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Archive for February, 2014

WinterBiker1

WinterBikeToWorkDayPoster2014BlueHeartCongratulations to our prize winners from the International Winter Bike To Work Day event held Feb. 14 in Sitka.

People who braved our snow and ice, a rarity for Sitka this winter, to ride their bikes to work or school that day were eligible to enter a drawing at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop. The following prize-winners can pick up their prizes at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop during normal business hours (note, Yellow Jersey is closed on Monday).

  • Dave Clark — a Rejuvenation with Kathy Smith body sculpt kit;
  • James Poulson — a bike safety kit;
  • Chester Miyasato — a copy of the book Salmon In The Trees;
  • Irbert Vega — a Sitka Conservation Society t-shirt;
  • Tracy Gagnon — a water bottle/car cup;
  • Brant Brantman — a water bottle/car cup:
  • Greg Johnstone — a pedometer;
  • Alli Gabbert — a pedometer;
  • Jasmine Shaw — a pedometer;
  • six random cyclists — bike frame bumper stickers; and
  • Nancy Behnken — a $50 gift card for bike supplies.

Many thanks to the groups who donated prizes — Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop; Harry Race/White’s Inc.; the Sitka Public Health Nurse Center; the Sitka Conservation Society; KCAW-Raven Radio; and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion/Diabetes Program. Thanks to all who participated. This event is a great way to remind the community that several people in Sitka do ride their bikes throughout the year, including in the winter.

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Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and co-sponsor Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i) on Feb. 7 teamed up to introduce the Safe Streets Act of 2014, which Begich’s office says will “create safer roads for Alaska families, children, and seniors by modernizing the way federally funded roads are planned, designed and built.”

If passed, the bill will ensure new federally funded roads follow Complete Streets policies, safely accommodating travelers of all ages and abilities, including drivers, transit passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Complete Streets policies make sure that sidewalks, crosswalks, and safe transit access are taken into consideration as roadway plans are developed. The Safe Streets legislation will increase safe travel options, like walking and biking, and help save lives.

“I’ve been a proud supporter of Safe Streets policies since I was the mayor of Anchorage and I continue to support them here in the Senate,” Sen. Begich said in a press release. “These policies lead to safer roads, less traffic congestion, higher property values, and healthier families. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce this common sense bill to strengthen our transportation infrastructure and enhance the quality of life in our local communities.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i)

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i)

“Too many people are killed or injured each year because our streets are simply not designed and built with the safety of everyone — including pedestrians and bicyclists — in mind. Our communities deserve safer streets,” Sen. Schatz said in a press release. “Many of our roads in Hawai’i and across America make travel difficult for seniors, families, youth, and others who are unable or choose not to drive. Our legislation provides commonsense solutions to consider the needs of our seniors and children, encourage alternative forms of transportation, and make our roads and communities safer for everyone.”

According to Begich’s office, over the last decade 47,000 pedestrians have died on U.S. highways. Two thirds of pedestrian deaths have occurred on federally funded roads. These roadways often lack Complete Streets features like sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle lanes, which limit access and create a dangerous environment for travelers.

The Safe Streets Act will require all states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to adopt Complete Streets policies for federally funded projects within two years, and consider the safety of all users when designing new roads or improving existing roads, according to Sen. Schatz’s office. In addition, the Secretary of Transportation will provide resources to transportation agencies across the country with best practices for implementing complete streets principles for those states and MPOs. The Safe Streets Act of 2014 will ensure that effective practice and proven safety measures become federal guidelines, improving safety on our community streets.  Access to safe sidewalks, bike lanes, and other street features would reduce injuries and deaths, improve the quality of communities, ease traffic congestion, and allow for more healthy and active lifestyles.

“America’s streets should be safe and convenient for everyone, whether you are driving, riding a bike, walking or using transit,” said Roger Millar, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. “The Safe Streets Act is another sign that Congress is dedicated to making our nation’s streets safer and more open to everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity or transportation choice.”

The Safe Streets Act is supported by the following organizations: AARP; National Association of Realtors; Smart Growth America; National Complete Streets Coalition; American Planning Association; American Public Transportation Association; Transportation for America; Easter Seals; Safe Routes to School National Partnership; American Society of Landscape Architects; America Walks; and the League of American Bicyclists.

The bill is S. 2004, “a bill to ensure the safety of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, children, older individuals, and individuals with disabilities, as they travel on and across federally funded streets and highways.” There is a companion bill in the House of Representatives, the Safe Streets Act of 2013 (H.R. 2468), which was introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. David Joyce (R-Ill.) and 17 others.

• One-page information sheet about the Safe Streets Act of 2014

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PerryEdwardsSpeaks

SCS_bikeshelter_inviteOn Tuesday, Jan. 28, Sitka residents gathered together near the Sitka Sound Science Center to dedicate a new covered bike shelter built using second-growth timber from the Tongass National Forest. Before the dedication ceremony, a group of cyclists led by Sitka Assembly member Phyllis Hackett and including a small girl on a pushbike held a community bike ride from Totem Square to the new shelter.

The new shelter (link goes to previous post announcing dedication ceremony) was constructed by students of recently retired Sitka High School construction instructor Randy Hughey and community volunteers. It was designed by Dan Sheehan to use second-growth timber from the Tongass National Forest. The shelter is part of a project coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society and funded through theNational Forest Foundation’s Community Capacity and Land Stewardship program.

The dedication was led by Sitka Conservation Society employees Ray Friedlander and Marjorie Hennessy, and included a few words from Hackett, Perry Edwards of the U.S. Forest Service-Sitka Ranger District, Sitka Sound Science Center Executive Director Lisa Busch, and Hughey, Hennessey also presented Hughey with a few gifts for leading the construction. After the ceremony, there was a reception at the Sitka Sound Science Center with salmon chowder and locally produced root beer from the Baranof Island Brewing Company. Click here for KCAW-Raven Radio‘s story about the dedication ceremony.

• Two-page flier from Sitka Conservation Society about the young-growth timber used to build this bike shelter

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