Sunday, April 26, 2009

Anchorage's bike plan unveiled

The city has released more than you could ever want to know on the recommendations set out by the Anchorage Bike Plan. Major proposals include bicycle lanes along A/C Streets from O'Malley to Benson, a bicycle lane on Northern Lights Boulevard from LaTouche Street down to Postmark Drive at the airport (along with a lane going down Postmark Drive itself), a connection uniting the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail with the new bike trail that runs along Ship Creek to Mountain View; and though not officially backed by the Plan, a proposal is made for a bike trail that runs alongside the railroad tracks from Spenard to Huffman. The Alaska Railroad by the way does not support the idea as they plan to increase the speed of their trains to 79 mph. The goal of the Anchorage Bike Plan is to layout a reliable network of bike lanes, shared roads, and trails to accomodate not for recreationist, but rather for bicycle commuters making errands to the grocery store or whatever in everyday life.

One problem with the proposed bike network is its conflict with the plans surrounding Downtown Anchorage. Upon skimming the PDF's, I found that recommendations go against bollards (or knee-cappers as I call them), and discourage bottleneck intersections -- an area where the sidewalk spills toward the street so as to give pedestrians a narrower road to cross. If you've been to Downtown latley, you know this is what they're all about. The bike planners concede however that with speeds in downtown at around 25 mph (and possibly down to 20 mph if downtown planners have it their way), it's better off for bikers to share the roads with vehicles rather than have a dedicated bicycle lane. According to the map though, 9th Avenue along the Park Strip would get a bicycle lane along with Cordova. In the end I'm satisfied with the compromise for Downtown as it is indeed a unique area planning wise.

Anchorage Bicycle Plan

Proposed Bicycle Network Map

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