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Archive for March, 2010

The Anchorage Daily News just posted a quick update from tonight’s Anchorage Assembly meeting (Tuesday, March 23). The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved the Anchorage Bicycle Plan, which over the next 20 years will make Anchorage more bicycle friendly and will more than double the city’s trail system from 248 miles to 500. (UPDATE: Here is a story from the “Alaska News Nightly” statewide newscast Wednesday night on the Alaska Public Radio Network)

Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage President Brian Litmans posted this comment on the Anchorage Bicycle Plan’s Facebook Fan Page: “Unanimous support! Thanks to all who came out. It was incredible to see so many folks out to support the plan.”

Litmans posted this comment on the Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage’s Facebook Fan Page: “It was a long night, but lots of folks stuck it out. Many testified and great points about how this will make Anchorage a better, more livable city were made. The Assembly resoundingly supported the plan. Thanks to all of the Anchorage bicycle supporters. This is a success because of all of you.”

If you need more information about the Anchorage Bicycle Plan, click this previous post and this one, then look for the links in the posts.

Also, on Tuesday afternoon, before the Anchorage Assembly met that night, the Alaska Public Radio Network aired on its hour-long statewide call-in show, “Talk of Alaska,” a feature interviewing Litmans about “Bikes and Alternative Transportation” (streaming audio available on the link).

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If you’re looking for something to do tonight in Anchorage, the Anchorage Assembly is scheduled to hold a public hearing and possibly vote on passing the Anchorage Bicycle Plan. This is Agenda Item 13-C (supporting material is available on the link). There is a business meeting starting at 5 p.m., and appearance requests should start about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, at the Anchorage Assembly Chambers at the L.J. Loussac Library. This is a continuation of the discussion that took place during the March 2 meeting, and video from that meeting can be found here.

The Anchorage Daily News this week ran an excellent story by Lisa Demer detailing some of the benefits of the Anchorage Bicycle Plan, such as better trails, better plowing, better health, etc. The article also has good links to a plowing plan for bike paths and sidewalks in Boulder, Colo., as well as info about biking in Minneapolis, two of the more bike-friendly winter cities in the country. The Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage advocacy group also has a wrap-up of the article, as well as links to more information about the plan on its Web site, including a series of talking points for people who testify. If you do attend the meeting, you are encouraged to bring your bike helmet to show your support for the Anchorage Bicycle Plan, even if you don’t plan on testifying. If you can’t attend, the meeting is televised on Channel 10 in Anchorage.

Here is an e-mail Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage President Brian Litmans sent to bike plan supporters on Monday:

Hey, bike enthusiasts,

A last-minute reminder that tomorrow evening (March 23), at Loussac library, the Anchorage Assembly will continue the public hearing on the Anchorage Bike Plan. Many bicyclists came out on March 2nd, to testify about why the Bike Plan is important to them. We hope we again get large numbers of bicyclists out to the Assembly meeting to let the Mayor and the Assembly know how important this Plan is to the Anchorage bicycle community. Even if you don’t testify, it is important to come out and show the Assembly, just by our large presence, that many people support the Plan and want a more bicycle-friendly city.

Implementation of the Plan will lead to more bicyclists, which means less cars, which in turn means less congestion and better air quality. It also means that more Anchorage citizens are leading active healthy lives, which is good for themselves and for the city as a whole.

So we hope to see you at Loussac library tomorrow night. The Assembly is saying that they should get to the Bike Plan sometime after 6 p.m. For those on tight schedules, this go-around, BCA will attempt to blog live from the Assembly through our website and our Facebook page. We will try to let everyone know when in the evening the Bike Plan will be heard. So you can follow along from home and come on down when we know when the Assembly will get to the Plan.

You can find a link to our Facebook page on our website
http://www.bicycleanchorage.org/

Also, for those that missed it, the ADN ran a great story on the Bike Plan yesterday.

http://www.adn.com/2010/03/20/1192613/two-wheeled-travelers-pumped-for.html

And you can find talking points, as well as copies of the Bike Plan here:

http://bicycleanchorage.org/wordpress/?page_id=798

Looking forward to seeing lots of bicyclists tomorrow night ~ Brian

Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage
http://www.bicycleanchorage.org/
info@bicycleanchorage.org

Anchorage Bicycle Plan-Public Hearing Draft 08-09

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood addresses the National Bike Summit on March 11, 2010, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo © Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood addresses the National Bike Summit last week at the Dirksen Senate Chambers in Washington, D.C. (Photo © Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland)

Bicycle and pedestrian advocates from around the country received a pleasant surprise when U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood jumped up on a hearing room table at the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., to thank the crowd and to reconfirm his support for biking and walking. The next day, LaHood announced a major new DOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation, Regulations and Recommendations. “It is simply the strongest statement of support for prioritizing bicycling and walking ever to come from a sitting secretary of transportation,” the League of American Bicyclists noted on the group’s blog.

On his own Welcome to the Fast Lane blog, LaHood wrote:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:

• Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
• Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
• Go beyond minimum design standards.
• Collect data on walking and biking trips.
• Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
• Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
• Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects.

Now, this is a start, but it’s an important start. These initial steps forward will help us move forward even further.

If you want to see and hear LaHood’s tabletop speech, here are video links from the League of American Bicyclists and the StreetsBlogSF channels on YouTube.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood addresses the National Bike Summit on March 11, 2010, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo © Jeffrey Martin of the League of American Bicyclists)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood addresses the National Bike Summit on March 11, 2010, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo © Jeffrey Martin of the League of American Bicyclists)

Bicycle and pedestrian advocates around the country praised LaHood’s announcement, which some think might lead to a national Complete Streets policy. The new DOT policy even addresses concerns such as snow removal from sidewalks and shared-use paths, which is a major issue during Alaska winters. In addition to praising LaHood’s announcement, the National Complete Streets Coalition blog noted that the Institute of Transportation Engineers at its conference Monday in Savannah, Ga., announced a new recommended practice for designing multi-modal urban streets, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach.

Unfortunately, not everybody was happy with LaHood’s announcement and on March 17 several Republicans ridiculed bike lanes and even LaHood (a former Republican Representative from Illinois) during a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. The Courthouse News Service reported that Ohio Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette even asked during the hearing if there still was mandatory drug testing in the Department of Transportation.

A blog post on the Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage site said LaHood’s announcement couldn’t have been more timely, since the Anchorage Assembly and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan are working on the Anchorage Bicycle Plan, which is up for additional public hearings and a possible vote during the Tuesday, March 23, meeting of the Anchorage Assembly (5 p.m. at the Assembly Chambers at Z.J. Loussac Library, Agenda Item 13-C, click agenda link for supporting documents). The Anchorage Bicycle Plan previously was discussed during the March 2 meeting of the Anchorage Assembly, and video is available from this link. If you can attend the meeting, take your bike helmet to show your support. If you can’t attend, the meeting is televised on Channel 10 in Anchorage.

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