Friday, June 13, 2008

Success and Tragedy on the Path this Week

I'm starting this post off with a beautiful, calming photo of the lake I pass on my ride to work.

I'm still fighting the State of Ak and City of Wasilla about sweeping off the bike paths. I have been passing out the local State of AK maintenance phone # to anyone who will say they will call to complain about the road sand and gravel and I have continued to email the guy in Anchorage, also asking them to do SOMETHING about the corner of Parks on-ramp and Seward Meridian where the bike path and road join right at the corner at the bottom of a long, large hill - putting me in a head on trajectory with vehicles cutting the corner and driving into the bike path. I told all of them I was taking pictures and would start emailing whoever I could about the conditions as well as writing letter to the editor and talking with the local radio station.

All last week there were little improvements here and there. Part of the worst of the bike path was swept off, but not all - they would just stop right in the middle-living a 6 inch berm of sand leading into the remaining 100 feet of 3 inches of sand...go figure. They slowly got the hill and corner swept off. Then I was riding home yesterday and they actually put down a stripe of paint to show the edge of the road, giving vehicles an indicator of the shoulder of the road and the bike path. I also was ready to put up a boycott of the coffee shop who kept putting their sign in the middle of the bike path. I asked them to move it and finally the State TOLD them to move it off the path. Here are before and after photos.
The berm left behind
The sign in the path
View coming down the hill to the corner of my complaints. This is after they swept off the path..sort of.

At the bottom, where did the path go and how do I continue on the the left, where the path is supposed to be? This truck and all other vehicles cut the corner into the bike path. The road sand made control and stopping pretty difficult before it was swept off.

Now, after the paint! Vehicles still cut the corner but at least there is some sort of indicator where the lane ends/shoulder begins

I'm still fighting with the City of Wasilla and the State of AK over this next section on the bridge over Cottonwood Creek. Neither Wasilla nor the State will take responsibility for this section, which I almost wipe out on every day, the sand is really bad. This is the tragedy which happened on my way home Tuesday. Notice how much sand is on the path.

1st I flatted so I was running about a half an hour late out of Wasilla. Got that fixed and then came upon this scene. The baby is brand new and was hit. The mom was pretty upset, lots of sirens blaring, people honking. Moose kill by kicking and stomping, they can be very dangerous, especially mother moose protecting babies. The baby did not survive. The troopers carry fireworks and shot them near the mom to get her away then they drug the baby off the edge of the road, only about 15 ft from the bike path. I wasn't too sure about riding past with the mom moose still there so the troopers kept the traffic stopped and had me ride up the shoulder of the road against on-coming traffic until I was past the bridge and back on the path. It was very, very sad.

Later Fish and Game moved the baby.

Not the best week of commuting. But today, the weather is actually sunny..things are looking up.


Jeff said...

So frustrating! I'm so sick of the overuse of cars! They cause so many problems.

Juneau.Eco.Mommie said...

Oh, I have wanted to see a moose for so long. But not like that. Every animal does feel and does cry. you could just see in your pictures the pain that the little mommie was feeling. so sad.
-namaste, erin

oldmanandhisbike said...

Very sad about the baby moose. We are constantly stopping here to help turtles on their way but moving that along would be a difficult task.
Keep fighting the good fight and battling the powers that be who can't come around to the idea that there are other transportation alternatives and they require support.

Michelle said...

The Mat Su Valley is the worst when it comes to public transportation or any alternate transportation. For whatever reason, it seems like Alaska (the government) just sticks it's head in the sand and ignores issues such as pollution, recycling, bike paths...they just aren't very proactive about avoiding some of these types of issues, other issues they are overly protective. Lets get a mass public transportation in the Mat Su to Anchorage BEFORE the pollution and traffic jams reach a critical point.

rigtenzin said...

I came over here from Snakepants' blog. I'm impressed by your tenacity regarding the bike paths. I'm really saddened by the baby moose death. The photos and your descriptions make it very real, even way out here in Minneapolis.

Michelle said...

Welcome to my blog, Thadeous! Great pictures on your blog. Flowers aren't plentiful here this summer, still pretty cold.

I just don't think people here know they can complain or request the paths to be cleaned off and maintained, so I am willing be the voice of the growing number of cyclist in my area. Also, my clients have taught me the squeeky wheel gets the oil. :)

I have many more pictures of the moose and video also. I showed my mom and she about cried. It is very emotional. Especially when I realized that the calf was gone and the emotion the mom moose was displaying. She was ready to die to protect her baby.