Flailing policy


The solid white line at Elmore and Dowling roads/Craig Medred photo


Where Anchorage bike policy went wrong


With the Anchorage Assembly patting itself on the back for supposedly making Alaska’s largest city safer and friendlier for so-called “vulnerable road users,” it’s time to talk about the realities of this group delusion.

The photo above illustrates one of the Assembly’s overlooked problems of friendliness, but we’ll get back to that.

First, there’s the matter of another problem raised by a reader of this website who jumped to the conclusion an earlier article about bike safety suggested motorists should break one law – that which prohibits crossing a yellow stripe painted on a roadway – to comply with another law – that which mandates motorists given bicyclists three-feet or more space when passing.

The story did not suggest this. What it suggested was that motorists drive responsibly, which might actually – God forbid – mean tapping the brakes and slowing down behind a cyclist until reaching a safe place to pass.

But, with that said, there is a yellow-line problem in Anchorage as elsewhere. The problem might even be worse in Anchorage. There are unnecessary yellow lines on streets all over the municipality.

Here’s one such example in Turnagain:

Wisconsin Street/Google

And another on the Hillside:

Hillside Drive/Google

These are not the only long, straight roads with good sightlines with double yellow stripes in Anchorage. There are plenty more.

Such roads exist all over the U.S., and if you want to know why, Steven Goodridge, a North Carolina engineer lays out the rather lengthy history at “i am traffic.” 

Because these yellow lines discourage some, all or many drivers from moving left to pass cyclists when there is no other traffic on the road, they pose enough of a national bike safety problem that a model law – ” the “Model No-Passing-Zone Exception” law – has been developed. Some version of this law has since been adopted by a variety of states and some cities, such as Knoxville, Tenn.

What the law says is simply this:

“When passing a pedestrian, bicycle, tractor, or other slow moving vehicle, the operator of a vehicle may drive on the left side of the center of a roadway in a no-passing zone when such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with or endangering other traffic on the highway.”

Needless to say, the Anchorage Assembly did not adopt this law or anything like it though some Anchorage drivers already ignore the yellow lines when passing cyclists or, more commonly, slow-moving vehicles. Goodridge claims on his website that “practically all drivers” cross these lines to safely pass cyclists.

That may be true in North Carolina, but would appear not in Anchorage. The road below used to be part of one of my regular bicycle commuting routes, because it was the only usable route from the Hillside to downtown in a city woefully short on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Goldenview Drive/Google

Many drivers, especially a lot of men behind driving large trucks, did cross the yellow lines to pass at the legally required three feet minimum and often at the 4 feet required in Pennsylvania or the “minimum of 6 feet” required in South Dakota at speeds over 35 mph. 

Most of those who went fully into the opposite late on Goldenview were driving faster than the 35 mph speed limit, something which is all too common on that road, but if a driver is going to break the law, it would seem best to break the one least likely to get anyone seriously injured or killed.

This is, in fact, what road safety laws are supposed to be all about. The Brits recently rewrote their Highway Code to make it easier for everyone to understand how the these rules are supposed to work to prevent injuries and deaths.

Protecting the most vulnerable  in the United Kingdom


Lawmakers in the United Kingdom created a “Hierarchy of Road Users” to make it clear that “that ALL (sic) road users…are considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others,” according to the new UK driver’s manual. 

“Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.”

Anchorage lawmakers could have written a law like this to make it clear to everyone what is expected in the municipality if their interest was really about on-the-road safety and not just appearances.

They didn’t do that.

Instead, they left things up to law enforcement, which does little to protect vulnerable road users in Anchorage, and individual motorists who sometimes go out of their way to ensure the safety of others, as noted above, or the opposite.

Unfortunately, there were over the years a lot of Goldenview drivers, notably women with a death grip on the steering wheel of a sport utility vehicle, loath to provide a cyclist more than a foot of space, if that. This is not a sexist statement; it is a simple observation.

