Highway to Highway project
In the 2035 Metropolitan Transportation Plan
Public Review Draft (October 2011), the H2H is not referred
to with that acronym and it is broken into three or more projects.
The office building DOT bought for offices for the H2H has been
closed. H2H is still around. It has gone stealth.
ACC is following the Highway
to Highway project; AMAT's $700 million, number one road
Thus far, the project's Purpose and Need virtually
rubberstamps a new freeway through Fairview ie: reduce congestion
on the Gambell Ingra couplet for twenty years. ACC recommends:
Shorten travel time and provide healthy, economical transportation
for Anchorage residents for over 20 years.
ACC is concerned that the project does not mention
a 2005 Muni air study that predicts increased air pollution
along the freeway section, bringing families more asthma, lung
& heart disease and cancer, even at pollution levels the
federal government considers safe.
Nor does the project explain that the Long Range
Transportation Plan (now called the Metropolitan Transportaion
Plan) predicts the new freeway will be severely congested within
20 years of construction.
Finally, it is not clear where Anchorage will
find $700 million to build this freeway, or whether a new urban
freeway is the community's top spending priority.
Anchorage Pedestrian Plan
The Anchorage Pedestrian Plan was adopted by the Assembly with amendments on October 9, 2007. ACC supported this plan from the beginning and spoke in support of it on radio, TV news and a press conference on October 5 that was covered by all three local TV news shows. People in Anchorage want to be able to walk safely. Take a look at a report on Anchorage's KTUU on September 18, 2007.
" ... for the last four years, we have increased the efforts in improving and expanding snow removal off sidewalks and trails. This is a huge and very popular effort in our community. I can't tell you, I go to meetings where I mention many things we are working on, I mention this item, they break out in applause. It is a huge benefit."
Mayor Mark Begich at the September 1, 2007 Assembly Hearing on this pedestrian plan:
"Bicycling and walking make up 9.6 percent of all trips. Yet bicyclists and pedestrians represent 12.9 percent of all traffic-related fatalities, and only 1.5 percent of federal transportation dollars are spent on bicycling and walking projects." Bicycling and Walking in the U.S by the Thunderhead Alliance.
Transportation planning should rely on land use planning and development. In Anchorage, that link and reliance is not yet developed.
Anchorage 2020, Anchorage's Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2001 with the support of thousands of citizens. It calls for change from a sprawled, auto oriented western American town into a modern, northern city that nurtures its neighborhoods and protects parks and wildlife by concentrating urban growth and providing transportation choices beyond the automobile.
Linking land use and transportation decisions remains a major challenge in Anchorage partly because transportation and land use functions are separately administered within local government even under the newest 2010 proposed reorganization.
Since Anchorage's Long Range Transportation
Plan plan controls billions of transportation dollars
to be invested over the next twenty years, it guides the majority
of public dollars government spends on local development.
Transportation dollars are instrumental for Anchorage to become
a great northern city and
- grow up, not out,
- protect neighborhoods and open spaces,
- improve air and water quality,
- reduce reliance on the automobile,
- improve transit and
- make it safe and easy to bike and walk.
ACC’s goal: For Anchorage’s transportation policies and spending to fully engage in implementing Anchorage 2020.
Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
Highway Commissioner and transportation planner
Walt Parker remembers that 1970's state proposals dissected
Anchorage with major highways and polarized opinion between
professionals and neighborhoods that has not yet been resolved.
Not during city and borough government unification, or since
then, leaving Anchorage without a single transportation vision
Anchorage rewrote its LRTP in 2005 and updated
it in 2007 and renamed it the Metropolitan Transportation Plan
for an update starting in 2011. Unfortunately, the MTP/LRTP
fails to follow the direction set by Anchorage 2020,
and builds even more reliance on single occupant vehicles and
growing traffic congestion.
The MTP anticipates spending more than $2.5
billion over the next 20 years.
Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation
AMATS is the federally required Metropolitan Planning Organization
of state and local officials that spends Anchorage’s federal
transportation dollars (that are received in a 6:1 ratio, 6
dollars returned for 1 dollar contributed as fuel tax.) Since
Anchorage is the only local government represented at AMATS,
it should take a leadership role in developing local policies
and budgets within Anchorage 2020, in comparison with
most MPOs that bring together several local governments
with competing interests.
AMATS has two important committees, Policy and
Technical that determine policies, priorities and budgets.
to get on AMATS's notification list.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
AMATS's three year budget or program lists the projects and
programs that allocate Anchorage's share of the federal transportation
dollars coming to Alaska. This program or budget is regularly
amended, making it hard to track spending and priorities.
Citizens Transportation Plan
The Anchorage Citizens Coalition prepared a Citizens
Transportation Plan in 2005 to provide depth, detail and
contrast to Anchorage's 2005 Long Range Transportation Plan.
The Citizens Transportation Plan provides realistic policies
and actions to begin shaping the northern community described
in Anchorage 2020.
The Citizens Plan recognizes that Anchorage's
transportation system must sustain the city's economic health
by accommodating the needs of businesses and supporting Anchorage's
role in the state and international economies. The Plan addresses
local transportation needs for cost-effective road, transit,
freight, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements. It
describes how to make Anchorage a city that attracts families
who might otherwise choose to live in the Mat Su Valley.
Other northern cities around the globe rely
on infill and redevelopment, growing up not out and comfortable,
frequent transit to make their cities attractive, healthy, functional
places to live and work. ACC's transportation plan offers
comprehensive policy objectives as well as investments listed
by geographic area to clarify the plan's intent and make it
easier to imagine the impact of proposed projects.
Anchorage Citizens Transportation Plan
Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO)
The RTPO grew from periodic meetings between the Anchorage Assembly and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly to address common issues. Together the two governments encompass well over half the population of Alaska. The group adopted its first mission and bylaws in 2003.
That same year, the Alaska Department of Transportation eliminated all funding to staff the organization, explaining other regional transportation priorities were more important, and the Department would produce any regional transportation plans that were needed.
The RTPO adopted project priorities for federal funding which include developing a regional transportation plan that would include a regional visioning process. Contact original consultants, Dowl Engineers at 907-562-2000
Important Road Studies
East Anchorage Study of Transportation (EAST) 2003
Intended to study alternatives to building the Bragaw extension
across parklands between Tudor Road and Abbott Loop Road, EAST
ended in the summer 2003 before completing final modeling. ACC
cautions against full acceptance of EAST's conclusions based
on narrow study purposes and limited transportation modeling.