Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Is Anchorage Bicycle-Friendly?
Municipality has a bike plan, but full implementation will be a long process.
ANCHORAGE—It’s been more than a year since the municipality adopted a bike plan to foster a more bike-friendly community, but with federal funds slowed to a trickle, the project is far from being finished.
Back in March of 2010, the city created the Anchorage Bicycle Plan in an effort to create more bike lanes to encourage people to get out on their bikes and share the road with drivers.
It's a project that will take several years to complete, said Anchorage Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander.
Ossiander said it's tough to create more bike lanes because the city was never built for a biking community.
"You've got houses built up, business built up, streets that have been there for a long time," she said. "So it takes some pretty expensive remodeling work."
The plan will also require some adjustment for drivers as well, because some of the lanes are not clearly marked, especially in the winter.
"I actually didn't even know this was a bike lane," said Michael Olson, a bicyclist referencing a lane in Midtown." Most people turn into it."
At the intersection of 15th and Cordova, drivers often use the bike lane to turn, despite signage indicating it’s only for bicyclists.
"Bicyclists really need to use caution, because just one motorist that's not paying attention could take a bicyclist very easy," said Anita Shell, an Anchorage Police Department spokesperson.
Ossiander said the city is trying to bring more awareness to the problem by installing more signs and educating the public about the new road rules.
Police say since the new bicycle lanes have been put in place, there haven't been any problems with drivers abusing the lanes. Drivers caught in the bicycle lane could be cited.