The behavior could well stem from women taking the yellow lines more seriously than men because women have been shown to be inherently more law-abiding than men. Why this happens to be the case is unclear but a group of criminologists tied the significant gender gap in crime to the lower resting heart rates of males in a peer-reviewed, 2017 study. Go figure.

But there were plenty of men, as well as women, who didn’t give a second thought to close passing someone on a bicycle. Enough that I can fairly testify that in more than 30 years on a bike in Alaska’s largest city, I have found that most drivers – contrary to Goodridge’s observation – won’t and don’t cross single yellow lines, let alone double yellow lines, in order to safely pass cyclists.

A few, and thankfully only a few, can’t even seem to stay on their side of the white stripes designating “bike lanes” along a relatively few Anchorage roadways. There is a reason the Brits and Belgians refer to these white lines as “murder strips.”

The assembly can’t do much about drivers who can’t keep their tires out of the bike lanes, but the assembly could have easily fixed the yellow-line problem to make life a tiny bit safer for cyclists.

It didn’t.


Neither did the body do anything about the situation on display in the photo at the very top of this story. This the T-eed intersection of Elmore and Dowling roads with a solid white line painted through it.

A cyclist might take that to mean, he or she doesn’t have to stop at the red light, but that is not the case, according to both municipal and state officials, who say a red light is a red light for cyclists no matter what the paint on the road might indicate.

This might be the least of the red light issues facing cyclists, however, and the assembly’s answer to fix them all was a bizarre twist on the so-called “Idaho stop,” which allows cyclists to treat red lights and stop signs as yield signals.

Anchorage adopted the Idaho stop for stop signs, but stipulated cyclists had to wait 120 seconds at a red light before treating it as a yield signal.

Start your watches boys and girls so you can do your part to help the MOA deal with faulty technology that doesn’t recognize bicycles at intersections. Many stop lights, you see, are computer programmed to favor busier streets and won’t change from red to green until a large motor vehicle triggers sensors alerting the light to the presence of a motor vehicle on the lesser favored street.

The light will then start a countdown to proceed from red to green. This isn’t unique to Anchorage. There are stoplights like this all over the country and they are often as much a problem for those on motorcycles as on bicycles.

Before learning about this technological failing, I stood at the intersection of 20th Avenue and Bragaw Street for more than five minutes on one cold night waiting for the light to turn green before deciding to break the law and cross the street on the red.

It was late at night. There was no traffic for blocks in either direction. So, yes, I decided to break the law and join that pack of hooligan cyclists some motorists claim to believe are everywhere running red lights in Anchorage.

But there are some red lights they should be legally permitted to run. There is no reason whatsoever to require cyclists to stop at T-eed junctions like the Elmore-Dowling intersection above. There is less risk of a cyclist being struck by a motor vehicle while ignoring a red light here than there is of a cyclist being run down while crossing the road with a green light at any four-way intersection in any part of the city because in the case of a T-ed intersection, the cyclist never enters the motoring lane.

If the Assembly truly wanted to make Anchorage “friendlier” to cyclists, which was part of the assembly’s claimed goal, it would have amended the local ordinance to stipulate that “cyclists are not required to obey a stop light at any intersection where a solid white line has been painted through the intersection to protect them from motor vehicles.”

Sadly, the assembly’s failure to write such a provision into the code is symptomatic of the bigger problem with the new ordinance in general: It was written by a group of lawmakers clueless as to whatever problem or problems they were trying to fix.

One can give the Assembly credit for good intentions. Wanting to make Anchorage a safer city for cyclists and pedestrians is a good thing.

And wanting to make changes to local traffic laws to encourage more Anchorage residents to move around the city under their own power is an even better thing, though somehow that message has been lost to the masses and especially many conservatives among the masses.

Conservatives, in particular, should get their heads out of their tailpipes and consider the true costs of what the machines have done to us. Motor vehicles fed our inherent laziness and now, because of their unspoken dictates, we are killing ourselves and strangling our economy.

One of the biggest economic problems facing the U.S. today is the insane amount of money spent on health care – more than twice the average of other first-world countries, according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and more than $5,000 more per person per year than Germany, the world’s second biggest health care spender. 

