Anchorage Update
  July / 2010
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Welcome to Anchorage Update
 
Greetings!

My office has been busy preparing for the upcoming community budget dialogues, but there are many other events and developments happening in our city. As always, let me know what's on your mind at mayor@muni.org, or follow me on facebook or twitter.
Mayor lays out plan to improve traffic calming process
Mayor Dan Sullivan
Mayor Sullivan recently announced plans to streamline and improve the city's traffic calming process. Traffic calming is the term used for methods that reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety.

Often, state legislators designate traffic calming funds for areas within their particular districts, which limits how and where grant money can be spent. Additionally, traffic calming projects are sometimes conceived without clear budget information.   These budgetary, geographic and technical limits have combined to make the application of some of these projects difficult if not impossible.  It became clear that without a close review of the terms of these grants and the associated projects, the city risked not achieving full utilization of the grants. In other words, the previous system was inefficient and needed to change.

As a result, the Municipality will now work with the affected neighborhoods, the legislative sponsors and the MOA Public Works Department to:
  1. Determine which grants can be implemented as intended and which require either neighborhood input or further or legislative action;
  2. Work with Public Works to select design criteria and methods to accomplish the projects using the traffic calming techniques; and
  3. Engage the legislature in a process of reallocating the unspent money into new projects.
To accomplish the above, the Municipality will engage a consultant to:
  • Review the various grants projects, past and present, funded or not;
  • Discuss possible projects with neighborhoods;
  • Discuss possible projects with legislators;
  • Recommend projects to Public Works using available funds.  Public Works will be responsible for design and construction or other implementation of the projects using the traffic calming techniques;
  • Identify and quantify the grants and partial grants that can not be spent based on insufficient budgets, lack of approvable projects or overly restrictive legislative constraints.  This will also include sweeping up funds left over from completed projects.  Once identified, the consultant will work with the MOA legislative liaison to request that the State Legislature reallocate these remaining amounts to projects that can be completed with the available funds; and
  • Work with the MOA legislative liaison to suggest legislative solutions to insure that future grants meet the desires of the sponsors, the intended neighborhoods and can be constructed by the Municipality using the approved traffic calming techniques.  This would include more flexible legislative guidance and/or a requirement to more fully develop the projects up front before taking them to the legislature for funding.
Once this process is complete, the consultant's role will wrap up and the MOA can continue working with neighborhoods and legislators to fund projects that are consistent with its traffic calming policy.
Anchorage Fire Dept. successfully transitions to new radio network, an effort to improve safety response
The Anchorage Fire Department is the first of the Municipality of Anchorage's public safety agencies to transition to the Anchorage Wide Area Radio Network (AWARN). 
 
The new two-way radio system provides fire and medic responders with complete radio coverage and, as other agencies migrate to the system, interoperability among all municipal, state and federal agencies. In this first phase, fire and medic units are able to communicate with each other and the 911 Dispatch Center from many areas in the Anchorage Bowl where radio coverage had been spotty or non-existent. 
 
Construction of the system will continue to include the entire Municipality from Girdwood to the Knik River and beyond.  Once complete, all Municipal agencies, including the Anchorage Police Dept. and the utilities, will utilize this single radio system, replacing several outdated, 1980s systems that do not provide interoperability, have spotty coverage, and are becoming difficult and expensive to maintain.
 
Federal grants funded 55 percent of the $25 million needed for the system; 18 percent was funded by the State of Alaska and the balance was paid through several bonds authorized by Anchorage voters.
City set to celebrate grand opening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue
Mayor Dan Sullivan and community leaders will celebrate the grand opening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue on Wed., Aug. 4 at 12 p.m. The new avenue, which has been under construction for four years at a cost of $35 million, will open to traffic at 4 p.m. The five lane road, south of Tudor Road and parallel to it, will connect Boniface Parkway directly with Elmore Road and provide a new route for people travelling between South Anchorage and the Boniface and Muldoon areas.

The new road extends from Boniface south and curves to become parallel to Tudor. It lies between the MOA's Animal Care and Control Center and the Chuck Albrecht ball fields, connecting to Elmore.
The celebration kicks off at 12 p.m. with remarks from the mayor and other community leaders, followed by a parade, food booths and games. The public is encouraged to attend. Click here for a map and additional details.
japan
Anchorage delegates visit Sister City of Chitose, Japan 
Earlier in July, delegates from Anchorage's Sister Cities Commission visited Chitose, Japan, at their invitation and expense, which has been a Sister City for 40 years.
 
Delegates were greeted by a warm welcoming committee and were featured on the front page of the local newspaper.
 
While in Chitose, delegates visited the Chitose Elementary School that has an exchange program with Anchorage's Sand Lake Elementary School and Mears Middle School.
 
Delegates also visited Chitose's Anchorage Park, where 40 Sitka Spruce trees donated by the city as part of the program's 40-year anniversary are alive and thriving.  Finally, Miss Anchorage Abby Hancock and Sister Cities Commissioner Charlene Howe unveiled a new sign commemorating the special Sister City relationship.
Mayor Dan Sullivan's statement on the Elmendorf AFB Tragedy

As Mayor of Anchorage, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the four airmen who died tragically last night in a plane crash at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Tragedies such as these cause us to pause and reflect, and it is my hope that the people of Anchorage, including military personnel, can unite and find strength during the days and months ahead.
 
Anchorage is blessed with a vibrant military presence, and I'm sure I speak for all citizens when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of those who died, as well as our entire military community.

Mayor Sullivan with 2010 summer interns
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Issue: 10
bear cub
In This Issue
City streamlines traffic calming process
New radio network improves public safety communication
Grand opening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue
Anchorage delegates visit Sister City
Mayor's statement on Elmendorf Tragedy

Mayor's Calendar

  • Aug 1
    Mayor's Cup Baseball at Mulcahy Stadium
  • Aug 2
    Speech at Anchorage Chamber of Commerce
  • Aug 4
    Community Budget Dialogue
  • Aug 6
    Ribbon-cutting at Kincaid Park's new soccer fields
  • Aug 7
    Fairview Block Party
  • Aug 8
    Anchorage Senior Center Garden Gala
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