Transportation Commission dated June 24, 2009 – co-signed by seven local environmental groups – McKinleyville resident Ken Miller and Kneeland resident David Spreen argued that “the surveyed businesses account for only 18.6 percent of local sales, 9.3 percent of local employment, and 12.3 percent of total income earned by residents and businesses of Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Industries in the analysis comprise 15 percent of total area truck transportation costs, and 26 percent of non-local truck transportation costs.”

    Jacqueline Debets, Humboldt County Economic Development Director, contested the implication that the number of affected businesses is in the minority. “Do you know how difficult it is to get people to fill out surveys?” she asked on March 10. She argued that “the businesses that are most heavily influenced” by shipping costs were the ones that bothered with the survey (there were 19 who answered every question), “but it really affects virtually everyone,” from local food stores, such as the North Coast Co-op, Eureka Natural Foods, and Murphy’s, to equipment manufacturer O&M Industries. O&M was forced to move a job to Louisiana because it was contingent on not being completed in Humboldt County, where costs to move the finished product out were prohibitive.

    Debets added that the exemption for cattle trucks – also cited by project opponents as a reason to choose the “no-build” alternative – applies to transportation of live cattle only; ranchers who choose to have meat processed in Humboldt County encounter the same problems many other industries do. And while it’s rare for companies to leave because of transportation issues, in at least two cases it has been a major contributing factor: according to Debets, Amulet Manufacturing, Inc., which makes excavator and backhoe attachments, moved from Arcata to Idaho, and Premiere Meats relocated to Shasta Lake to be near Redding’s I-5 corridor. Another company, Calgon Carbon Corp., “shut their doors for a while because transportation costs really do make that much of a difference to them.”

    Others interviewed for this story concurred that the costs to local businesses are wide-ranging. “As you know, I have a lot of agriculture in my district, and transportation costs are significant,” First District Supervisor Jimmy Smith wrote in a March 18 e-mail. “Humboldt Creamery ran some numbers, and the savings for them would be substantial. The cattlemen have to work on exemptions constantly, and other local producers are at a competitive disadvantage.” Second District Supervisor Clif Clendenen has also heard from a number of businesses, including the Farm Store in Ferndale and Sequoia Gas in Fortuna. Floyd said Center Arts has been unable to book Broadway-style shows that have their own trucks, and other productions have either been unable to appear in the county, or have done so without sets.

    The Eureka Chamber of Commerce has conducted the equivalent of a straw poll several times, “and transportation is always high on the list,” Hockaday said. “Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings with people affected by it.” “I think it’s really important for local businesses to be able to get through,” Clendenen said on March 18. “Eighty to 90 percent of our food is imported, and this is an impediment to lower costs. And it’s a roadblock and an unnecessary challenge for the businesses that have, through very difficult odds, clawed their way to success.”

    In Southern Humboldt, the jury’s still out. Like Debets, Dee Way, the Executive Director of the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce, found it difficult to convince business owners to complete a detailed survey on Richardson Grove. Only 28 people responded to a questionnaire sent to more than 200 Chamber members in February 2008, and those who have commented – either in the survey or in person – are sharply divided. “The members are really torn,” Way told the Journal on March 25. “That’s why we haven’t taken a stand. The goal of the board isn’t to get behind political issues, unless there’s a clear consensus among members.”

  84. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 10:21 am

    They’re talking about trucks because it’s at the heart of the debate about whether or not to go through with the project, Random Guy. And if people understand the issue, they’ll be able to make a much stronger argument about it, whether they’re pro OR con.

    Word of advice: calling people who disagree with your point of view “morons” only serves to make them dig their heels in deeper in their own defense.

  85. Mitch
    May 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

    OK, Cristina, you seem up on the subject. You say Sun Valley regularly runs 15 trucks a week. Do you know what the total truck count is per day, Northbound and/or Southbound. Because from that, it’s pretty easy to determine the likelihood that two too-long trucks will pass one another in RG. And you can add in the probability that truckers will use CB for clearance if that’s advisable and/or if that’s made a legal requirement. From those two pieces of information, you can determine the probability of a disastrous-results truck collision in RG if the road is not widened.

