Mike Dronkers / Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 @ 12:46 p.m. /
McKinleyville Holds a Public Meeting on November 13 to Unite Around Central Avenue Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
A new grassroots organization calls for public officials to commit to Central Avenue safety at community meeting
The McKinleyville Organizing Committee (MOC), a grassroots organization representing more than 100 McKinleyville families, will host a “Community Action Meeting” on Wednesday, November 13, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the Church of the Joyful Healer, located at 1944 Central Avenue, in McKinleyville.
MOC member Pastor Steve Lundin of the Church of the Joyful Healer states, “The MOC talked to around 300 McKinleyville residents about their concerns for their community. The common thread among hundreds of McKinleyvillites is their desire to make Central Avenue safe for walkers and bikers. Every day we don’t act is another day we might lose another community member on Central. The time is now to come together and find a solution and make this street a safer place for all of us.”
Debbie Jansen, a 25-year resident of McKinleyville and a member of the MOC, adds, “Residents of McKinleyville who can’t drive because of their age, disability, or economic situation, or who prefer to walk or bike, should be able to move up and down the town’s main road safely.”
The Action Meeting will provide an opportunity for McKinleyville residents to voice their concerns, share the results of their research process, and ask the public officials present to make public commitments to begin a process of community input and design on Central Avenue that will include walkers’ and bicyclists’ safety. Tom Mattson, Director of the County Department of Public Works, Supervisor Ryan Sundberg, of the Humboldt Board of Supervisors, and Ben Shepherd, Chair of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC) have confirmed their attendance at the meeting.
In Spring 2013, the State Department of Transportation awarded Humboldt County approximately $800,000 for a safety project on McKinleyville’s Central Avenue. When the project was presented to McKinleyville as a central median, local businesses and the McKMAC opposed it on the grounds that a median would obstruct business, and a public input process was never initiated.
The McKinleyville Organizing Committee formed as a group of concerned community members in May of this year. The MOC then conducted hundreds of interviews and selected pedestrian and bike safety as its first campaign. Through research and talks with public officials on the subject, the McKinleyville Organizing Committee found a solution for moving forward with a safety project that incorporates public engagement. That solution will be presented to the public on November 13.
The McKinleyville Organizing Committee is part of the Humboldt, Del Norte, & Adjacent Tribal Lands Organizing Network, which follows the PICO (People Improving Communities Through Organizing) model of community organizing. The MOC’s relationship-based method of organizing supports community members to become community leaders by building relationships across socio-economic boundaries, conduct research to identify obstacles and solutions and negotiate policy changes with decision-makers to address issues most important to local residents.