Nearly half-a-million dollars will be put towards Anchorage bike infrastructure in Anchorage, after a Thursday funding move that partially reverses a year-old action that left bike advocates feeling shrugged off.
The Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation System’s policy committee makes important but dry decisions about roads, traffic, and infrastructure that shape residents movements across the city.
The committee’s vote shifts $447,000 from pedestrian projects to bike ones.
“We have a decent amount of bicycle projects designed and ready to build,” said Craig Lyon, Transportation Planning Manager for AMATS.
“When we get towards the end of the Federal fiscal year–which is at the end of September–we get a little antsy because we want to make sure we obligate our federal funds,” Lyon continued. “In this case we don’t have enough pedestrian projects designed to be ready for construction to utilize all the funds we originally put in there.”
The quick switch in funds is similar to what happened around this time last year, when AMATS approved moving $1.3 million marked for bike plan implementation over to a road project.
Steve Cleary with the advocacy group Bike Anchorage said this year’s re-funding is helpful, but still falls far short.
“The bike plan implementation is currently budgeted at $118 million, and so if we get one or two million a year that’s going to be 50, 60 years before the complete bike plan is implemented,” Cleary said. “We want to see increases funding for the bike plan, but a complete system recognizes bicycles, pedestrians, and all forms of transportation.”
Most of the money will go to measures that boost safety, like striping and signing existing bike lanes.