    If the increased allowed weight on an axle is the larger impact, then what does road straightening or road widening have to do with anything? The increased weight will still be present whether Caltrans removes any trees or not, mooting Caltrans’ whole argument that they are not taking out any significant trees. In that case, the argument should be about whether the load on axles should be legally increased, not about road straightening or widening.

  86. another anonymous
    May 27, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Regarding that Gallo report that CalTrans uses to justify the supposed economic benefits, Christina said this:

    “According to the DEIR, “approximately 39 businesses identified STAA restrictions as contributing to unnecessarily high operating costs”

    The Gallo Report, however, says this:
    “There were a limited number of responses(14)to the question regarding the effect on annual truck
    traffic of allowing STAA legal trucks on Highway 101 through Richardson Grove.”

    And this:

    ” Note: the information collected for this study was based on a confidential survey. None of the survey responses can be released to the public.”

    They hand-picked a very small number of businesses to participate in the survey. 14 businesses do not constitute a reliable sampling of Humboldt’s business community. This study is laughable and has already been debunked.

    Why are the participants and their responses not revealed? Studies of this nature should (must) be completely transparent to be credible. The Gallo study is not credible.

    The NCJ article makes it clear who the major benefactor of this project will be: Sun Valley Bulb Farm. This company has been in trouble for employing illegal immigrants. Guess we should help them out, so they can hire more illegals.

  87. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I actually haven’t been “up on the subject” for more than a year now, Mitch, but I will make a feeble attempt to answer your questions.

    1. You’d have to double-check with Sun Valley, but if I recall correctly, the majority of its trucks go south (to a distribution center in SoCal).

    2. I don’t understand your question about the “increased allowed weight on an axle.” The road “straightening” (I’m putting this in quotes because the one place where major work is proposed is not being “straightened,” but rather, the curve is being slightly widened) has to do with the off-tracking dilemma. Increasing the weight on one axle, as explained above, means that the truck can’t be filled to capacity, which might be OK for beer but won’t work for flowers.

    The issue of raising the overall weight from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds is certainly a concern, but at this point seems to me like a side issue that’s being dragged into the argument for argument’s sake. Personally, I don’t see California agreeing to that when it would take a much stronger toll on our roads, and heaven knows we don’t have that much more money to spend on road maintenance (or any other kind of maintenance).

    3. I don’t know about using CB for clearance; this is really the first time I’ve seen it suggested. Considering how much traffic comes through the grove, to me it seems that it would be impractical at best and a confusing-as-hell clusterfuck at worst.

    Finally, a personal comment: I totally empathize with the people who are fighting this proposal on the grounds that it will irreparably damage the grove; as a supporter of several environmentalist organizations, I cannot stomach the continuing trend to put profits above the environment. But something that many of the project opponents seem incapable of acknowledging, when they put forth the simplistic idea that this is yet another profits-over-trees scenario, is that there are a LOT of us who haven’t seen evidence that the trees will be harmed. This is certainly the case for me. Believing that the proposal is not environmentally harmful is a radically different starting point from believing that profits should trump environmental concerns. That’s something I really wish project opponents would understand and acknowledge about many of the project supporters.

    Having said that, I do look forward to reading Dr. McBride’s report.

  88. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

    “The NCJ article makes it clear who the major benefactor of this project will be: Sun Valley Bulb Farm. This company has been in trouble for employing illegal immigrants. Guess we should help them out, so they can hire more illegals.”

    Who’s hand-picking now? There are numerous other examples in the three passages above of businesses that would benefit from the project. Sun Valley happens to be the largest, and therefore might save the largest amount of money (although I don’t know if it would work out the same percentage-wise in comparison to other businesses), but it certainly isn’t the only one, or the main one, that would benefit. To suggest so is really disingenuous.

    The illegal-immigrant issue is totally irrelevant. Yes, I saw the excellent NCJ cover story, released just a few weeks after the RG story, about Sun Valley’s practices. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean jack shit to the road issue. After all, BP pays its employees well, provides them with health insurance, and to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t hire illegals. But at the end of the day, that didn’t mean jack shit to the Gulf of Mexico, did it?

    Stick to the issue at hand, please.

  89. The Big Picture
    May 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Spending that $10-$15 million on Highway 101 in Eureka, would actually save many lives while reducing high injury rates and property loss.