The left-of-center Commonwealth Fund, which gets high marks for reporting honesty despite its leaning, describes the U.S. “as a world outlier when it comes to health care spending” and sounds like a conservative organization when it headlines U.S. “Perspective, 2022: Accelerating Spending, Worsening Outcomes.”

“…People in the United States experience the worst health outcomes overall of any high-income nation,” the Fund said in its latest report. “Americans are more likely to die younger, and from avoidable causes, than residents of peer countries.”

Much of this, if not most, is due to the fact Americans are now among the least fit people on the globe as has been well illustrated by the now and thankfully fading pandemic of the old and the unfit.

Against the pandemic backdrop, it is interesting to compare the motocentric U.S. with the Netherlands, where a lot of people still get around by walking or cycling.

The pandemic death rate in the Netherlands today stands at 1,336 per million, according to the Worldometer tracker, about a third that of the 3,500 per million in the U.S.

The Dutch suffered far fewer deaths during the pandemic than the U.S. despite 20.2 percent of that country’s population being age 65 or older versus the 16.8 percent of the U.S. population which fell within the demographic hardest hit by the pandemic.

Eighty percent of the deaths in the U.S. came among people 65 or older, which reflected the global trend, according to a peer-reviewed meta-analysis in the journal of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

Exercise, doctors have now recognized, is medicine, and the Dutch are way better than Americans at taking their medicine because their transportation system encourages it.

In part because of this, life expectancy in the Netherlands is 82.58 years, compared to 79.74 in the U.S., according to the Worldometer website. And there is no sign that encouraging the use of muscle-power instead of machine power for day-to-day transportation has harmed the Dutch.

The Numbeo Quality of Life Index rates the Netherlands number two in the world just behind Luxembourg and ahead of Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland in that order.

The motocentric U.S. with all its disincentives to exercise and all of its incentives to sit on one’s ass and drive everywhere is in 16th. Welcome to the land governed by machines that encouraged the invention of the drive-in or drive-through everything, including drive-through liquor stores despite a well-documented, nationwide problem with drunk drivers.

It’s time the country does something to reverse this takeover by the machines, but the big question is how to incentivize day-to-day exercise via the U.S. transportation system without spending huge amounts of money or upsetting motorists who – no matter whether righty or lefty – are angered by anything they perceive as slowing their driving hither and yon.

Let’s face it, the country is addicted to cars and trucks.

While those on the right should be all over the idea of getting more people walking and cycling for the healthcare savings and the documented increases in worker productivity, those on the left should be all in behind the idea because of global warming.

The panting of cyclists produces very little carbon dioxide and e-bikes not much more. The “lifetime emission” measurement – a measure that includes the energy used to manufacture products plus the energy they consume when in use and the cost of disposal when they are spent – has been calculated at 16.12 grams of carbon per person per kilometer (g p/pkm) ridden for an e-bike.

That’s a little more than twice as high as the lifetime carbon emissions for a non-assisted bicycle at 7.64 g p/pkm, but a fifth of that for a plug-in hybrid car, nearly a sixth of that for a purely electric car, and a 13th of that for a standard gasoline-powered car, based on the data compiled by Travel and Mobility Tech. 

Despite this, American environmentalists have mainly focused their attention on getting drivers out of their cars into so-called EVs instead of encouraging the development of transportation systems that would promote the use of bikes both pedal and e-version.

Could it be because so many holier-than-thou greenies feel the need to drive their bike to a bike park to ride in the belief the roads are too dangerous?

But the roads needn’t be that dangerous. They can actually be made safer for vulnerable road users at little cost.

Locally ignored

Alaska’s largest city actually has a safe road example although it is unclear if anyone now sitting on the assembly is aware of it.

The example is the Mountain View Bicycle Boulevard (also known as the Peterkin (St.) Bicycle Boulevard) – “a shared roadway for which design has been optimized for through-going bicycle traffic and to discourage non-local motor vehicle traffic,” as the 2010 Anchorage Bicycle Plan described boulevards.

