Anchorage Needs to Heed New Bike Plan

Anchorage, Alaska recently completed a citywide bicycle master plan. Despite the costs of the projects in the plan, this oped argues it's exactly the blueprint the city needs to put into action.
May 4, 2009, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The plan, completed after years of work and under public review since March, is a wish list of about 150 construction projects that will add more than 70 miles of new bicycle lanes, 50 miles of bike paths alongside roads and at least a dozen miles of greenbelt trails."

"The estimated cost for the projects is $81 million over the next 20 years."

"Before succumbing to sticker shock, though, there are a few things to think about. Critics of the plan say we are no Portland or San Diego, and improving the bicycle network in Anchorage (and Chugiak-Eagle River) is an indulgence our northern city can't afford."

"I beg to differ."

"Ask the families of the eight people who have died since 1994 as a result of bicycle-vehicle collisions how they feel about that. Is $81 million too much? By my math, the cost of these improvements comes to a paltry $14.50 per person per year, but it would never come to that. According to Jon Spring, an Anchorage consultant on the plan, a majority of the costs associated with the improvements would come from federal money. And while there is no breakdown of actual taxpayer costs, the truth is, the plan is simply a guide and not an etched-in-stone $81 million bill waiting to be paid. Many of the projects, Spring said, are simple, requiring only painting of bike lanes, to improve safety for commuters and recreational cyclists."

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Published on Friday, May 1, 2009 in Anchorage Daily News
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