Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 17

03/10/2011 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 1:30 pm Today --
+= HB 57 BICYCLE PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 158 KNIK ARM BRIDGE AND TOLL AUTHORITY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                     HB 57-BICYCLE PROGRAM                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
1:34:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON announced that  the first order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 57,  "An Act  authorizing municipalities  and                                                               
nonprofit  organizations to  sponsor a  program to  encourage the                                                               
safe use  of bicycles as  a mode of transportation,  and amending                                                               
the  duties  of  the  Department  of  Transportation  and  Public                                                               
Facilities to include administration  of state funds appropriated                                                               
for that purpose."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:35:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRUITT  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HB 57,  labeled 27-LS0315\B, Kane, 2/18/11 as                                                               
the working  document.  There  being no objection, Version  B was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:36:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL  SEATON, Alaska State  Legislature, explained                                                               
changes contained  in the  proposed committee  substitute Version                                                               
B.   He referred to page  2, to lines  1-2 of HB 57,  which read,                                                               
"(2) educate the  public on the safe use of  bicycles and traffic                                                               
laws relating to bicycles and  motor vehicles." This language was                                                               
in  response  to  the  committee's desire  to  have  education  a                                                               
prominent feature, and  to allow people to apply for  grants.  He                                                               
referred to  page 2, and  line 7,  which read, "(2)  to establish                                                               
safety  and  education  programs  described  in  (a)(2)  of  this                                                               
section."  This language  allows for  the grants  just mentioned.                                                               
He referred  to page 2,  lines 19-20, which read,  "(2) educating                                                               
the public on the safe use  of bicycles and traffic laws relating                                                               
to bicycles and motor vehicles."   Additionally, the dates of the                                                               
program survey in  the bill are changed.  He  referred to page 3,                                                               
line 14, of HB  57, that the date changes from  2011 to 2012, and                                                               
on page  3, line 18 of  HB 57, the  date changes from to  2012 to                                                               
2014.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:37:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN   recalled  viewing   advertisements  on                                                               
bicycle  laws.    He  asked   whether  the  department  will  air                                                               
additional  media  announcements  or  would use  the  same  media                                                               
campaign.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON responded  that not  all communities  have                                                               
television  as the  most available  form of  media.   The bicycle                                                               
education programs  may be accomplished  by using flyers.   Thus,                                                               
villages  may  have  different programs  than  those  offered  in                                                               
cities such as Anchorage.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:39:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ asked  whether any  small business  bicycle                                                               
shop  owners have  contacted the  sponsor.   She related  she has                                                               
received  feedback  and  expressed  concern  over  the  potential                                                               
competition between businesses and local government.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  related he  heard from Mr.  Peter Roberts,                                                               
Downtown Bike  Rental in Anchorage.   Some shops in  his district                                                               
in Homer are  supportive of the bill since it  will encourage and                                                               
promote bicycle  use and users  will upgrade to  better bicycles.                                                               
He said it  is a mixed bag and he  acknowledged that some tourism                                                               
related  businesses expressed  concern that  a community  program                                                               
could  negatively  impact their  business.    However, there  are                                                               
numerous ways,  including building  bicycle racks and  storage to                                                               
enhance bicycle ownership, repair, and  upgrades.  He pointed out                                                               
that one thing he is also  trying to promote are bicycle trailers                                                               
so  people  can  transport  groceries.    He  related  that  some                                                               
equipment can make bicycles safer so  they can be used as a "mode                                                               
of transportation." He stated that  municipalities are not trying                                                               
to  compete  with  the  tourism   industry.    However,  numerous                                                               
communities do  not have  bicycle shops or  bicycles of  the type                                                               
that  can be  used as  a mode  of transportation.   He  suggested                                                               
people tend to use bicycles and then want better models.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:42:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF   OTTESEN,  Director,   Division  of   Program  Development,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
offered a  brief comment.  He  recalled that at the  last hearing                                                               
he stressed  the importance  of bicycling to  Alaska.   Alaska is                                                               
one  of  the  leading  states  in terms  of  its  citizens  using                                                               
bicycles  for  commuting.   He  offered  that the  DOT&PF's  only                                                               
suggestion was to clarify that education was permissible.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:43:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DERRICK REYNOLDS, Owner,  Cycle Logical, stated that  he lives in                                                               
Homer  and  owns and  operates  Cycle  Logical, a  small  bicycle                                                               
repair and  retail shop.   He said he fully  supports HB 57.   He                                                               
offered his belief  that he understands the  cycling community in                                                               
Homer.  In the past five  years he has witnessed a growing number                                                               
of  cyclists  ranging from  children  to  dedicated cyclists  and                                                               
commuters.   He explained that  most people express  concern over                                                               
the lack of safe  roads.  He agreed with their  concern.  He said                                                               