The more than decade-old bike plan for the city proposed a number of these shared, 20-mph boulevards, but most never materialized. In terms of making Anchorage, safer and friendlier for cyclists, the city has only gone backward in the last 13 years.

Other cities have begun to create networks of 20 mph, shared-use streets to encourage cycling and walking, and make both safer. Homeowners along such streets seem to love them. For one thing, it makes them feel much safer in letting their kids go outside to play

The city and county of Denver in May went so far as to reduce the default speed limit on all of its residential streets to 20 mph. Why?

Because 20 mph speed limits radically reduce the chances of pedestrians or cyclists, many of whom are children, being killed or seriously injured by motor vehicles.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that pedestrians struck by a motor vehicle traveling at 23 mph or less have a nine in 10 chance of surviving. The odds fall to 50-50 at 31 mph and by 50 mph there is a three-in-four chance the pedestrian will end up dead.

At an impact speed of 16 mph – a speed pretty easily reached by anyone tapping their brakes when a kid runs in front of their car in a 20 mph zone – there is a nine in 10 chance the person hit by the motor vehicle will escape the accident with only minor injuries.

Judging by the number of speed bumps popping up in neighborhoods all over Anchorage, it would appear the citizenry here has recognized this as well and is trying, independent of the assembly, to create safer streets.

An Assembly truly interested in making the city friendlier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists – and better for motorists given that any shift to commuting by bike or on foot instead of alone in a motor vehicle as most Anchorage motorists commute, takes a bite out of traffic congestion – would have gone a step farther that the present ordinance and written into the municipal code a whole network of shared-use, 20-mph streets.

Or followed Denver’s lead and made them all 20 mph streets.

But that didn’t happen, either, which only compounds the coming problem the Assembly didn’t address at all – e-bikes.

E-bikes are a wonderful invention for commuters, health and reducing traffic congestion, but they are a growing problem on Anchorage’s so-called “bike trails” which are, in reality, multi-use trails regularly used by more pedestrians, sightseers and dog walkers than cyclists, though the latter are growing in number as new owners of e-bikes hunt out the few travel routes in the city that safely separate them from motor vehicles.

On Class 1 e-bikes, which by law require pedaling assistance which automatically cuts out at a speed of 20 mph, this is largely fine.

There is no good data on the average speeds ridden by those on Class 1 e-bikes, but e-bikers discussing the subject on various forums would make it appear that a 20 mph average speed is at the top end with most riders averaging closer to 15 mph.

Anchorage multi-use trails – Campbell Creek, Chester Creek, the Coastal Trail, Russian Jack and the like – can generally accommodate riders doing 15 mph if they have sound judgment.

Given the winding nature of many of these trails, however; the poor sight lines, the volume of traffic; the number of users who don’t understand that the U.S. is a ‘keep right’ country; the dogs on retractable leashes; the wandering children and who knows what else, many would be better advised to stick to speed of 10 mph or less, and few have the bike handling skills to ride 20 mph.

All of these issues grow in seriousness with Class 2 e-bikes, which are throttle-controlled just like a motorcycle, and Class 3 e-bikes, which are legally capable of pedal-assisted speeds up to 28 mph.

I don’t own an e-bike, but there are places on the Coastal Trial where I could or can hit 28 mph or more on a non-motor-assisted road bike. I don’t do it because it’s too dangerous, and I have pretty good bike handling skills, which are necessary to do even 18 to 20 mph safely on uncongested sections of the Coastal Trail.

One never knows what might be encountered when coming around a bend in that trail – moose, bears, someone asleep on the pavement, a family picnic in the middle of the trail, a One-Wheeler coming at you at speed on your side of the trail, or another bike ridden by someone who doesn’t understand the keep-right rule of all American roads and trails.

The Coastal Trail requires a cyclist be highly attentive and ready to take evasive action because it was not designed for commuting. It was designed for walking and sightseeing. The same can be said for many of the city’s most popular multi-use trails.

