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Posts Tagged ‘Juneau’

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The League of American Bicyclists on Dec. 21, announced that the Sitka campus of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) has been awarded a renewal of its 2011 Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Business award.

SEARHC is the only Alaska organization among the 42 new and returning businesses nationwide to earn an award during the Fall 2016 cycle. There now are 1,265 Bicycle Friendly Businesses in 49 states at the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze levels (there also is an Honorable Mention level not included in the total).

“This is great news!” SEARHC Health Educator II Anthony Treas said. “We are happy to have attained the Bronze status as a Bicycle Friendly Business. We will use this as a stepping stone as we continue to seek how we can improve and ultimately for SEARHC to achieve Gold status.”

bfb-bronze-sealSince the Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program started in 2009, there have been 11 businesses in Alaska to earn the honor. SEARHC is the only one of the group located outside of Anchorage. Besides SEARHC, the current BFBs in Alaska are — the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (gold), Southcentral Foundation (gold), CRW Engineering Group LLC (silver), ECI/Hyer Inc. (bronze), Green Star Inc. (bronze), Kittelson & Associates Inc.-Anchorage (bronze), Providence Alaska Medical Center (bronze), R&M Consultants Inc. (bronze), REI Anchorage (bronze) and Alaska Pacific University (honorable mention).

The Bicycle Friendly Business program honors those businesses committed to making their businesses more bike friendly for employees and customers. These organizations come from a wide range of industries, such as health care, manufacturing and government. They also range from large Fortune 50 company headquarters to small mom-and-pop businesses with only a handful of employees.

“As these businesses make bicycling a safe and convenient option for transportation and recreation they play a vital role in transforming our nation into a safer, healthier and more sustainable place to live and work,” League of American Bicyclists Executive Director Alex Doty said. “We congratulate and thank this new round of businesses for leading the way in creating a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.”

The Bicycle Friendly Business program provides a free roadmap for businesses wanting to make their organizations more friendly to bikes. Businesses have to complete a lengthy application that includes information about the number of bike commuters, facilities available for them (such as racks, showers and lockers), education programs and ways the business connects with the local bicycle community.

SEARHC is Sitka’s largest employer with about 550-570 employees in town, and SEARHC is the region’s largest private employer with just more than 1,000 total employees. The SEARHC Sitka campus took an active role in Sitka’s 2008 application to become the first Bicycle Friendly Community in Alaska (Bronze), and also helped in Sitka’s 2012 (Bronze) and 2016 (Silver) renewal Bicycle Friendly Community applications. SEARHC promotes healthy and safe cycling to its employees and the community through its health promotion, injury prevention and employee wellness programs.

Winners of the Bicycle Friendly Business award are allowed to use the designation for the next four years. To learn more about the BFB program, go to http://bikeleague.org/business. Sitka businesses interested in applying can contact Charles Bingham of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com.

The BFB program is part of the League of American Bicyclist’s larger Bicycle Friendly America program that also includes the Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State and Bicycle Friendly University programs. Alaska now has three Bronze-level or higher Bicycle Friendly Communities — Sitka (Silver), Anchorage (Silver) and Juneau (Bronze), with Fairbanks earning an Honorable Mention designation in November 2016. The University of Alaska Fairbanks (Silver) is the only Bicycle Friendly University in the state. In 2015, Alaska ranked 41st in the Bicycle Friendly State rankings, up from 43rd in 2014.

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For the fifth straight year, Washington ranks No. 1 in the Bicycle Friendly State rankings compiled by the League of American Bicyclists. Alaska dropped from No. 29 to No. 33 in this year’s rankings, which were released on May 22 as part of National Bike Month.

Trailing Washington in the rankings were Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maryland, Maine and Delaware, all states above the Mason-Dixon Line. The bottom five states were Montana at No. 46, Alabama, West Virginia, North Dakota and Arkansas at No. 50. Even though Washington ranked No. 1 for the fifth straight year, the Seattle Bike Blog wrote there are several improvements the state can make to be even friendlier to cyclists. CNN posted this article about the Bicycle Friendly State rankings.