the simple  solution is to  outlaw cars!   He offered  his belief                                                               
that the quickest way to reduce  the number of cars and trucks on                                                               
roadways would be to encourage more  people to ride bicycles.  He                                                               
agreed HB  57 would not  create a  bicycle path along  every road                                                               
but it  could help  fund a  community bike  garage for  people to                                                               
use, perhaps  allowing them to check  out a bicycle.   People may                                                               
be able  to check out a  grant funded trailer, lock,  signage, or                                                               
bike  rack.   People could  shop and  return the  trailer to  the                                                               
garage.    Similar  bike share  programs  exist  nationwide  with                                                               
considerable  success.   He  acknowledged the  concern  but as  a                                                               
business  owner believes  that  the program  will  help grow  his                                                               
business.  He  reiterated that he understands  the rental aspect,                                                               
but most people  who want to rent a bicycle  to obtain the "state                                                               
of the art"  features and a bike share program  may not offer the                                                               
high  end  bicycle  features.    He explained  he  lives  in  the                                                               
community  and represents  the  cycling group.    He stated  that                                                               
several  groups are  actively working  to improve  conditions for                                                               
cyclists  in  Homer, all  of  whom  have  shown a  commitment  to                                                               
cycling.   Cycling  is a  growing trend.   He  thinks this  is an                                                               
important bill to  pass.  He thanked members  for considering it.                                                               
In response  to Chair P.  Wilson, Mr. Reynolds responded  that he                                                               
has not specifically  contacted the city council  for funding for                                                               
cycling programs.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:48:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHASE WARREN, Homer  Cycling Club, stated that he  has worked for                                                               
Cycle  Logical for  nearly two  years.   He related  that he  has                                                               
commuted primarily by bicycle for  five years.  He fully supports                                                               
HB  57, he  said.   This  bill could  significantly increase  the                                                               
safety on our roads, not just for cyclists.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:49:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CATRIONA  LOWE,  Member, Homer  Cycling  Club,  stated she  is  a                                                               
resident of Homer and a long time  cyclist.  She is also a member                                                               
of the  Homer Cycling Club.   This nonprofit group was  formed in                                                               
2010 to improve conditions for  bicyclists at the local level and                                                               
to establish bicycle routes and  mountain bike trails, host group                                                               
rides,  to  organize  events  such   as  races,  and  to  promote                                                               
bicycling  as an  environmentally  friendly  and healthy  choice.                                                               
She  offered her  belief that  HB  57 holds  great potential  for                                                               
Alaskans.   Using non motorized  transportation such  as bicycles                                                               
impacts lives  in so  many beneficial  ways that  even relatively                                                               
small amounts of  money invested will have positive  impact.  One                                                               
thing she  especially likes about  HB 57  is that it  allows each                                                               
community to  develop their own  programs to best meet  the local                                                               
needs.  One  of the biggest needs in Homer  is education for both                                                               
cyclists and motorists  on rules of the road.   The bill could be                                                               
used  to provide  classes and  workshops.   She uses  her bicycle                                                               
year round.   She  has commuted  over 60 percent  of the  days in                                                               
2011 and  driven her car 670  miles thus far.   Her bicycling has                                                               
personally reduced  her fuel costs,  wear and tear on  the roads,                                                               
and on her vehicle.  She  encourages her children in grades 4 and                                                               
8  to ride  their  bicycles as  much as  possible.   It  provides                                                               
independent transportation,  trips to the library  and beach, and                                                               
a fun  means to get exercise.   Her children are  in the minority                                                               
since many parents  are worried about safety.   She advocates the                                                               
state to  provide funding as  government provides a  central role                                                               
in  creating  a  seamless,  safe  transportation  infrastructure,                                                               
including bicycle transportation infrastructure.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:51:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LOWE provided statistics, such  as that bicycling and walking                                                               
provide 12  percent of  the trips Americans  make, but  only cost                                                               
1.5  percent  of  transportation   funding.    Bicycles  keep  us                                                               
healthy, get us  from point A to  point B, save us  from high gas                                                               
prices,  make our  air  cleaner, and  our  roads less  congested.                                                               
Bicycles are great for health,  good for communities, and provide                                                               
a  solution for  many key  societal challenges.   Cost  effective                                                               
investments   in  bicycling   will   boost   the  economy,   help                                                               
individuals and the state save  money, can help reduce challenges                                                               
such  as obesity  and road  congestion, and  benefit individuals,                                                               
communities, our state,  and ultimately the nation.   She offered                                                               
her belief that  the state should invest in  solutions that solve                                                               
multiple problems and "I think bicycling fits the bill."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:52:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  NEECE,  City  of  Homer  Economic  Development  Advisory                                                               
Commission,  echoed Ms.  Lowe's position  and  points.   He is  a                                                               
member  of  other groups  that  support  bicycle use  and  public                                                               
transportation.   He rides all the  time and does not  own a car.                                                               
He suggested a little more effort  on the road shoulders would be                                                               
