What’s this about?
Spenard Road (between Minnesota and Benson) will be rebuilt soon to better fit the businesses, residents, and wider Anchorage community. Unfortunately, the project's current design features unsafe and high-stress bike facility designs that will not be usable for most people. *If you want to get involved send an email using our template.
This DOT project proposes:Option 1. 8-foot sidewalk, 4-feet bicycle lane (unprotected), 2-feet of curb and gutter.Option 2. 12-foot multi-use pathway made up of a 6-foot sidewalk and a 6-foot bike lane (it's unclear if there will be a separation of each section).
Option 3. 7 ½ foot sidewalk, 4 1/2 feet bicycle lane (unprotected), and 2-feet of curb and gutter.*Note: all design options have two 11-foot travel lanes (for vehicles) and a 13-foot center turn lane.
The Bike Anchorage Advocacy Committee opposes unprotected bike lanes on this core community corridor that should be accessible to everyone. Spenard road will not see a redesign like this for another 20 to 30 years. So, let's make Spenard a route for all the people in Anchorage!
This petition calls on DOT to provide protected bike lanes all along the Spenard Rd project (Benson Blvd to Minnesota Dr). If you want to get involved send an email using our template.
Can you imagine a Spenard corridor like this?
Send an email using our template by clicking here. Let your voice be heard.
If you want to know more, keep reading.
What are "Protected Bike Lanes"?
Protected bike lanes offer physical protection to people on bikes and increase driver sightline to people biking at driveways and intersections. They are what most cities are using to enable more people to go by bike.Protected bike lanes are safe and functional for people of all abilities (that means YOU and your family). In contrast, unprotected bike lanes (meaning bike lanes marked only with paint) will be considered usable to only ~3% of people.
*Examples of urban protected bike lanes in the United States
Is there enough room on Spenard for protected bike lanes?
Yes! 65-feet of right-of-way space provides the necessary room for traffic levels while also offering these modern bikes and walking amenities. It is possible and will take community members like you to speak up and encourage our city planners for the much-needed change. As currently proposed by DOT, the new Spenard redesign proposes the highest level of stress bike facilities and is considered usable only by the elite “strong and fearless” riders.
Does the Community want protected bike lanes?
The Spenard Corridor plan and project review meetings recorded overwhelming business and community support for modern bike and walkability. As a result, we were surprised that the Alaska DOT project team released roadway diagrams that go so strongly against the planning and community input years by omitting working bike facilities.
Here 7 important reasons to build protected bike lanes on Spenard:
1) Safety and Usability. Protected bike lanes will make the street much safer for people riding bikes or other rolling options by physically protecting them from the dangers of cars and trucks along the roadway. Rather than expecting bicyclists and other moderate-speed users to travel on the sidewalk, providing a dedicated bicycle facility will provide a better experience for pedestrians and people with disabilities. It will also make bicyclists more visible when crossing the many side streets and business pullouts of Spenard. The street will be safer and less congested for everyone—including people driving.
2) Business and Midtown community success. Protected bike lanes mean business and are hugely beneficial for local businesses, the nearby residential livability, and property values. Protected bike lanes will help businesses recover from the hits they've taken during COVID by bringing an entirely new stream of foot and bike traffic.Protected bike lanes allow "all-ability" use by the community by making this corridor a welcoming area to spend time... not just to drive through. When a street is bike and foot-accessible to all community members, local commerce and neighborhoods thrive!
3) Equity. Protected bike lanes on Spenard will provide people in outer Midtown a faster, more affordable alternative to driving. A city's ability to provide its community safe and practical transportation options beyond owning a vehicle is the number one factor for ensuring at-risk community members can stay and move above the poverty line.
4) Climate goals. By encouraging people to bike rather than drive, we'll get closer to achieving our city's goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. In addition to helping us achieve long-term goals, protected bike lanes will immediately make the neighborhood's air cleaner and reduce noise pollution.
5) Accessibility. Protected bike lanes benefit younger, elder, and people with physical disabilities by giving them a safe, fast, and comfortable way to get around on bikes and other mobility devices. In addition, they allow them to be more independent by not relying on cars and other people for every trip.
6) Winter City Infrastructure and maintenance budgets. Many winter cities in North America and around the Arctic Circle have experienced increases in bike usage after implementing an urban network of protected and low-stress bike lanes. The rise in the use of bikes for transportation reduces the cost of construction and maintenance. Every additional trip made by bicycle will save our state's budget millions with reduced wear and tear on our roads. Protected bike lanes are also what winter cities have moved to because they are a better option to allow easy, cost-effective year-round maintenance (including winters). In contrast, painted bike lanes, which are not feasible to maintain during winter and spring.
7) Building for the future. Now is our ample opportunity to ask for the Spenard that we want to experience for the coming decades.
If you support this vision for Spenard, please join our community movement. Send your petition using our email template and share it with others.
WE NEED YOUR HELP CONNECTING ANCHORAGE TO THE BIRD-TO-GIRD TRAIL
Commenters like YOU needed!
CONNECTING ANCHORAGE TO THE BIRD-TO-GIRD TRAIL
Last summer (July 2020), Bike Anchorage commented on a planned Alaska DOT project to upgrade the Seward Highway at Windy Corner (MP105-107). At that time, DOT’s plans did not include the construction of a separated path along the highway, even though the stated intent was to build a path there at some point in the future. Despite the extensive planned work to widen the highway, blast rock from large sections of the cliff, build a large new parking area, and move the railroad, the additional work to construct the path was not deemed worthwhile.
A major project update: “Windy Corner to Rainbow Point (MP105-109.5)”
But now there’s some good news! Following extensive community feedback, DOT has updated the project to include “potentially constructing” a path in this corridor. This is especially good news because the updated project has been extended by 2 miles and will now cover the stretch between the Falls Creek Trailhead and Rainbow Trailhead.
Project map from http://www.windycorner.info/
Building a separated pathway makes even more sense now that the project is longer (4.5 miles), and would also provide an option to travel between the two trailheads without getting back in your car. Improving safety is a major stated goal of this project, and including the separated pathway is crucial to realize that goal.
Building the path on this section is also the next essential step toward connecting Anchorage to the popular Bird to Gird Trail. This project spans 4 miles of the remaining 12-mile gap from Potter Marsh (Old Seward Hwy) to Indian, where the separated pathway currently starts. We would love to have the option of biking all the way from home to Girdwood without ever having to get on the highway shoulder!
The Bird to Gird Trail is a safe, quiet, and scenic route that is much more welcoming than the highway shoulder. (photo at project site) The Alaska DOT Maintenance budget cannot afford to pay for highway cleaning. No matter the width of constricted shoulders, they'll become 2-foot or less of usable shoulder due to highway debris.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
DOT has opened a new period for public comment on this updated project. Please submit a written comment any time before July 15th. Comments can be sent to:
Tom Schmid, P.E. - Project Manager
DOT&PF Central Region Preliminary Design & Environmental
P.O. Box 196900
Anchorage, AK 99519-6900
Email: [email protected]
A written comment does not need to be long or detailed - you can simply state that you are in favor of constructing a separated path along the highway corridor with the Windy to Rainbow project. Bike Anchorage will be preparing a detailed letter after the open house, and we’ll make it publicly available before the July 15th deadline in case you’d like to get some ideas for your own comment.
See you on the trails!