    With some ingenuity, hard work and innovation, we could mfg. competitive products despite higher shipping costs.

    However, filling our communities with more big boxes, malls and sprawl DOES NOT attract the caliber of entrepreneur and capital investment we need.

    If we’re lucky, the troglodytes at Eureka’s city hall won’t lose another light industry, and their only brewer, to Arcata’s industrial park.

  90. Mitch
    May 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Believing that the proposal is not environmentally harmful is a radically different starting point from believing that profits should trump environmental concerns. That’s something I really wish project opponents would understand and acknowledge about many of the project supporters.

    I agree.

    It seems that many of the project’s opponents feel the need to cast this particular soap opera as yet another good guys versus bad guys battle. That will not be helpful in the long run, but there’s little anyone can do about that.

    But… always a but… from what little I know of the project, Caltrans’ EIR ignored what appear to be very reasonable alternatives. They should at least be willing to consider alternatives in their reviews, without dismissing them as “Code N: nutty, not invented here.”

    Caltrans remains the agency that thought the solution to having a bridge with no room for safe bicycle travel was to put up signage rather than either provide a safe bridge for bicyclists or limiting truck and car traffic to a single lane. That is, Caltrans is about business, cars, and trucks; not about transportation. I’m glad it is having its agency feet held to the fire.

  91. The Once-ler
    May 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Now, you listen to me, Pop, while I blow my top! Trees? Ha! You speak for the trees? Well I speak for men, and human opportunities! For your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering on biggering and biggering, and biggering, and BIGGERING, turning MORE truffula trees into thneeds! Which everyone, everyone, EVERYONE NEEDS!

  92. another anonymous
    May 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Christina, you say that “Considering how much traffic comes through the grove, to me it seems that it would be impractical at best and a confusing-as-hell clusterfuck at worst.”

    Do you have any stats about how much STAA traffic does come through the grove? You do understand that only the STAA trucks would have to check for the presence of another STAA truck, don’t you? How many now, how many projected in future? Without the numbers you cannot really evaluate the cost effectiveness or feasibility of different options.

  93. another anonymous
    May 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Mitch, not only should CalTrans “at least be willing to consider alternatives”, they are legally bound to consider the alternatives.

  94. The Once-ler
    May 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Then, oh, baby, oh! How my business did grow! Now chopping trees one at a time was too slow! So I promptly invented my Super-Axe-Hacker, which whacked off four truffula trees in one smacker! We were making thneeds four times as fast as before! And my profits, incidentally, were soaring galore!

  95. another anonymous
    May 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Christina, you said “there are a LOT of us who haven’t seen evidence that the trees will be harmed.”

    Have you seen evidence they the will NOT be harmed? Fact is, we do not know what the effect of deeply cutting the roots of the old growth redwoods will be. It is a gamble.

    The potential for harming or killing the trees is just one of the negatives in this project. The rational for the project is based on a dubious study, the EIR has many deficiencies, including not considering viable alternatives to the project, the impact to our roads will likely increase, especially if weight limits increase, and more large trucks mean more fatal accidents. In our current fiscal mess, this project is an unnecessary waste of money. As someone else mentioned, if safety is the main issue, the money could be better spent.

  96. Another 2 cents
    May 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Back when Log trucks (and other kinds too) picked up hitchhikers they always used their radios to warn one another when they were approaching that turn where the rock stuck out and 2 trucks really could not pass through at the same time – remember that?

    If this were about trucks, they would just do that. I don’t believe there have even been any truck involved accidents in that area for a long long time.

    No stoplights (that was a hypothetical) but dropping the speed limit is the obvious easy fix.

    The BIG trees that will be removed are just outside the edge of the park’s boundaries, I hear. Those which will be killed will take a long time to die.

    Why don’t Humboldt’s ranchers want to feed local beef to locals? 100 mile etc…..Infrastructure to take food away from the county now is counter indicated and the movement of Nuke waste is really scary but they said “We’re already doing that”.

    Caltrans needs to spend it’s money or it won’t get more. Nevermind dealing pre-emptively with the many places along 101 where there’s a slide in the future (jeez, it’s overtime once it has to be dealt with after the fact, 24/7 shifts).

    What a mess.

    is more disturbing actually

  97. Another 2 cents
    May 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    ‘Is more disturbing actually’ was stuck in ‘Paste’ – nothing to do with this comment – sorry.

