(Phase I's 30th Ave existing on left, Proposed on right)
Anchorage's most promising bike equitable projects is near the final design of its first of four phases, with Phase I being planned for construction in 2021. The overall project is scoped to create an east-west low-stress route through the Midtown area from Spenard Road to the Seward Highway. The route moves along avenues with historically less driver-pedestrian/bike collisions and through the main intersections that are signalized. The aim is to offer a continuous connection that most adult riders will feel is convenient and comfortable enough to bike through Midtown. Basically, an urban bike route designed in a way that people who don't consider themselves "fearless cyclists" will feel is an option.
This style of transportation design has proven time and time again to be the biggest return on investment a city can make. For Anchorage, it's a first and an incremental project towards a fundamental shift. This shift will challenge our city's designers to move away from prioritizing vehicle speeds on every road in order to greatly benefit the many community members interested in the freedom to accessing Midtown by bike.
Highlights from Phase I include:
-Upgrades to W. 30th Ave (19-feet of space for walking and rolling, 20-feet of space for driving)
-A pathway on North Star Ln (8-feet for walking and rolling, 20-feet for driving).
-A new 10-foot pathway connection to Arctic Blvd.
-Arctic Blvd Pedestrian crossing improvements at 32nd.
-Striping with interim painted bike lanes on W. 32nd Ave between Arctic Blvd and C St.
(The project's phasing will be done in four parts starting on the west end and moving east)
This is where you come in:
The Bike Anchorage Advocacy Committee have been closely following the projects' development and have submitted comments and recommendations in an effort to ensure the most effective and bike user friendly design is proposed. The committee has delivered markups to the planset and requests using our decades of combined Anchorage commute biking experience, nationally recognized low-stress design guidance, and the lessons learned from cities with more mature urban biking infrastructure. Please take a moment to see what our team came up with and click on our link below to submit what you think the project needs. Feel free to use our recommendations if you agree with them. You can help our city officials understand your needs and concerns as a person interested in a safer, cleaner, and fiscally responsible Anchorage for all!
Bike Anchorage Advocacy Committee's direct requests
1. Where no physical separation is offered to cyclists (30th Ave: Spenard Rd to N. Star St):
- Keep the 30th Ave at 20mph and do not increase vehicle speeds to 25mph as currently proposed.
- Help slow traffic down by narrowing vehicle lanes from 10 to 9-feet where bike lanes are located. (See image 1)
- Add speed bumps or employ other traffic calming tools to induce slower speeds and discourage reoccurring through vehicle traffic along the entirety of 30th Ave. (See image 2)
- Add a transportation mode “permeability filter” to the north end of N. Star St to allow only non-motorized and emergency vehicle access. (See image 2)
- Add stricter “no parking” signage with fine amounts shown to deter bike lane parking. Consider adding parking enforcement agreements to contracts. (See image 2)
- Add “bikes may use full lane” signage on 30th and 32nd at all locations where bike lanes end, and at the beginning of mixed-use unstriped roadways. Consider sharrows. (See image 2)
2. Arctic Blvd Crossing:
- Add Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) to the crossing. (See image 4)
- Make the pathways intersection with Arctic Blvd have a wider opening and larger curves so people on bikes can easily navigate the narrow 4-foot sidewalk. (See image 4)
- Use a 10-foot cargo bike as the "design vehicle" for pathway curves and approaches.
- Between the pathway and crossing, make the sidewalk wider there so bike and peds can cross each other. (See image 4)
- Add additional width to crosswalk with green bike lane paint crossing bars. (See image 4)
3. Comments for all project phases:
- Add continuous (raised) sidewalks and bike lanes at all commercial approaches. This will increase safety by physically indicating the right-of-way to pedestrians and bikes. Making people on bikes go up and down grades and bumps will greatly degrade user experience.
Traffic signalization timing at A and C streets:
- Ensure an average speed cyclist does not have to stop at both signals due to vehicle speed prioritized phase timing.
- Propose traffic loops in a way that allows for an easy retrofit of “bike box” staging areas.
- Install bike detection loops and bike specific signals at signalized intersections, or install facilities now to allow for cost efficient retrofits.
- Add bike-lane accessible queuing buttons if no bike detection will be offered.
- Use a 10-foot cargo bike as the design vehicle for all curves and curb return radii on bike path approaches, roundabout pathways, and islands.
- Add more wayfinding signage at the main approaches and turns of the bikeway to indicate the route to approaching (north/southbound) non-motorized traffic.
Bike Anchorage Advocacy Committee's planset markups