The Anchorage Non-Motorized Plan provides the vision for a network of facilities for non-motorized travel (walking, biking, rolling, and winter non-motorized modes) within the Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions (AMATS) Metropolitan Planning Area.
AMATS presented an overview of the plan in February, and you can view a recording of the presentation here. That’s a great way to get a quick overview of the plan’s contents. The plan consists of 205 pages! but it's easy to read with lots of informational graphics. You could also focus on the chapters that are of particular interest to you:
Chapter 1 (Introduction) describes the goals, objectives, and motivation behind the plan.
Chapter 2 (Existing Conditions) describes and maps existing bike/ped facilities as well as other factors considered by the plan, such as areas of high demand (such as business districts) and areas with a lower socioeconomic status where non-motorized transportation might be particularly needed. These factors were used to identify where more work is needed to improve the network.
Chapter 3 (Public Involvement) describes the steps taken to encourage past public participation in developing the plan.
Chapter 4 (Network Development) describes and maps the proposed connections to help improve the bike/ped transportation network.
Chapter 5 (Prioritization) indicates which proposed projects are the highest priority to be completed first.
Chapter 6 (Implementation) outlines several example projects with detailed guidance in how they might be implemented. These are only examples to illustrate costs, feasibility, and potential types of facilities - no set plans for any given project.
Chapter 7 (Design Guide) provides important information on specifically how projects could be designed to be bike- and ped-friendly.
Overall, Bike Anchorage supports this plan and agrees with its goals to make non-motorized transportation more feasible and comfortable as a way to get around Anchorage. We appreciate the data-driven approach to prioritizing projects, including considerations such as where people need to go and how existing inequities make non-motorized options particularly essential in some areas of town.
Bike Anchorage is currently preparing comments on the plan, and we will make that letter available here when it is completed. Our comments focus on three main areas:
Ensuring the “Existing Bicycle Network” map is accurate. The existing facilities, as displayed in the plan, provide an important baseline for evaluating where gaps in the network need to be filled. We will ask that the map be revised to remove or distinguish the “secondary paved paths” that are unsuitable for bicycling due to narrow width or high driveway density. We will also ask the plan to recognize that the winter bicycle network is much different from the summer one due to paved shoulders and bike lanes being uncleared or used for snow storage. We support the creation of a “prioritized winter bike network” that would indicate particular routes that would be prioritized for winter maintenance, providing a reliable way to move across the city even if the number of routes is reduced relative to the summer network.
Including non-infrastructure solutions in the plan. Currently, the plan focuses almost entirely on building infrastructures such as bike paths and bike lanes. While infrastructure is essential to improving the network, other measures could help as well. We ask that the plan include guidance and encouragement to implement solutions such as improving wayfinding signage, adjusting the timing of traffic signals for bikes and pedestrians, improving law enforcement and education to make roads safer, and adding lighting where needed.
- Optimizing design and maintenance. We suggest a few improvements to the Design Guide, such as prioritizing infrastructure options that will make winter maintenance easier, ensuring that bike facility design follows best-practice guidelines (such as specifying that the gutter pan should not be considered part of a bike lane), and ensuring that longer bicycles, such as recumbent trikes or bikes pulling trailers, will be accommodated in project design.
- Ensuring the “Existing Bicycle Network” map is accurate. The existing facilities, as displayed in the plan, provide an important baseline for evaluating where gaps in the network need to be filled. We will ask that the map be revised to remove or distinguish the “secondary paved paths” that are unsuitable for bicycling due to narrow width or high driveway density. We will also ask the plan to recognize that the winter bicycle network is much different from the summer one due to paved shoulders and bike lanes being uncleared or used for snow storage. We support the creation of a “prioritized winter bike network” that would indicate particular routes that would be prioritized for winter maintenance, providing a reliable way to move across the city even if the number of routes is reduced relative to the summer network.
We encourage everyone interested in non-motorized transportation to submit comments supporting the plan or suggesting changes to make Anchorage more bike-friendly. Please feel free to use any of the above comments in writing your own letter. The plan will also require approval by the Anchorage Assembly, so you can also contact your assembly member to demonstrate your support for the plan or any changes you would like to see. Simply stating that you support efforts to make Anchorage more bike-friendly is just as important as making any suggestions for changes to the plan.
