I grew up in Florida. Dark, chilly winter mornings don’t exist in the sunshine state. Year round mosquitoes do however, but that’s beside the point. Getting bundled up and in the saddle early has taken some getting used to, but it’s nice to know I’ll always have company. On any given morning, I’m joined on the Chester Creek Trail by fellow cyclists, dog-walkers, joggers, and of course our favorite antlered residents. Did you know Alaskans commute by bike or foot more often, per capita, than residents of any other state, according to the American Community Survey? However, when the alarm goes off and I watch the snow fall outside, I’m plagued by a thought shared occasionally by other year round bike commuters (not the Alaskan variety, of course). Should I just drive? What if the bike lanes and sidewalks are impassable?
While we have a long road ahead of us, Anchorage is making strides toward becoming a premier winter mobility city. The Municipality’s planning arm, Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions (AMATS), just began a new Non-Motorized Plan. Currently, the muni relies on the 1997 Trails Plan, the 2007 Pedestrian Plan, and the 2010 Bike Plan when making decisions about new infrastructure for non-motorized transportation. The updated plan will replace all three plans and take a more holistic approach to building a non-motorized network.
This fall, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd. is working to bring healthy into downtown! Anchorage has countless bike paths, hiking and running trails, and parks, right out the door. Did you know you can cross-country ski to downtown from Kincaid State Park? Or that you can bike on paved paths all the way from the hillside to downtown? Not to mention, just on the doorstep of Downtown, you can find Elderberry Park and Delaney Park Strip with soccer fields, beach volleyball and tennis courts, horseshoes, a hockey ice rink and more! The Downtown Partnership will be working this fall to highlight some of the healthy opportunities that already exist here, and hopefully uncovering new and exciting ideas for both residents and visitors alike.
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