  98. Mitch
    May 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    “is more disturbing actually”

    Always a good phrase to keep on speed dial.

  99. Random Guy
    May 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Cristina Bauss, you’re a moron. Look at the rest of the nation, moron. And are you talking about the same Sun Valley that trucks in illegal imigrants to work sweatshop conditions while polluting the bejeezus out of our bottoms with pesticides and fertilizers? Is that the sun valley you’re all talking about?

  100. Random Guy
    May 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    No more compromising forests for freeways.

  101. Gump
    May 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I’m not sure that the CB solution would do any good. They way I understand it is that the longer STAA trucks are unable to stay in their lane with the road configured the way it is. Even if there is just one at a time wouldn’t they be in the way of whatever else is in the other lane? Could be a non STAA fuel truck, huge RV, bus, Big pickup towing a boat….

  102. The Once-ler
    May 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Every once in a while I sit down with myself asking ‘Once-ler, why are you a Once-ler?’ And I cringe, I don’t smile as I sit there on trial asking ‘Aren’t you ashamed, you old Once-ler? You ought to be locked in a hoosegow, you should! The things that you do are completely un-good.’ Yeah? But if I didn’t do them, then someone else WOULD! That’s a very good point, Mr. Once-ler. Progress is progress, and progress must grow!

  103. me
    May 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Mr Once-ler, maybe it’s because you thought up something original Once-ler

  104. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Random Guy, all you did with your infantile comment was reinforce what I wrote in my earlier post, which called for civility. And you apparently didn’t even read my post about Sun Valley and illegal immigrants, or pointedly chose to ignore it. Like a few others, all you’re doing is hurting your cause by acting like a doctrinaire asshole. A doctrinaire ANONYMOUS asshole, I might add.

    Have you seen the “work” being done at Whittemore Grove to ensure that all those eco-groovy back-to-the-landers (and mind you, I’m practically married to one, although we live elsewhere) can get to and from home after that massive slide a few weeks ago? Let me ask you something: if every single tree matters, every single grove (and I believe it does) because only 3 percent of it is left, where all all the cries to “Save Whittemore Grove”? My guess is, like someone said way earlier in the thread about the work around Klamath: it just isn’t sexy enough.

    We’re all entitled to disagree with each other. But name-calling isn’t going to encourage ANYONE to look at the evidence on “the other side,” whatever that may be. I AM going to read the new report by Dr. McBride, but heaven knows I’m not doing it because of people like you.

  105. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    “Have you seen evidence they the will NOT be harmed? Fact is, we do not know what the effect of deeply cutting the roots of the old growth redwoods will be.”

    Exhibit 1: Existing roadway.

    But really, I’m sick and tired of going rounds about RG. I’m willing to engage in intelligent dialogue with people who have real questions (such as Mitch and tra), but I’m not willing to get sucked back into a dark vortex where I’m spending my afternoon having anonymous shitheads (and I’m NOT talking about you in this instance) calling me names.

  106. The Once-ler
    May 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Well, what do you want? I should shut down my factory, fire a hundred-thousand workers? Is that good economics, is that sound for the country?

  107. Another Fool
    May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    The Industrial Revolution and the Agricultural Revolutions are going along splendidly. With a good EIR and a new smog control device, everything will be perfect. The web of life is strong, the air is clean, nuclear power is safe, half our drinking water sources are poluted but if we buy more water filters, that too will be fine. Better living through chemistry, better living through science.

  108. Curley
    May 27, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Random Guy- give it a break. You’ve puked enough today.

  109. another anonymous
    May 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Christina, Exhibit 1 has been noted. Any other evidence?

    I don’t mean to single you out, Christina, but you should not discount the problems with this project just because one blogger was rude to you. His rudeness does not discredit the points that have been raised, and not answered by CalTrans.

    Intelligent dialogue cannot happen if you ignore the questions and lump everyone together as shitheads.

  110. Cristina Bauss
    May 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I didn’t “lump everyone together as shitheads,” Another Anon. I do realize you and Random Guy are not alike. Sorry if I’m testy.