We suggest the following template as a starting point; you can expand this template or substitute points for improvement that are particularly important to you:
Dear AMATS Planning Team,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Non-Motorized Plan. I strongly support efforts to improve options for biking and walking in Anchorage. As the draft plan is finalized, I urge you to ensure that the map of existing conditions accurately reflects routes that are safe and comfortable for bicycling; to encourage the use of supplemental solutions such as wayfinding, traffic signal timing, enforcement, and education in addition to building infrastructure; and to continue working to ensure that winter maintenance is sufficient to allow reliable, safe, and equitable non-motorized transportation throughout the year.
Thank you for working to improve non-motorized transportation in Anchorage, which is such an important part of making our city safer and more livable.
Comments can be sent to [email protected] by this Friday, March 5th, 2021.
Fourth week Giveaway winners
Third weekly giveaway winners
Second-week giveaway winners:
The first-week giveaway took place today, and here we have the winners. Update, we are still looking for the following winners: Bruce Ross and Ellen Barry!
We will stream movies on Tuesdays using the Kast platform. To participate you will need to create a free user account. The platform allows everyone to participate and interact in a chat while watching the movie.
Your name will be entered into the weekly giveaway for participating in this activity. All you need to do is join the Watch party on Kast and drop your full name in the chat, or share a picture of yourself during the watch party and tag us on Instagram.
We will also have a Facebook event for each watch party with the link to participate, a synopsis, and a link to the trailer.
On top of the movies, we will stream weekly, we made a collection of short films that you can watch for free here.
We will be handing out free reflective material for you to decorate your bike. Participating in this activity will get you one entry to the weekly giveaway.
If you choose to decorate on-site and let our photographer take a picture of your decorated bike, you’ll have more opportunities to win and will be entered twice in our weekly giveaway.
*We ask you to wear a mask and practice social distancing if attending the glow fests
February 5th - Westchester Lagoon from 4 to 6 pm
February 19th - Abbott Loop Community Park from 4 to 6 pm
We have created a route for each weekend. Each route is different and you have from Friday to Sunday to ride the route, or just a segment, depending on your energy and skill level. We highly encourage you to do it with people from your household or social bubble and to wear the themed outfit for each route. Since we can't do mass rides at the moment, when you see someone wearing a costume or the same color as you around the same area you will both know you are doing the same activity!
The second route is here
We will release a list of items/clues that you have to do, and each item will have a different number of points depending on the difficulty. Participants will need to document their clues with photos which can be shared on social media tagging us, direct message, or email.
We will compile people's scores and announce the three top winners.
Participating in this activity gives you an entry to the weekly giveaway
We want to show that we appreciate your participation during Winter Bike Fest. We know it's not easy to go outside on cold days, or knowing that you can't hang out with a lot of people at the moment. This is why we want to encourage you to be part of this event and reward you for doing it.
We will have 4 weekly giveaways on the following days: Monday 8th, Monday 15th, Monday 22nd, and Sunday 28th.
The first three giveaways will be done virtually at 1 pm and will contain all the people that participated in any of the activities from the past week, for example, the first giveaway on Monday 8th will have the names of people participating on the first week's activities, the second giveaway on Monday 22nd will only have the names of the people who participated on the activities of the second week, and so on.
For the fourth and last giveaway on Sunday 28th, all participants from weeks 1, 2, and 3 will be automatically entered to win. This means that you will have several opportunities to win gifts. We have also kept our biggest prizes for the last giveaway, including two roundtrip tickets from Alaska Airlines to travel to any of their national or international destinations valid for a whole year.
Winter Bike Fest 2021 is around the corner, during February we will have a series of events for you to participate in such as scavenger hunts, solo rides, virtual screenings, glow fest, and more.
We know biking during winter it's harder than in the warm months, the cold can be intimidating, and wearing the right gear and clothes is crucial to enjoying the ride, this is why we want to reward you for getting outside and being part of this Festival.
