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Infill or Sprawl? 

Editor:

I am writing in support of the projects now being considered by local governments to create more dense, taller, walkable housing: the Arcata Gateway Project (Mailbox, March 31), development in Eureka's downtown parking lots and the proposed McKinleyville town center. A 2009 Health Impact Assessment of options under consideration by the Humboldt General Plan Update overwhelmingly supported higher density infill development compared to unrestricted growth in the more rural areas of the county. www.humanimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/HIA-Case-Study.pdf

The Health Impact Assessment showed that the overwhelming number of 35 health indicators would be improved with infill development. The list of indicators improved includes: money spent by households on transportation, total vehicle miles traveled, time driving to work (with the corollary of less time for leisure activities, exercise and family), scores on an isolation index, access to parks and essential services, housing affordability and percentage of children living close to schools.

The alternative to infill is sprawl. Let's face it. With the expansion of Cal Poly Humboldt and other new businesses, our population is growing. If we do not accommodate more people in our towns, more people will build and live in green spaces and wild and working lands. People who live outside of town do not stay there. They drive to town for work, school and shopping and ultimately could create Santa Rosa-like traffic snarls in Humboldt and even more parking problems. While the developments under consideration in Eureka, Arcata and McKinleyville have some people concerned about the impact of population growth, it is more appropriate to accept that the population is growing and support the healthier alternatives.

 Ann Lindsay, McKinleyville

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