    At this point, I’m more interested in seeing what Mr. McBride has to say than in going rounds about the trucking issue. A lot of people keep saying the same things over and over again, like “drop the speed limit,” when speed isn’t the issue; it’s off-tracking (that’s just one example). No, I don’t know how many STAA trucks *would* go through the Grove in a day, if STAA trucks *could* go through the Grove (other than the ones transporting live cattle and moving trucks). The economic argument has been beaten to death, and I’ve already spent way too much time on blogs having discussions both productive and not. At some point, it becomes like having the same family argument at Thanksgiving every year.

    If Dr. McBride has insights into potential root damage that no one else has offered to date, I’m certainly willing to consider them with an open mind. Not having read his report yet, I’ll try to abstain from making any more environmentally-related comments.

    One more quick note on the business issue, though. I realize someone else made the comment about the businesses included in the Gallo report having been carefully chosen, but I can tell you that my day spent surveying businesses in Garberville (more than a year ago) was quite instructive in terms of business owners who are in favor of the project not wanting to be publicly identified. Virtually ALL of the SoHummers who are pro-project begged me not to include their names in any of my articles. Essentially, they know what the party line is, and they don’t want to be boycotted, harassed, called nasty names, or have their employees be exposed to that. That doesn’t say much about the supposed enlightenment and open-mindedness of the SoHum community, does it?

    I’ll get back to you on the McBride report when I’ve had a chance to read it. Might be a few days. In the meantime, enjoy the wildly mixed weather.

  111. Oldphart
    May 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Once more, let me point out the World Famous Drive-Thru Tree. How many cars have driven over its roots? For how long? And did it kill it? Get me the science on why that tree is still alive after having its guts carved out and its root “compromised” or whatever its called.

  112. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Oldphart,

    makes too much sense on that phenomenon….must be the aliens again messing with people….ya know, because these ideas people have, like creating a drive-thru tree, are after they are abducted and analyzed and let loose upon society. It is a wonder how this can happen, a drive-thru a living tree syndrome.

    JL

  113. Steak n Eggs
    May 27, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Oldphart…Similar situation along Mattole Road in Bull Creek; nearly five miles of asphalted road with trees located right on the edge of the road. Steep cutbanks with sheared off boles, severed roots, and obvious past damage. Professor, are those trees cying? I spend a lot of time down there and they seem fine. But shit, I’m just steak ‘n eggs.

  114. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 28, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Hey,

    Don’t Redwood Roots, uproot? Old Grand Paps has a garage floor that says so. Grand Paps also has an asphalt driveway that Redwood Roots have uplifted. Redwood Roots are resilient in many conditions.

    Now, back to the real RG issue, motor and pedestrian safety! Otherwise, shut the whole damn road down and build a new one, elsewhere, because California likes to waste taxes.

    JL

  115. Anonymous
    May 28, 2011 at 9:09 am

    good point, cristina bauss aka moron. Have you seen why the whole project is a business as usual sham?

    >>> Existing roadway.

    Look at the rest of the nation, m0ranz.

    Humboldt County: Where freeway’s have the right of way.

    Your voices of support speak for themselves.

  116. Random Guy
    May 28, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I posted the 909, lest there be any playground fury over this trite bullshit. U$A! U$A! U$A! U$A!

  117. Bolithio
    May 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

    The fact that the trees such as the chandelier tree have no damage after 100 years of tourism are testament to the resilience of the redwood tree. The idea that these trees are somehow “fragile” or “weak” yet somehow magically live to be thousands of years old is ridiculous.

  118. Random Guy
    May 28, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Bolithio says: Go ahead and compromise an old growth grove in Humboldt County with more freeway. I believe in the principles behind industrialized progress as the global market prescribes, over those that would have industry succeed to the planet’s most endangered habitats.

    I’m thinking in 50 years you pro-freeway folks are going to be dead. True? Surprise! There’s still a future, we’re living in the proof of the past…

    >>Look at the rest of the nation, m0ranz<<

    For reference, tell us where geography and a historical timeline start and stop for you, as well as how far into the future you are projecting your visions. Like it or not, you pro-freeway folk are the flag waving status quo in this one.

  119. The Big Picture
    May 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    It’s interesting to note that the local industries repeatedly referred to as benefactors of this project are already viable, successful businesses that have been around for years and even decades.

