In advance of the April 6 Anchorage municipal election, the Anchorage Daily News asked candidates running for Anchorage mayor a series of issue questions. These include questions suggested by readers. Read all the mayor and school board candidates’ responses here.
Q: What’s your assessment of Anchorage’s transportation infrastructure? Do you have a plan to improve it? How?
It seems that buses make it around, and I’m satisfied with the amount of snow plows.
The current transportation plan is adequate for our immediate future. Beyond that, we must focus on cost savings as we balance our transportation needs with our ability to pay for them.
Anchorage’s road system needs major changes. We need a downtown thoroughfare for Glenn/New Seward/Minnesota connectivity. It is unbelievable there is no way to bypass downtown for commercial trucks and countless vehicles passing through Anchorage. There are no thoroughfares traversing the Hillside or roads through the mid-Hillside to Northeast Anchorage without many stops on roads that aren’t suitable for big trucks or heavy traffic that needs to get through Anchorage. The port project needs to be completed somehow, and the downtown road infrastructure must be overhauled. Traffic flow patterns need to be improved generally, with investments in modern technology. Having to constantly stop at stop lights that aren’t coordinated is a drain on our time and our gas tanks.
A well-connected city, with multiple ways of getting around, is a more livable city and one better positioned for economic success. More and safer bike lanes, better-connected trails, safer pedestrian crossings, more public transit options and well-designed traffic calming are all necessary to create a transportation system built around people, not just cars. Our infrastructure must be updated with an eye towards the future — we can slow our carbon emissions and protect our Arctic from further climate change, while simultaneously making Anchorage a more enjoyable place to live. Protected bike lanes, well-marked trails and reliable public transportation all create additional economic and health benefits, better accessibility to all parts of the city and support a more resilient community.
Although it is primarily a state project, we need to make progress and get the highway-to-highway project completed. That would be a boon to transportation and would make certain Anchorage streets safer. In addition, we need to work in better cooperation with the state with respect to the maintenance of state roads throughout the city. We can find efficiencies and improvements for maintaining our roads if we improve our relationship with the state.
Despite improvements to the PeopleMover bus system and our trail network, Anchorage remains predominately a car city. For motorized traffic, our roads work pretty well. For non-motorized traffic, the city still has work to do — but it is moving in the right direction. Recent initiatives such as “vision zero,” which outlines a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable transportation for everyone, and the move to “complete streets,” like the rebuilt section of Spenard Road, that equally prioritize pedestrian and bicycle safety, show the way. As mayor, I would continue in those directions, improve trail connectivity, and ensure that federal funds received through the AMATS process are not used solely for highway mega-projects.
I intend to give this issue to UAA Engineering Department and decrease bus size to recalculate the matrices for the optimal solution in scheduling bus routes to make it efficient before seeking an outside opinion.
Anchorage’s transportation infrastructure needs significant investments and realignment toward our vision of economic growth. I believe that we have a tremendous opportunity to use the expected federal infrastructure and recovery resources to build it out.
We need more transportation infrastructure. We need projects that will expand development, eliminate congestion and take the burden off of the current system.
As a civil engineer who has designed extensive quantities of road systems within the MOA, yes, I have desires and plans for such. These will also have to be coordinated with the state of Alaska DOT to agree with long-range state planning as well.
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