Road to Nowhere? Nah, Bike Paths Everywhere!
May in Alaska boasts 18 daylight hours to ride a bike. The next best way to spend a day and a half of spring is figuring out how to make riding a bike easier for more people – and getting it funded!
Anchorage was the site of the most recent Advocacy Advance Action 2020 Workshop. Hosted by Alaska Trails, Alaska State Parks, and the National Park Service’s Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), participants came from Juneau, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Barrow and the Kenai Peninsula to learn how federal transportation funds can pay for biking and walking projects in their communities.
U.S. Senator - and former mayor of Anchorage - Mark Begich joined via teleconference to give an update on the transportation reauthorization process in D.C. and share his support and need for bicycle advocacy in Alaska. State Bike/Ped Coordinator Bob Laurie presented additional information on upcoming opportunities and timelines for bicycle and pedestrian projects and funding programs.
“I learned some new twists about the familiar (federal funding sources) like STP and CMAQ, and others I didn't know about like Section 402 grants,” said Jack Mosby, board member of Alaska Trails. “I also enjoyed meeting (and hopefully working with in the future) a bunch of passionate folks who are striving hard to provide safer conditions for those that walk or bike to school, to work, to the store, with the family, for exercise, or just for the fun of it.”
“The diversity of interests represented at the workshop was wonderful,” agreed Heather Rice, Outdoor Recreation Planner with RTCA. “The workshop enabled all of us interested in trails to get to know one another and learn from and build on our different perspectives as we work together to enhance and expand Alaska's bike/ped opportunities.”
Prior to the workshop, advocates participated in a customized Alliance Winning Campaigns Training that provided a framework for developing bicycle and pedestrian advocacy campaigns through the lens of increasing federal funding at the state and local level. Alaska Trails and Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage hosted the training and will work with the Advocacy Advance team to further develop their campaigns.
Dialogue and collaboration at the Action 2020 Workshop highlighted unique and urgent opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian programs and projects. In the next two weeks to two months, applications for Section 402 funds are due; public comments for STIP project criteria will be accepted; the Alaska Long Range Transportation Plan, Comprehensive Plan, and Anchorage Trails Plan will be developed; and HSIP nominations can be submitted.
Additionally, there is $3 million in Safe Routes to School funds available for application for reimbursable grants and advocates are urged to contact Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator Steve Soenksen – who gave a short presentation at the workshop – to apply.
The workshop presentation and priorities developed by the participants are available on Alaska Trail’s website, the Alaska Funding Profile and additional resources can be downloaded from Advocacy Advance. A segment on the workshop was included in the Bike Week special of Alaska Public Radio’s Talk of Alaska.
Action 2020 Workshops are facilitated by Advocacy Advance – a partnership between the League of American Bicyclists and Alliance for Biking & Walking. These workshops are designed to ensure advocates, agency staff, and elected officials have the knowledge, skills and resources to access untapped or under-utilized federal funding sources at the state, regional and local level to build bicycling and walking infrastructure and programs.
We invite advocates and agency staff to register for the nearest workshop, which are offered for free, thanks to the generous support of SRAM Cycling Fund. For more information about Advocacy Advance and the Action 2020 Workshops, or to apply to host a future workshop, contact email@example.com">Brighid O’Keane.