Every time you participate in one of our activities, you will be able to win a prize. We'll release all the details further this month.
One of the prizes you can win is an Alaska Airlines double Main cabin roundtrip voucher valued at $1,250.00 each to any of their 115 destinations, and we have more!
Stay tuned, and get ready!
Anchorage has 8 new Certified League Cycling Instructors, yay!
While they all have different backgrounds, they all have in common being active members of the cycling community, we invite you to know a little bit more about each one of them.
Brigit works at the Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services (RAIS) from the Catholic Social Services in Anchorage. She became an all-year commuter in Anchorage after moving here and not owning a car, she is a tough avid commuter that you can find on the trails despite impeccable weather.
Chelsea became an LCI to help others enjoy the fun of biking and teach them how to be safe while doing it. She works for the Municipality of Anchorage, has been on the Bike Anchorage board for a few years, and is passionate about improving traffic safety and active transportation in Anchorage. Chelsea started bike commuting when she was in the first grade, and continues to commute by bike all year. She supplements bike commuting with mountain and fat biking with her two dogs.
Christi is a civil engineer with CRW Engineering. Biking is a way for her to get to work, run errands, exercise, and stay involved in the community, and she's been biking since she was a kid. Christi is drawn to biking as a form of transportation that's healthier, more equitable, and more fun than a car. She is happy to help Anchorage's bike commuters learn best practices to stay safe.
Christina started to ride a bike as a little kid, doing laps up and down the street. Then, there was a big gap n her life without riding a bike until College, her uncle was a bike messenger in San Francisco and a big influence on her to consider the bicycle as a serious mode of transportation. She started riding her bike to school because parking was rough and expensive. After college, she moved to Alaska for a job.
Devora became an urban cyclist when she was in law school at the age of 21, it happened because gas and parking were too expensive and public transportation was unsafe, unreliable and a terrible experience overall. She has been involved in transportation and urban planning ever since.
She has experience teaching Transportation subjects, it started while she was working in the municipality of her city in Mexico and she was part of the team that created the curriculum that would be taught to drivers that incurred misdemeanors or got tickets for endangering non-motorized users, the curriculum would teach drivers how to safely interact with cyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities and how to respect their infrastructure. She later was with Cycles of Change in Oakland, California teaching kids from the Fruitvale Elementary School how to be urban cyclists taking them for rides in the city, and teaching bike mechanics both in English and Spanish. Dev would love to teach Smart Cycling Classes in schools of the Anchorage School District in the future, and to adults who want to be bicycle commuters.
Donovan was born and raised in Fairbanks and first started using the bike as primary transportation during his senior year at UAF because one day in the middle of winter his truck stopped working. After learning to commute at -20F, everything else seemed like a breeze and he's been enjoying the many benefits of the bike as transportation ever since.
In 2015, Donovan graduated and moved to Anchorage to start working in the transportation engineering sector. He has become passionate about applying his knowledge and time to help mature and modernize the urban design policies in the city he loves and calls home.
Mat first got into bicycling as a pre-teen and teenager, as a mode of transportation in the suburbs, then in college, they built a bike from scratch and started going on day rides. After college, they wanted to go on a bike trip but didn't have a cycling community and didn't know how to do it --so, Mat bungee'd a milk crate to their newly-built bike, threw a backpacking bag in, and rode with a friend, from NJ to Nashville over the course of a month, after this, she rode solo from San Diego to Montreal.
Most recently Mat bicycled to their homeland starting in the high Himalayas of India and down to Kerala at the tip of India, where her parents are from. After that long bike ride, they became committed to sharing her passion for bike trips as a way to see incredible places, taste delicious food, feel the generosity of strangers, and also as a way to uncover homeland, seek truths within oneself, and access personal power.
Mat co-wrote a chapbook called Asking for Elephants, and after went on a storytelling tour across the US. They are currently working on a book about that India ride, queerness, sobriety, and homeland. Mat is excited about the possibility of learning how to actually teach and instruct cycling so that they can offer tangible skills alongside storytelling.
You can see the list of all the Certified League Cycling Instructors in Anchorage and their contact information here.