Thus, for safety reasons, the Assembly should have banned Class 2 and Class 3 e-bikes from the most popular, non-road-connected, multi-use trails and considered banning all motorized equipment, except Class 1 e-bikes, from these trails.

A vehicle powered by an electric motor is not less of a motorized vehicle than one powered by a motor fueled by hydrocarbons. Is it really a good idea to have One-Wheel riders wearing full-face helmets and body armor (apparenlty because they fear they are at serious risk of personal injury) traveling these trails on motor-powered devices capable of 20 mph speeds?

Or, for that matter, allowing electric scooters capable of speeds up to 62 mph?  Yes, you read that right. It’s not a misprint. There is an electric scooter that will now go that fast and since it will go that fast someone will surely try to go that fast.

At this time, these vehicles are unregulated in the municipality. Maybe it’s time to regulate them, or maybe it would be easier to just ban the use of helmets and body armor on the most popular trails which would make everyone, including cyclists, worry more about using their heads than covering them with PPE.

We don’t care….

Lastly, there is the little matter of NACTO,  which is the acronym for the National Association of City Transportation Officials, an organization formed in 2004 to further cooperation between cities on urban street and trail design.

More than a decade ago, it published the first draft of an Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Since then the organization has grown to number 96 cities while steadily upgrading and improving that design guide.

Anchorage has refused to sign on and adopt NACTO street and road guidelines for no apparent reason other than that old Alaska belief that “we don’t care how they do it Outside.”

Unfortunately, in this case, there is an Outside organization with a lot more knowledge of transportation design than the Anchorage Assembly, and other cities from Detroit to San Francisco and from Seattle to Philadelphia have recognized this.

All of the communities on the People for Bikes top-10 list of the country’s most bike-friendly cities in 2022 are, in fact, NACTO members.

Minneapolis tops the list and got there, according to the people at People, “by lowering speed limits, redesigning streets, and implementing an equitable, all ages and abilities (cycling) network.”

Minneapolis is, like Anchorage, a snow city. I know it pretty well. In the early ’70s, I used to commute by bike between a mobile home in the city, the University of Minnesota and the Northrim King seed lab.

I generally used the roads because there were no alternatives although the city did have, and still does, a nice trail system connecting its many lakes. That is a trail system similar to the trail systems along Anchorage’s major creeks.

Today the Minneapolis version “has been augmented by a series of initially painted buffered bicycle boulevard facilities throughout the city that provided network-level connectivity,” Luke Hanson, a senior transportation planner for Minneapolis, told People.

Hanson credited part of the development of this network to the city’s Bicycle Master Plan completed a year after the Anchorage Bike Plan. Minneapolis followed its plan. The Anchorage plan, as with so many plans in Alaska, turned into a planning exercise destined to go nowhere.

Instead of now writing a largely do nothing bicycle ordinance and proclaiming success in having done something, the Assembly could have gone back, dusted off that 13-year-old plan, and put it to use.

Some of it makes for funny reading now in the sense that “if this was funny it would be funny.”

“Improving the physical bicycle network is not enough to make Anchorage a bicycling-friendly city,” the plan warned. “Changes to the physical bicycle networks are probably secondary to education, enforcement, and safety in making Anchorage a bicycle-friendly city.”

The year after the plan was issued the muni wrote the safe-passing ordinance dictating motorists stay at least three feet away from cyclists when passing. The law has never been enforced. So much for enforcement.

Court records indicate that not one ticket has ever been written to an Anchorage motorist for disobeying the law though close passes in Anchorage are common.

The law has been dormant so long that most motorists in Anchorage today probably don’t know it exists. So much for education.

And as for cycle safety, that is something that rises or falls almost entirely based on the attitudes of motorists, and the attitude of many is bad.

For a cyclist in Anchorage, the scariest sign to be seen is the one at the end of a bike lane that says “Share the Road” because a sizable minority of Anchorage drivers appear to think any cyclist sharing the road is being “arrogant” and thus needs to be close passed to teach him or her a lesson.

