Nov 30

Planet Bike is a big advocate for bike commuting. Their website has pages devoted to grassroots strategies. One  page is devoted to “super commuters”.

“Bike Culture Magazine and Planet Bike honor our silent hero: the bicycle commuter. A supercommuter rides through every season, in all weather, day and night. Choosing the simplicity, health and pleasure of bicycling, a supercommuter prefers to ride to the grocery store, to work, to a concert or the cafe. Each issue BikeCulture chooses a new Supercommuter.”

Nancy Fresco talks about her experience as a bike commuter in Fairbanks’ super cold weather. But, she also highlights the joys of summer commuting. Alaska is a truly a unique place where we can pedal home from an evening out with friends and it still be light out.

“One night I set out for a fifteen mile ride home just after midnight. The temperature was just right; it was in the 60′s, with a perpetual gold and red sunset glowing in the direction I was heading. Hardly anyone was out that late on a Sunday night. It was quiet and calm, the fireweed was just starting to bloom, and the air smelled of spruce trees. I felt like I could have biked forever.”

Check out the whole story here .

Nov 20

I attended the Midtown Distric Plan Public Workshop last night.

The plan looks like it  relies heavily on smart-growth concepts. The idea is to promote high-density, mixed-used development. The designers are aware that as the population grows the existing streets will not be able to handle the traffic volumes that comes with it. Basically, that means there has to be a mode shift. Creating high-density, mixed-use development and focusing on pedestrian and bike amenities will encourage that mode shift. Distance and safety are two main factors when choosing non-motorized transportation. The plan appears to address both.

A lot of the success of this project hinges on the Highway to Highway project (H2H). It expects that it will draw a lot of the congestion from Midtown. This is a safe assumption when you see that all Midtown east/west streets cross the Seward Highway. It also proposes the addition of cut-through streets. This may seem counter-intuitive to the bike-commuter, however, these streets would serve the purpose of dissapating the traffic, have lower volumes and more importantly have lower speeds (see graphic below). Because they would be new streets they would be more likely to have complete-street concepts built in. They could serve the bike-commuter nicely.
survival_rates

I found the presentation and the plan refreshing. I am glad to hear designers say that double right-hand turn lanes are a bad idea. In such an auto-centric town, I was also glad to hear the planners say that shifting transportation modes is really the only solution. In other words, Midtown will eventually reach its car-carrying capacity. There were a few dissenters, mostly business owners, who haven’t bought into the concept that complete streets are an asset to the business community. I simply have elected not to patronize businesses that resist making our streets safer for all users. I think it is a matter of time though. As we grow, we have to adapt. They will either get onboard or be left behind. The old model doesn’t work and I think the plan outlines a good way forward.

review the plan here- www.midtownplan.com
Damian

Nov 20

Look no further than Lan Yin Tsai, an 84 year-old woman who has participated in the New Jersey City to Shore t1larg.eiko2.irpt150-mile bike ride to benefit multiple sclerosis research for the last 26 years. Yes, 150 miles. And she does it in class and style.  The CNN article on Tsai noted

“I always try to tell people, whatever you can do, keep doing it, keep doing it,” she says. “And that’s why I do MS. When I start something, I don’t want to just quit.”

And why the nice dress and high heels? Tsai says that’s just her normal biking outfit.

“I went to church, so I always dressed up and would ride my bicycle,” she says. “So that’s why I do it that way — I do it that way naturally. That’s the way I ride my bike.”

So whether you are heading to work, out to a restaurant or maybe the movies, or just like Lan Yin Tsai, off to church, consider getting on your bike, enjoying the fresh air, a little exercise and the feeling that yes you can ride even when its cold. If you need tips on winter riding, check out our fact sheet.

Nov 17

The Municipality of Anchorage Traffic and Planning Departments have initiated the Midtown District Plan to supplement the Anchorage 2020 Bowl Comprehensive Plan. The Midtown District Plan seeks to bridge the gap between the vision and goals set forth in the Anchorage 2020 Plan and the implementation elements necessary to make that vision a reality.  A Public Review Draft of the Plan is now available for review and comment.

To get your copy or for more information about the plan, visit www.midtownplan.com.

A MIDTOWN DISTRICT PLAN PUBLIC WORKSHOP will be held in the Loussac Public Library ground floor conference room next to the Assembly chambers from 6 to 8:30pm with and Open House at 6pm, Presentation at 7pm and Discussion at 7:30pm. Come to the public workshop and/or send your comments by December 11 to Tara Klunder at KlunderTG@ci.anchorage.ak.us.

Nov 17

An Open House/Public Meeting will be held from 1 to 6pm, with presentations at 1:30 and 4:30pm, in room 307, Consortium Library to discuss the PLANNING FOR THE NORTHERN ACCESS TO U-MED DISTRICT. The Alaska Dept. of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is preparing a reconnaissance study to evaluate potential improvements to U-Med district access from the north and east.  A reconnaissance study is an early phase of project development and looks at a range of alternatives to see which are reasonable and feasible to move forward into preliminary engineering and environmental studies. For questions or more information contact:

Michela Spitz, DOWL HKM, at 907-562-2000 or email umednorthernaccess@dowlhkm.com.

Nov 06
Biking in France

Biking in France

Nov 03

This quote comes from Rep. Earl Blumenauer, as he discusses bicycle transportation while riding in New York City.  Street Films was there to catch it all on video. The video highlights some of the problems with bike lanes and the benefit of separated bike ways, commonly referred to as cycle tracks. The cycle track, while new to cities like New York and Portland, is common in cities like Copenhagen and highlights how we can get to a point where bicycles are a significant transportation modal share.

Take a look and see what NYC is doing to become a more sustainable and livable city.

Nov 03

Any time some article about bicycling in the city runs in the ADN, the folks who likely have never ridden a bike in town come out and say “we built all these trails for you – stay off our roads.” For those that ride these multi-use pathways (they are not trails and they were not built solely for bicycle use but for enjoyment by all users), and especially those that use sidewalks, it is clear that sticking to mult-use pathways and sidewalks is downright dangerous.

BCA has been giving “Safe Bicycling Techniques” clinics for the last year and we constantly highlight the dangers of sidewalks and multi-use paths. So it was with little surprise to read an article on Bike Portland about a recent literature review conducted by a group of scholars at the University of British Columbia has found that indeed sidewalks and multi-use pathways are the most dangerous place to be on a bike.  They examined all available studies linking bicycle safety with infrastructure and found that:

“Results to date suggest that sidewalks and multi-use trails pose the highest risk, major roads are more hazardous than minor roads, and the presence of bicycle facilities (e.g. on-road bike routes, on-road marked bike lanes, and off-road bike paths) was associated with the lowest risk.”

The following is the Bike Portland article in its entirety and is worth the read.

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