States were ranked using a 1-5 scale (1 is bad, 5 is good) in five categories — legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement, and evaluation and planning. Alaska received a 4 in policies and programs, a 3 in education and encouragement, and a 2 in each of the other three categories.

One of Alaska’s strengths was its bicycle commuter mode share is nearly double the national average (and it’s nearly 10 times the average in Sitka). The top tip for improvement was to adopt a vulnerable user law that includes a minimum safe passing distance and stricter consequences for violations by motor vehicle drivers.

Alaska has made great strides to move up the rankings, where it ranked just 43rd in 2008 and a dismal 47th in 2009. Alaska moved up to 39th in 2010 and 29th in 2011. Since 2008, Alaska has added three Bicycle Friendly CommunitiesSitka (2008, bronze, renewed in 2012, bronze), Anchorage (2009, bronze) and Juneau (2011, bronze). Alaska also has added nine Bicycle Friendly BusinessesAnchorage Native Tribal Health Consortium (2009, gold), Southcentral Foundation (2010, silver), Green Star Inc. (2009, bronze), Providence Alaska Medical Center (2010, bronze), REI-Anchorage (2011, bronze) and Alaska Pacific University (2011, honorable mention), SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium-Sitka Campus (2011, bronze), CRW Engineering Group LLC (2012, silver) and Restoration Science and Engineering (2012, honorable mention). Alaska has no universities recognized by the Bicycle Friendly University program.

• 2012 Bicycle Friendly State scorecard for Alaska

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Daily Sitka Sentinel newspaper photographer James Poulson commutes by bike between photo assignments on Oct. 1, 2011.

Daily Sitka Sentinel newspaper photographer James Poulson commutes by bike between photo assignments on Oct. 1, 2011.

Sitka already was Alaska’s leading bike-to-work community, but the number of bike commuters took a big jump this past year.

According to the 2006-10 five-year American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and released last week, Sitka had 4.9 percent of its workers age 16 and older commute by bike. That is Alaska’s highest percentage of bike commuters for any community with more than 644 people. The American Community Survey estimated Sitka’s population at 8,894, with 4,753 workers age 16 or older and 233 bike commuters. Sitka also had a pedestrian commuter rate of 11.3 percent, giving Sitka 16.1 percent of its population who use non-motorized transportation to get to work (no stats were available for people who commute by kayak).

In the 2005-09 American Community Survey, Sitka had 2.87 percent of its workers commute by bike. That was the highest percentage for any Alaska community with more than 752 residents. The American Community Survey estimated Sitka’s population at 8,747, with 4,705 workers and 135 bike commuters.

Sitka’s 4.9 percent bike commuter rate is five times the state’s average of 0.98 percent, and nearly 10 times the national average of 0.51 percent. Sitka also ranks well ahead of Alaska’s other two Bicycle Friendly CommunitiesJuneau with 1.95 percent (331 bike commuters out of a population of 30,975 and 16,967 workers) and Anchorage with 1.04 percent (1,514 bike commuters out of a population of 284, 267 and 146,016 workers). The American Community Survey estimates Alaska has 3,269 bike commuters out of a population of 691,189 and 334,044 workers.

Bob Laurie, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, has compiled lists the past two years ranking communities around the state. In both lists, Sitka ranked 10th overall in Alaska. But all of the communities ahead of Sitka were much smaller. Bob cautions people that these numbers are estimates and Sitka’s margin of error in this survey is 50 percent (the bigger the population, the lower the margin of error). That means Sitka’s real number of bike commuters could be as low as 116 (2.44 percent) or as high as 350 (7.36 percent). He said the margin of error for the smaller communities can be as high as 100 percent due to the extremely small sample sizes.

“This is the second analysis of Alaska places that I’ve done using the ACS 5-yr data,” Bob said. “I haven’t sat down yet to look at them side-by-side.  One thing that does jump out is the general increase in the level of biking statewide, Sitka being a prime example: growing by about 100 people/day over last year. Part of the increase, I think, can be attributed to the fact that each year the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the survey, they get more data and are better able to refine their numbers. We also are seeing more people choose to bike or walk as gas prices, and the costs of living in general, grow higher. People not only are choosing modes such as biking and walking, but also are moving to locations closer to work so that biking and walking are more do-able.”

