Dowling Road/Seward Highway Interchange Reconstruction

The Dowling roundabouts have been identified as a major safety concern for Anchorage bicyclists. In a survey administered by Vision Zero in 2016, the Dowling/Seward Interchange was the second-most-commonly identified intersection where respondents were concerned about bicycle/pedestrian safety (following Northern Lights & New Seward).

Both the Anchorage Bicycle Plan (2010) and the Anchorage Pedestrian Plan (2007) also identify the interchange as an area where non-motorized facilities need improvement. Dowling is one of only a few places where any traffic can cross the New Seward Highway in South Anchorage, so ensuring safety and usability for all types of traffic is crucial.

- The Dowling/Seward Interchange Draft Design Study Report (May 2019) does not propose substantive changes to how non-motorized users will travel through the roundabouts

- We also note that there are no dedicated bicycle facilities planned as part of this project. Instead, bicyclists are expected to share pedestrian facilities, which decreases usability and safety both for bicyclists and pedestrians.

 With wider lanes motorists tend increase their speeds. 

Our requests

Given that bicyclists will be expected to share pedestrian facilities to travel through the roundabouts, and barring any major changes to the planned roundabout design, we request the following design elements to improve usability and safety for bicyclists:

  1.     Ensure that all crosswalk refuge islands are at least 12 ft wide to allow longer bicycles (tandems, recumbent trikes, bikes pulling trailers) to fit in the refuge area. Otherwise, those islands will be unusable or hazardous traps for a portion of the cycling traffic.
  2.     Consider installing concrete curbs between the motorized travel lanes rather than simply painting buffers; this will help reduce motorized traffic speeds at crosswalks, which is crucial for improving safety for non-motorized users in roundabouts.

  3.     Install Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at every crosswalk. The current plan to install RRFBs only at the north-south crossings neglects to assist non-motorized traffic crossing east-west to travel along Dowling. Most non-motorized traffic travels along Dowling, rather than along the frontage roads, and thus will be using the east-west crossings. The Draft Design Study Report acknowledges that driver yielding behavior is known to be poor at all exits of the roundabout, indicating the need for improved crossing safety in all directions.

  4.     Assuming the RRFBs will be manually triggered, please ensure that the angles of approach between the crosswalk ramps and the buttons allow for the wider-turning radius of longer bicycles, as well as ensuring access for riders of recumbent bicycles who cannot step up on a curb to access the button.

  5.     Paint the crosswalks with zebra stripes, which improve motorists’ awareness of the presence of a crosswalk, rather than two parallel lines as indicated in the project graphics.

  6.     Install Pedestrian Crossing warning signs prior to each crosswalk (not only at the crosswalk as currently planned) to alert motorists in advance.

  7.  Prior to and after the roundabouts on both Dowling and the frontage roads, provide ramps for bicyclists to move between the road and the sidewalk/path. Some bicyclists may prefer to use the crosswalks in the roundabouts but would otherwise be biking on the road, especially given that there are painted bike lanes on Dowling just two blocks west of the interchange. Allowing bicyclists a safe, clear, and timely way to exit the road will be crucial for the safety of all traffic.

Comment period: 

September 21, 2020, through October 23, 2020, and closes at 5:00 PM AKST.

 

 


Other resources

Read an Article about Roundabouts and Non-motorized users Here. 

 

 

 

 


Check the treat Stations Map for Take a Bike Ride Day

What do the colors mean?
Yellow - stations available from 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM
Blue - stations available from 04:00 to 06:00 PM
Pink - stations with gifts for riders, both will be available on both schedules. I
If you click on the pin, you can see details like the exact address and the host name.

We'll see you on September 22nd!


Take a Bike Ride Day

Many things have changed this year due to COVID-19, and our beloved "Bike to Work Day" is not the exception.

As its name says, the event focuses on counting, encouraging, and rewarding all of those biking from their homes to their workplaces; treat stations are located all around the city, and cyclists can stop by and have a snack, participants can also get a commemorative shirt. 

Anchorage Bike to Work Day is a local celebration of the national event initiated in 1965 by the League of American Bicyclists. Each May, Bike to Work Day is a celebration of community and health.
Rider participation has increased 260% since 2007; and in 2017 a total of 4,189 riders were counted. Thank you to our dedicated volunteer counters, snack/treat station hosts and partners!


A large number of people are still working from home, that's why this year we've changed the name to "Take a Bike Ride Day", meaning that we will be celebrating all of those riding a bike around the city.
Take a Bike Ride Day will take place on September 22nd in conjunction with World Car-Free Day!

You can register individually and ride solo, or register the members of your household and/or family and encourage them to ride with you on this day. 

Treat stations will be available from 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM and 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM with pre-packaged food and beverages, a map with the location of the treat stations will be available soon!

We ask everyone to follow all physical distancing and face-covering requirements, we also encourage everyone to wear a helmet, if you don't have one you can get one for free by completing this online bike course. 

Mark your calendar, and register!

   

 


League Cycling Instructor Seminar

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a League Cycling Instructor Seminar in Anchorage.