This problem wasn’t helped by a left-leaning assembly which quite possibly made it worse in a city, like a nation, riven by a partisan divide.

It’s scary to think that some misguided individual who self-identifies as a conservative in the belief that any regulation of anything that might even remotely affect him might conclude the actions of a Progressive Assembly actually did something and decide to act on those feelings.

But one cannot ignore the fact that what we now call “road rage” was a creation of the automobile, and is frighteningly common if WebMD is to be believed.

The medical website claims road rage “has happened to more than half of all drivers” and quotes a psychologist warning that “road ragers don’t think about the consequences (of their actions) or even about other people on the road as real people with real families.”

And when you see motorists accusing cyclists of being “arrogant” for advocating favor of the safe passing distance of three feet (which is minimal to begin with and, technically at least, mandated by law), you have to wonder if they are thinking or letting the rage generated by their machine do their thinking for them, because they’re clearly not seeing cyclists as “real people with real families.”




























15 replies »

  1. It was written by a group of lawmakers clueless as to whatever problem or problems they were trying to fix.” This sadly is the state of affairs when it comes to most laws and Lawmakers.

    Maybe it’s the way I was raised or maybe there is somewhere in the dmv booklet, but I’ve always given pedestrians, cyclists, emergency vehicles, or anyone or anything on the side road a wide berth when safe to do so and I slow down considerably if I couldn’t until it was safe to pass, and I never gave a thought to if crossing the yellow line was legal or not. In one of the two times I received a speeding ticket, when I was much younger, the officer asked if I had a legal reason for speeding. I responded by saying no, is there a legal reason for speeding. He said if there were an emergency then yes you can legally speed. I will never forget it because he wrote it on the back of the ticket, which I found odd.

    • Steve-O: I was raised the same way. But it would appear we now live in a world of people raised differently. It’s hard to understand. Why would want to take ANY risk of hitting someone when there are safe options? I’m always worring about “what if that kid hits something on the road surface that takes his wheel out and causes him to suddenly go down?” I sure as hell don’t want to put myself in a position where I run over someone who has just fallen.

      • It’s mind-boggling to think that someone looks at running over a human being and violating a minor traffic rule and isn’t able to make a sound judgment as to which one is the less desirable.

        I know a guy who ran over and killed a small child who ran out from between two parked cars, he wasn’t speeding and was paying attention to the road…that’s not something you ever get over.

      • Something some people never get over. Never under-estimate the human ability to rationalize. I know someone who killed a pedestrian with a right turn on red who managed to put that behind as the pedestrian’s fault. I’m sure there a plenty of people who could easily justify killing or maiming a vulnerable road user with the simple rationalizatoin that “They new the risk they were taking. They shouldn’t have been there. It’s their fault.”

        Lot harder to do with a kid than an adult, but I’m sure there are people who could do it. Some of them certainly speed through residential areas like they don’t care if they hit a kid. Note the MOA policy on how “Slow: Children at Play” signs should be removed from neighborhoods because they make this problem worse.

        “These signs are deceiving and ineffective….Studies have demonstrated that the signs do nothing to increase safety – and, in fact – can provide an additional distraction to drivers. Over-signage – particularly along residential streets where there is already considerable demand for driver attention – results in an additional distraction to motorists. That incremental distraction can be a problem for the safety of pedestrians in, near, or crossing the roadway and the safe movement of cars into and out of driveways.”

  2. Very in-depth reporting Craig. Anchorage is very different than Fairbanks. Fairbanks has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars creating bike paths and widening sidewalks in and around the city and borough. Yet some bicyclist still opt too use a major highway like the Steese, Johansson, and Richardson, when there is a designated paved and swept (yes several times a year bike paths are swept in the summer and regular snow plowed or blowen in the winter) bike path 40′ from any of the highways I mentioned. These elitists are what cause much angst with motorist in the Fairbanks area.

    • Let’s face reality: What causes most drivers angst is driving. I know. I suffer like anyone else. I reguarly find some other driver sparking a “Jesus, WTH are you doing?” thought.