• 2006-10 American Community Survey bike commuter numbers for select Alaska communities

• 2005-09 American Community Survey bike commuter numbers for select Alaska communities

• Commuting in the United States: 2009; national commuting info from the American Community Survey

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Meeting topics include final planning for the Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Crescent Harbor shelter (with a bike workshop, blessing of the bikes by local clergy, community bike ride through downtown Sitka, and a showing of the award-winning movie “Fat Bike” by Anchorage’s Carl Battreall about winter mountain biking in Alaska); an update on the state’s planned Halibut Point Road construction project (the Alaska Department of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting planned for 5-8 p.m. on Wed. Jan. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall); our new bike safety media campaign; and other items.

The coalition also will discuss getting all the necessary information for our renewal application for a Bicycle Friendly Community award, which is due to the League of American Bicyclists in February 2012. In May 2008, Sitka became the first community in Alaska to earn a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists. Since Sitka received its bronze level BFC award, good for four years, Anchorage and Juneau also have received bronze awards. Several businesses in Alaska, including the Sitka campus of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) have earned Bicycle Friendly Business designations from the League of American Bicyclists.

To learn more about our application process and what we need to be renewed as a Bicycle Friendly Community, please attend the meeting and/or watch this site. For more information, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or doug.osborne@searhc.org, or contact Charles Bingham at 738-8875 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com.

• Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition meeting flier (feel free to print and post around town)

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Meeting topics include planning for a Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 (with a community bike ride, workshop, video contest, blessing of the bikes and more); an update on the state’s planned Halibut Point Road construction project; our new bike safety media campaign; and other items.

The coalition will discuss upcoming bike workshops and events. It also will work on getting all the necessary information for our renewal application for a Bicycle Friendly Community award, which is due to the League of American Bicyclists in February 2012. In May 2008, Sitka became the first community in Alaska to earn a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists. Since Sitka received its bronze level BFC award, good for four years, Anchorage and Juneau also have received bronze awards. Several businesses in Alaska, including the Sitka campus of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) have earned Bicycle Friendly Business designations from the League of American Bicyclists.

To learn more about our application process and what we need to be renewed as a Bicycle Friendly Community, please attend the meeting and/or watch this site. For more information, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or doug.osborne@searhc.org, or contact Charles Bingham at 738-8875 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com.

• Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition meeting flier (feel free to print and post around town)

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Bill Hughes demonstrates his climbing technique during the 2007 Sitka Fun Fair.

Bill Hughes demonstrates his climbing technique during the 2007 Sitka Fun Fair.

Sitka cyclist Bill Hughes first started going to Utah several years ago for some recreational mountain biking. Since then, he started competing in the Huntsman World Senior Games in Zion National Park, Utah, and he now holds the overall title in mountain biking for the age 70-74 division.

The owner of Sitka’s Yellow Jersey Bicycle Shop, Bill competed in both the mountain and road bike competitions in October. He won all three events in the mountain biking competition, which gave him the overall title. In the four road cycling events, he added a couple of bronze medals in the hill climb and time trial.

“I won the mountain bike this year, but I didn’t do much road biking,” Bill said. “I’ve won the mountain biking (overall title) before a couple of times.”

In the mountain biking hill climb, Bill posted a time of 18 minutes, 45 seconds to beat Rex Farnsworth of Redondo Beach, Calif., by three seconds. In the downhill, Bill posted a time of 7:15 to beat Ron Near of Toronto by five seconds. He also posted a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 46.0 seconds to win the 25-mile cross country event featuring single-track trails through canyon country by nearly four minutes over Farnsworth’s time of 1:24:40.0.

Bill Hughes adjusts the spokes on a bike tire at his Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.

Bill Hughes adjusts the spokes on a bike tire at his Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.

“I started going down there just to mountain bike, and then I started going to race,” Bill said. “Now I go down for recreation and competing.”

In addition to his exploits at the Huntsman World Senior Games, Bill also has competed as a solo racer in the 148-mile Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, to Haines, Alaska. And about 7-8 years ago Bill did a solo bike ride across the United States.

