Safe and Sustainable Transportation Targets

Host: Humboldt County Association of Governments
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation (e.g., sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Climate Mitigation, Renewable Energy, Transportation / Mobility
Skills Needed: Project Management, Public Speaking, Data Analysis, Stakeholder Engagement,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – Our office is open 5 days a week. We have people working either full time in the office or they can choose to work part time from home as needed. We are very flexible but do appreciate some in person time with everyone together.

Service Needs & Plans

Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) serves the entirety of Humboldt County as the Regional Transportation Planning Agency. HCAOG membership includes the 7 cities within and the County of Humboldt. HCAOG, as part of the Regional Transportation Plan, adopted Safe and Sustainable Transportation Targets. These targets aim to reduce green house gas emissions from the transportation sector, and improve safety for all road users. For each target there is a need to collect/ document baseline data, monitor progress, and conduct implementation projects. HCAOG has done some work towards this, but needs additional capacity to focus on this work.

The project will include environmental and social equity benefits. The targets focus on topics such as safety for pedestrians, improving transit and increasing transit ridership, conversion to zero emission vehicles (private vehicles and fleets), transit oriented development, and first and last mile connectivity.

Project Description

Overarching goals of the project are to make progress towards documenting baseline conditions for the Safe and Sustainable Transportation Targets, determining how each target will be monitored, and to conduct some implementation efforts.

Under direct supervision and with the assistance of the Executive Director, the CivicSpark Fellow will ultimately prepare a report that will document baseline conditions and include a methodology for monitoring each Target. Through this work, the Fellow will have the opportunity to present to and consult with the public, HCAOG Technical Advisory Committee, and the HCAOG Board. Implementation activities will also be part of the work and will include assisting with ongoing initiatives to support transit agencies and increase transit ridership, and safety related efforts to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

HCAOG operates with a staff of 4. As far as preparing the report and the amount of concentrated effort it takes to do so efficiently, we simply haven’t had the resource to dedicate a staff member to this effort. We each work on portions as we can. Much of our ongoing staff work supports the Safe and Sustainable Transportation Targets but not in a particularly coordinated way. We recognize the importance of this work/ report as a tool to not only guide our efforts but to increase transparency with the public and our member agencies on the progress we are making.

Desired Skills

The Fellow will be the primary author on the Safe and Sustainable Transportation Targets report. We have done a lot of legwork to identify potential data sources for baseline data and monitoring. The fellow will need to help vet these sources, form opinions about best options and present those to HCAOG staff and eventually the public, committees and Board. This will all be done with assistance and regular guidance from HCAOG staff. A Fellow who is a good technical writer, comfortable with (or at least has a desire to get comfortable with) public speaking, ability to work collaboratively on many levels (internal staff, external partners and stakeholders)would be good. Experience working in Canva to publish information in an accessible way would be a benefit.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

HCAOG is a genuinely great place to work! We are a very small office (4 employees), but passionate about our regional focus and our efforts to reduce transportation harms including safety for vulnerable road users and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our office is friendly, flexible and relaxed, but we are very productive. This is achieved by our employees being dedicated to their work and HCAOG offering a suite of benefits (such as a 32 hour full time work week) that allows for an appealing work life balance.

We are committed to infusing equity in all that we do and ensuring our work benefits the whole of the region. Demonstrating this commitment: we have adopted an equity statement that includes policies and action items. The range of these policies include everything from dedicating staff time to ongoing DEI training, maintaining ongoing relationships with underserved communities, directing investments towards those communities, and supporting our Tribal Partners in various ways.

I think this would be an invaluable experience for a Fellow. Although we are a small office in terms of staff, the Fellow will get the experience to consult and work with the general public, Technical Advisory Committee Members (public works directors, tribal transportation managers), and the HCAOG Board (County Supervisor/City Council Members). Additionally the work would include coordinating with transit operators, and other Joint Powers Authorities such as Redwood Coast Energy Authority, and the local college and University. The exposure to working with so many stakeholders will be great for professional development as will the work product/ report that the Fellow will get to be the lead author for, building their body of work to share with a future employer.

Community Highlights

Our offices are located in Eureka on the Redwood Coast and we serve all of Humboldt County. At about 30,000 people Eureka is the biggest city around for many hours drive in any direction. We are surrounded by natural beauty- redwood forest, Humboldt Bay, sandy beaches, rugged coastline, rivers, mountains. This place literally has it all. We’ve got fog and rain; just miles inland we’ve got snow and heat. Our remoteness leads to a culture of rugged individualism and innovation. Our location is popular for those enjoying hiking, mountain biking, environmental advocacy, beach combing, kayaking, river rafting, dogs, farmers markets, festivals, makers and artists, art nights, trails, cycling, and murals (lots and lots of murals!).

We have seven federally recognized Native American Tribes within Humboldt County. Tribal members and tribal governments play a large role in our community.

Against this backdrop there are of course challenges; some unique and some ubiquitous to California and more specifically rural California. Our challenges include high rates of poverty (and associated challenges), and high rates of people experiencing homelessness, and high rates of missing and murdered indigenous people. For each of these we have motivated community and government partnerships working to make progress.

There are big changes being contemplated in our community, namely the development of a heavy lift marine terminal at our port to support a future west coast offshore wind industry. Tracking and getting involved in these conversations about community benefits, environmental impacts, and stakeholder involvement could be very interesting for a Fellow.

Our transit operator is piloting hydrogen fuel cell buses- an example of the innovation occurring behind the Redwood Curtain.

In terms of political affiliations Humboldt is one of the most evenly divided counties in terms of party preference. This means we have diverse view points in almost equal numbers and often makes for eventful public meetings. But overwhelmingly we have all found a way to get along and get things done.

One of my favorite things about Humboldt is, it is a place where you get to be yourself. There isn’t a lot of pretense here.

This would be an ideal location for someone who isn’t craving all the city comforts, and is ready to be immersed in a vibrant and unique community both in terms of people and the environment.

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