      Cyclists along the road are a small thing. A tiny thing. One would have to be way too wrapped up in the culture wars (they’re on a non-polluting vehicle so they must be greenies, right?) to get upset at one of them or even a gang of them.

      But the most interesting thing about this, which I didn’t realize until I got reflecting on it the other day, is that when someone does something stupid with their car and truck that endangers me on the bike, I get mad for about 30 seconds and by the end of that time the anger has just sort of faded away.

      Unfortunately, the emotions are more powerful and more lasting when I’m behind the wheel. I’ll sometimes start stewing.

      I’ve learned to tell myself to “calm the F down, the world is full of bad drivers,” but the irritiation still sometimes continues to grow to some degree after an interaction with a bad or just plain stupid fellow driver. I don’t know that motor vehicles “cause” road rage, but there sure as hell seems to be a connection.

      I thought that study about crime and HR was so much hogwash, but now I wonder. Is there a difference in the level of emotional reactions at 55 bpm than at bpms of 110 or greater?

      Maybe you should try and an experiment. Go spend some time on the bike riding around Fairbanks and see if this applies to you as well.

    • Noyes Slough Bridge demonstrates just the opposite, and Kawasaki refused to do anything about it

  3. I’ve never been to Anchorage and no little about it. I am curious about the bike season up there. Is it year-round or limited to certain months?

    • Year round but changes radically in winter when everything shifts to fat-tired bikes and conditions change for the worse in some ways and the better in others. The maintained multi-use trails become considerably more useful for biking because of a big drop in the numbers of people on them, but the maintainence standards on those trails vary considerably. The arterial roads, on the other hand, become even more dangerous but some residential roads become safer because drivers slow down.

      In fact, in some ways, everything slows down in winter – motorists, cyclists, people. And that changes a lot of things.

      • “everything slows down in winter – motorists, cyclists, people”.

        Except for the multilane roads….

      • Oh you know, those also slow down and sometimes even come to a complete stop because of the pileups caused by drivers who a.) don’t know how to drive on slick roads and/or b.) don’t have the sense to slow down to drive at a speed they can handle given the conditions and/or c.) refuse to recognize the need to slow down simply because most of the traffic has slowed down and/or d.) some combination of a., b. and c.

        You can’t get a much worse scenario on four-lane or greater road than some people wanting to go 35 mph because it’s slippery and others confident they can still do the 65 or 70 mph (if not more) they’re used to on their daily commute. Especially when the former don’t understand the way four-lane (or greater) roads are supposed to work, ie. slower traffic keep right.

        Big variations in speeds in conditions like this are a well documented cause of crashes:

  4. Two thoughts. 1). The assembly members, in most cases, have never been on a bicycle in Anchorage. They are, in fact, members of the “motocentric” club. “What”, they would say. “You want me to exercise”?

    2). I really liked that coastal trail.

    • Oh, I’d expect most of them have been on a bicycle in Anchorage, but they clearly none of them are bicycles enough to truly understand the issues. And I don’t think a politican can survive long in America without being motocentric or at least appearing so, do you?

  5. AMATS (the MoA has 60% control) and MoA were asked to adopt NACTO guidelines in 2020 after my research showed that AMATS staff had essentially spanked the BicyclePedestrian Advisory Committee for doing its job and recommending that almost ten years ago. When AMATS refused to even consider the matter I drafted a resolution and presented it to the Assembly (see below), which refused to consider it.

    I presented to my community council and people running for Assembly. Volland and Sulte said they were interested and then refused to consider it. Bronga said she’d support it, Johnson and Brawley said they’d promote consideration of it. Martinez said it was a priority(he was President of the NECC when the NECC adopted it). Zalatel was on AMATS when AMATS refused to consider it.

    In sum, over the past ten years our civic leaders have ducked even the first step in making roads safe. Indeed, though the DTCC adopted the resolution and in fact insisted NACTO compliance be expressly stated in- the DowntownPlan, their assembly members areSTILLrunning away.

    Resolution adopted by NECC:

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