When he trains, Bill said he rides out to Green Lake to climb the hill. He also trains with Dean Orbison and other cyclists on the Thimbleberry to Heart Lake Trail then to Blue Lake and then Green Lake, a distance of about 30 miles, about 40 of the 52 weeks each year.

“The training’s not so bad on the mountain bike, but with the road bike the boredom sets in,” Bill said, referring to Sitka’s 15 miles of road from one end of town to the other. “But you can go to Juneau for some higher endurance.”

Even though there aren’t a lot of places to train on a road bike in Sitka, Bill said he does feel Sitka is a Bicycle Friendly Community. “I like how compact the community is. You can ride anywhere on the bike and it’s fairly safe.”

 

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The coalition will discuss upcoming bike workshops and events. It also will work on getting all the necessary information for our renewal application for a Bicycle Friendly Community award, which is due to the League of American Bicyclists in February 2012. In May 2008, Sitka became the first community in Alaska to earn a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists. Since Sitka received its bronze level BFC award, good for four years, Anchorage and Juneau also have received bronze awards.

To learn more about our application process and what we need to be renewed as a Bicycle Friendly Community, please attend the meeting and/or watch this site. For more information, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or doug.osborne@searhc.org, or contact Charles Bingham at 738-8875 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com.

• Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition meeting flier (feel free to print and post around town)

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(NOTE: This article originally was posted in November 2010 on the Alaska Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance website.)

The League of American Bicyclists on Sept. 15, 2011, announced that the Sitka campus of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) has been awarded a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Business award.

SEARHC is the only Alaska organization among the 111 businesses nationwide to earn an award during the Fall 2011 cycle. SEARHC joins six other businesses from Anchorage that earned Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) awards over the past two years — the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (gold), Southcentral Foundation (silver), Providence Alaska Medical Center (bronze), Green Star Inc. (bronze), REI Anchorage (bronze) and Alaska Pacific University (honorable mention). Since the BFB program started two years ago, 344 organizations in 40 states have been honored for making their businesses more bike friendly for employees and customers. These organizations come from a wide range of industries, such as health care, manufacturing and government.

“We are happy to recognize SEARHC’s Sitka campus for its investment in bicycling as a vehicle for improved employee health, social responsibility and economic growth,” League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke said. “Some of the most successful companies in the world are showing that investing in bicycling is not only good for health and sustainability but also for the bottom line.”

The Bicycle Friendly Business program provides a free roadmap for businesses wanting to make their organizations more friendly to bikes. Businesses have to complete a lengthy application that includes information about the number of bike commuters, facilities available for them (such as racks, showers and lockers), education programs and ways the business connects with the local bicycle community.

SEARHC is Sitka’s largest employer with about 550-570 employees in town, and SEARHC is the region’s largest private employer with just more than 1,000 total employees. The SEARHC Sitka campus took an active role in Sitka’s 2008 application to become the first Bicycle Friendly Community in Alaska. SEARHC promotes healthy and safe cycling to its employees and the community through its health promotion, injury prevention and employee wellness programs. The Bike Users Group (BUG) at SEARHC on Tuesday, Sept. 13, launched a new Bicycle Ambassadors program that will help mentor novice bike riders and provide role models for other cyclists.

“As a health organization, it is important that we walk, or in this case bike, the talk,” SEARHC President/CEO Roald Helgesen said. “This award is a good way to demonstrate how small lifestyle changes can lead to better health, and it recognizes the work our employees who are role-modeling these healthy lifestyle changes.”

“Bicycling to and from work is a great way to build some heart-healthy physical activity into the schedule,” said SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne, who serves as bike coordinator for the employee wellness team. “Many people like commuter cycling because it’s a knee-friendly/low-impact workout, plus it’s fun. In Sitka we are lucky because things are close together, the vast majority of our motorists are courteous to cyclists, and, with the right gear, it’s possible to safely ride year round.”

Winners of the Bicycle Friendly Business award are allowed to use the designation for the next two years. To learn more about the BFB program, go to http://www.bikeleague.org/businesses/. The BFB program is part of the League of American Bicyclist’s larger Bicycle Friendly America program that also includes the Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State and Bicycle Friendly University programs. Alaska has three Bicycle Friendly Communities — Sitka, Anchorage and Juneau.

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