great during  the winter.   He  hoped that  this bill  would help                                                               
elevate  and educate  people  about bicycling.    He offered  his                                                               
support for HB 57.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:53:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON asked whether Homer has any bike paths.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEECE related that Homer has  one.  He related that he served                                                               
on  the Global  Warming Task  Force  in 2006-2007  and that  task                                                               
force worked to address bike paths.   He pointed out the one bike                                                               
path  is on  Easton  Road about  two  miles long.    He lives  on                                                               
Kachemak  Drive,  which does  not  have  a  bike  path and  is  a                                                               
treacherous route.  The community would like to develop more.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:54:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  asked whether  he uses studded  tires on                                                               
his bicycle.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEECE  answered no  as  studded  tires sometimes  provide  a                                                               
person a  sense of  false security.   He  related that  he either                                                               
walks or rides and pays attention to drivers.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:55:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PETER  ROBERTS, Owner,  Downtown Bicycle  Rental, stated  that he                                                               
has listened  to the  testimony and  has heard  many assumptions.                                                               
He  stated  that  the  sponsor acknowledged  that  a  chance  for                                                               
competition exists.   He asked how much  competition and business                                                               
owners  should lose  before businesses  have lost  too much.   He                                                               
recalled a Homer  resident implying it would be better  to have a                                                               
government run  the bike  share program  because the  bike rental                                                               
service would be better.  He  seemed to imply that bikes provided                                                               
by government would almost be  unsafe bicycles.  He asked whether                                                               
the program  would anticipate insurance  and liability  issues if                                                               
someone is injured  on one of the  government sponsored bicycles.                                                               
He said many questions have arisen  and the issues do not seem to                                                               
have  been thought  through.    He recalled  a  similar bill  was                                                               
introduced two years ago and  the bill sponsor and cosponsor knew                                                               
he was opposed to  the bill yet he was not  informed of this bill                                                               
several days ago.  It seemed  to him that members should vote no,                                                               
the bill  should go back  to the  drawing board, and  the sponsor                                                               
should consult  with affected  constituents prior  to introducing                                                               
legislation like this.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBERTS emphasized that there is  a lot wrong with this bill.                                                               
He said, "I will wave the  flag for bicycling higher than anybody                                                               
that has testified  so far.  I  rode my bike to  this hearing and                                                               
there's no  dispute about  how great  bikes are."   The  issue is                                                               
whether  the  government  should  intervene  to  change  peoples'                                                               
behavior.   The education aspect of  the bill is good  but giving                                                               
free maintenance,  bikes, and trailers  needs to be removed.   He                                                               
suggested  some  testifiers think  that  it  would be  better  if                                                               
government  provided the  trailers.   He suggested  the testifier                                                               
fill that  niche himself.   "That's the  American way.   I'll bet                                                               
you  anything that  he would  do a  better job.   There  would be                                                               
better  availability of  the trailers,  and maybe  if he's  lucky                                                               
he'd earn a profit  and pay some taxes.  And  that would help the                                                               
economy," he said.   He suggested that  private enterprise should                                                               
provide the bicycles  and trailers and increase  competition.  He                                                               
urged the committee  to vote no and  fund infrastructure instead.                                                               
He stressed  that government should  fund bike racks  and trails,                                                               
and  make  it  more  interesting  for  people  to  commute.    He                                                               
highlighted  that increasing  trail  safety  and creating  better                                                               
routes would provide incentives for bicycle commuters.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:59:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  asked Mr. Roberts what  the impediments are                                                               
to more people using bicycles.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROBERTS  responded that  he  attended  a conference  several                                                               
years ago in  Anchorage and the experts  indicated the impediment                                                               
to bicycling is due to a  lack of infrastructure.  Commuters need                                                               
the right routes.   If people cannot  afford bicycles, government                                                               
could use  "Bucks for  Bikes" vouchers  to patronize  an existing                                                               
business.   He  stressed that  infrastructure is  the number  one                                                               
issue, and the second would be to support voucher programs.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:00:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON announced she would leave public testimony open.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[HB 57 was held over.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB57 State Farm letter of support.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB057-DOA-DOF-03-04-11.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 opposition ltr Roberts.htm HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
CSHB57 2-18-11.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB0158A.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
HB 158 Sponsor Statement.docx HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
HB 158 KABATA pro-forma.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
hb57 NFIB ltr of opoosition.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB158 Jan 2011 KABATA survey (2).pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
HB 158 Knik Arm Crossing Summary.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
HB158 Houston Resolution 09-05 KABATA.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
HB 158 Knik Arm Crossing White Paper.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
HB158 Knik Arm Crossing TIFIA-LOI.pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158
HB158 Knik Arm Crossing TIFIA Cover (2).pdf HTRA 3/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 158