But wait, what is it a League Cycling Instructor?
League Cycling Instructors are ambassadors for better biking through education, the seminar is a certification for experienced cyclists that primarily focuses on training them on how best to teach bicycling education. By the end of the seminar, they will have a strong working knowledge of bikes, bike maintenance, experience riding in high traffic scenarios, and bicycling infrastructure. The seminar is not only about learning how to ride safely, it's about teaching others to do so. 

LCI can teach Smart Cycling Classes to children, as well as adults, they help people feel more secure about getting on a bike and teach them to ride safely and legally. To get more information about becoming a League Cycling Instructor, click here

In case you've never heard before about The League of American Bicyclists, we invite you to visit this page to know everything about them!



Are you interested in attending the Seminar?
Here is what you need to know:

1. The registration fee for the seminar is $500, registration closes September 12th, don't miss it! If you are interested in registering send an email to dev@bikeanchorage.org
(you will need to become a member of The League of American bicyclists, and pay for a one-year membership $40.00 in order to register)

2. In order to obtain the certification, you need to successfully complete a Smart Cycling Class at least 3 weeks before the event and attend the 3-day seminar. 
(Most of the Smart Cycling Class can be done virtually)

3. You will need to practice social distancing, and wear a mask during the whole duration of the seminar. 



 

 

We have scholarships for people who are interested in taking the seminar and identify as WTF-GNC or BIPOC, to apply for a scholarship fill out this form and send an email detailing your cycling experience to dev@bikeanchorage.org (The scholarship covers the registration fee only) .

*Women, Trans*, Femme, Gender Non-Conforming, or Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

 


Seward Hwy Pathway Between - Anchorage and Girdwood

Biking the Seward Highway to Girdwood is seen as a risky endeavor by Anchorage bicyclists, and usually viewed as completely insane among non-cyclists. That point of view has its merits with the highway being a know place for safety concerns for all user groups. The only suitable place for biking everyone can agree on is the Bird to Gird Pathway, a 13 mile separated pathway from Indian to Girdwood. 

As it is, there are 12 miles of un-pathed highway between Potters Marsh in Anchorage and the start of the Bird trail in Indian. That number will be decreasing this summer with a mile-long Pathway Extension as part of DOT's Seward Highway MP 100 to 105 Project currently under construction. Better pathway access will be immensely beneficial to the community and many businesses in Indian. And as any Alaskan who's needed to bike the highway knows, every mile not spent on the shoulder is an immediate relief from the stress and danger of the high-speed high-volume vehicle traffic between Anchorage and Girdwood. The issue is that DOT's 100 to 105 project didn't continue the pathway for the last segment of the project's length. Now that pathway gap is being cited as the reason to not build further pathways along the highway during other highway improvement projects, as new pathway won't connect to the existing Bird to Gird Pathway.

New Projects, No Pathways.

The Bike Anchorage Advocacy Committee recently found out that a new project just north the Bird to Gird Trail, DOT's 105 to 107 Windy Corner, has chosen to not include pathway because of the "105 pathway gap" they left. This project is a massive one, moving thousands of tons of rock into the Turnagain Arm to straighten and widen the Seward highway to 4-lanes with a grass median in the middle. There will be a large "Mountain-Side Park" with parking and access to Turnagain Trail, a Turnagain Arm emergency access, and even the railroad is getting shifted. DOT assured the public that the right of way was set aside to build a pathway parallel to the highway, but since it wouldn't connect to the Bird to Gird trail DOT would not build one. Falls Creek trail, just south, will also not be accessible from the new park. The highway safety improvements of this project will be designed for people in cars to feel safer going faster, while cyclists will be left to navigate the shoulders of faster and busier highway lanes with merging and passing events happening around them.

The 12-miles of un-pathed Highway will not be reduced to 8-miles, and the Bird to Gird pathway, Falls Creek, and the town of Indian will not connect to the new Mountain Access Park area. The Seward Highway gets fixed in segments, this is why not adding pathways during these projects is short-sighted. Fortunately, there's still some hope!

Bike Advocacy Committee.

The Windy Corner Project is still in its review process and is accepting public comment. The Bike Anchorage Advocacy Committee took priority to speak up for Anchorage's biking and active community by submitting a letter to project management bringing attention to the issues and long-range active transportation plans not being followed. The committee also reached out to many interested groups and businesses alerting them to these project decisions and requesting their input. 

Interested in helping secure pathway?  

The Seward Highway 105 to 107 Safety Improvement Project's public review period is open until AUGUST 14th. Your input as a community member who acknowledges the requirement for safe separated pathway connections can make a huge impact. Submit your comment on the issue. DOT usually gets very few comments from the public, so they will be strongly considered.



The Golden Sprockets

This year was the second ANC Active Challenge, where we encouraged people to commit to walking, biking, and taking transit from mid-May through September and track their trips on the LinkAK system.

The results are in: You all did amazing! 436 people participated in the challenge and logged over 14,500 trips for a total of over 73,000 miles of biking, walking, and bus riding.

Read more