    Without this project, these businesses, and others, will likely remain successful and our limited taxpayer subsidies can address the carnage on Hwy 101 in Eureka. Investing in our local quality of life attracts higher paying jobs.

    The RG project would make sense except for the inevitable depletion of cheap oil. Failing to focus our remaining and limited resources on alternatives like short-sea shipping, is pure folly.

  120. pete
    May 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    It took thousands of years to create this forest. It will take Cal Trans just a few days to destroy it. And all with the taxpayers $.

  121. taxed
    May 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I can’t think of any business that has been around for thousands of years like the forest has. Why should a business that is only here for a brief time in history think a road is so much more important than a forest. Seems terribly short sighted and selfish.

  122. High Finance
    May 29, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Yeah. People should just get off the planet & leave it alone.

  123. Anonymous
    May 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I am still with the arborist at Save the Redwoods. The plan shows such a minor project, small changes, not many trees removed and no large ones, but people’s imaginations have gotten the better of them. Hysteria, if you will, and another good example of wrong information and assumptions making people act irrationally.

  124. Not A Native
    May 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Yeah. People should consume the ability of the Earth to support life so they can grow in numbers while building spaceships to take them to the next planet. Thats what sustainability means.

    For 200 years, Americans cleared land to grow crops, farmed it until the harvest yields declined to where they were too small to feed a larger population, and then moved West. There was always more ‘virgin land’ waiting to be cleared, farmed, and used up.

  125. The Big Picture
    May 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    There’s nothing irrational or hysterical about demanding that limited state resources be used where most needed.

    $10 to $15 million is better spent addressing Eureka’s record injury and fatality rates on its Hwy. 101, than shaving a few minutes off a stunningly beautiful “inconvenience”.

  126. High Finance
    May 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Such as ??????

  127. William Verick
    May 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Sorry to get into this so late. What is going on with Richardson Grove is only partly about the roots of totemic Redwood trees. The other part of the story is classic CEQA piecemealing.

    First they got the money to build the bridge to by-pass Confusion Hill. Then they go to straighten the highway through Richardson Grove. All letting the huge trucks creep closer to Eureka.

    The part they aren’t telling anyone, really, is that the curve where Broadway turns into Fourth and Fifth Streets in Eureka is also not giant truck compliant.

    So as soon as they get the trucks through Richardson Grove, we will be hearing about how World Famous Humboldt Fog Cheese will just have to go under unless they build a truck highway through the Palco Marsh.

    That’s right. Arkley handmaiden Dave Tyson has wanted for years to build a truck by-pass through the Palco Marsh. This would divert truck traffic off 101 near Elk River Road and route it along the Bay, hooking up with Railroad Avenue, First Street in Old Town, proceeding past the Adorni Center and hooking back up with 101 somewhere close to Target.

    And that is what is really at stake. When the entire piecemealed project is finished. First Street in Old Town will become a highway for giant trucks, rumbling past the Waterfront Cafe and cutting Eureka’s waterfront off from the Bay.

    Funny that hasn’t been raised as the issue. But there you have it.

  128. Anonymous
    May 30, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Thank you, Bill, but none of it is funny.

  129. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 30, 2011 at 7:42 am

    It is still dis-heartening that the confusion bridge was not 4 lanes.

    JL

  130. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 30, 2011 at 7:47 am

    NAN,

    ah, the pioneering move west. Ya know, ya can’t blame the poor because as pioneers, wealth is what allowed the move west. Poor people could not save for the number of years required to “pay for the move west”. Yep, only those “wealthy enough” could afford the “Pony Express fees” in order to be allowed in the pioneer group.

    Let’s blame the wealthy again and again and again since wealth is what creates individual opportunities.

    JL

  131. Migh Finances
    May 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    When will you people ever learn, more road straitening creates more jobs. No one cares about your silly “Old Town quality of life” crap. And if this causes you “pain” I got lots more to share.

    Stay tuned.

  132. High Finance
    May 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    What happened to your green avatar ?

  133. Anonymous
    June 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    People with concerns about this project shoud go to youtube and look up “air spade” (the tool being used to work around tree roots in this project). There you will find some amazing video showing how gentle this process is on roots. One arborist uses one specifically to aleviate compaction issues in high traffic areas. Almost makes you think this might actually be good for the trees.

    And Random Guy, take your meds.

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