Tuesday, Feb. 21, is shaping up to be an interesting news day for Anchorage.

First, a special meeting to provide clarity on Anchorage’s new plan for transportation is scheduled that day (1-2:30 PM).  AMATS’ Community Advisory Committee scheduled the meeting to discuss a proposed resolution in which it criticizes the Alaska Department of Transportation’s approach to the downtown Seward-to-Glenn Mobility study – a study that examines various options for how to connect these highways.

The advisory committee’s resolution insinuates that DOT is not properly considering public comments, and it demands additional consideration of its own criticisms of the DOT’s models.

In particular, the resolution argues that the DOT’s proposal to build facilities that accommodate traffic will encourage traffic growth, which is not what the advisory committee really wants. Their approach (as indicated by the resolution) is to gradually eliminate motorized traffic by developing roadways that actually pose challenges to automobile users. The end game is to displace vehicles by dedicating ever-greater right-of-way space to pedestrians and bicycles.

This radical approach is known as “Complete Streets.”  It entails a philosophy that seeks to incrementally remove automobiles from the road, and it largely supports the Reconnecting Communities pilot program that U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is pushing for the Biden Administration.

In other news, the Anchorage School District budget will likely see action during the regularly scheduled school board meeting on Feb. 21, 6-11 p.m.

The Municipality of Anchorage’s also has a regular meeting scheduled for Feb. 21. Given the abundance of recent committee meetings, there is likely to be a number of laid-on-the table items and shuffling of the agenda as amendments and late breaking news from other public meetings influence assembly actions.

According to the current agenda, the assembly will hear “special appearance” presentations by Michael Patterson, of the People’s Movement for Justice (under agenda item 9.A), and then Cynthia Gachupin, representing the Party for Socialism and Liberation Anchorage (under agenda item 9.B).  The Party for Socialism and Liberation website states: “For the planet to live capitalism must end.”

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Between environmentalists, justice activists & socialists, Anchorage’s Feb. 21 meetings should be interesting

Lucas Smith
Born and raised in Alaska, Lucas Smith’s professional background is in civil engineering. He is an active member of the Anchorage community, where he keeps a close watch on city politics and culture.