TIP

PSA: BCA AMATS transportation plan public comments. 2015-2018

Reposted from Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage (BCA) Email:

Do you want more bike lanes? Better bike route signage? More multi-use paths?

If so – we need you to come out this Thursday to support funding for Anchorage’s Bike Plan!
We are looking at the budget for transportation for the next four years-If you want more of that funding to go to bike projects-we need you to speak up.

THE DETAILS:

AMATS (our federal transportation funding entity) is updating spending plans for 2015 – 2018.  Called the “TIP” (Transportation Improvement Program), it’s basically a 4 year spreadsheet that allocates $22 million per year to roads, non-motorized transportation, and air quality/congestion mitigation projects in Anchorage and Eagle River.

AMATS recently released a draft 2015- 2018 TIP and accepted public comments.  BCA provided detailed comments (link here).  At this Thursday’s meeting these comments will be discussed and the draft TIP could be modified, with more or less emphasis on bicycle infrastructure.
We were involved in this same process 2 years ago.  At that time, the initial draft allocation for bicycle infrastructure was very poor.  BCA was able to rally Bike Plan supporters to comment and attend the the AMATS funding meeting.  This included approximately 30 bicyclists showing up at a key meeting (the same one that will be held again this week) and some provided testimony as to why more funding was needed for Bicycle Plan implementation.  As a result, Bicycle Plan implementation funding was increased from $1 million to $2.3 million right on the spot.  This money is now being used to develop detailed designs for miles of bike lanes throughout Anchorage and Eagle River.
The great news is that this year’s draft allocation for bicycle infrastructure is MUCH better than 2 years ago.  Read BCA’s comment letter for the highlights (link here). While the draft allocation for bicycle infrastructure is good, it should be better.

WHY WE NEED YOU:
That’s why we need YOU to attend the AMATS Technical Advisory Committee meeting this Thursday, May 8, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.  

These meetings are held in the training/conference room of the Planning & Development Center, 4700 Elmore Road (just south of Tudor).
What’s likely to happen (and needs to happen) at Thursday’s meeting?
One of the “business items” is “2015-18 TIP Public Hearing Draft.”  First a staff person will describe the public comments already received.  The TAC members will then have some discussion.  Then the public will be asked to comment.  A BCA spokesperson will provide highlights from our written comments.  An AMATS Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee spokesperson will likely provide some feedback from that group.  We then need some cyclists, like YOU, to briefly weigh in.  After these public comments are done, the TAC will further discuss the topic, and decide whether to adjust the draft TIP, or not.

ARE YOU IN? 
If you chose to testify, what might you say?  How about addressing the following:

  • Why making Anchorage a more bicycle friendly city is important to you.
  • That you are pleased that the draft TIP includes funding to (1) begin striping and signing of the core bike network, (2)  rehabilitate existing multi-use pathways, (3) construct “missing link” multi-use pathways on O’Malley Road and Benson Blvd., and (4) provide directional signs for our existing bicycle network.
  • That you think the draft TIP under-funds the on-going striping and signing of bike lanes on the core bicycle network (item 1 above) and that the TIP should be modified to increase the funding for this important follow-through work.

If you can’t make it to the meeting but support more Bike Plan funding, send us your name and we will let AMATS know you are behind us! Email BCA Board Member Todd Logan at tjloganak@gmail.com

BOTTOM LINE: We need you at the AMATS TAC meeting this Thursday, May 8, at 2:30 pm at the Planning & Development Center, 4700 Elmore Road (just south of Tudor)! Your presence could make a real difference (like $ millions) in how much money is spent on bicycle infrastructure in the next few years.

Thanks!  Hope to see you there!
Brian LitmansPresident, Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage