August 30, 2005

Anchorage Investigates Creating Pedestrian-Friendly E Street

"Wider, tree-lined sidewalks edging E Street downtown would wow tourists in the summer and, if they were heated and covered, lure locals in the winter," the Anchorage Daily News reports. "A raised section of E Street blanketed with brick and flanked by benches and good lighting could be shut off to traffic for special festivals." Or, an elevated enclosed walkway could link people on foot from the Alaska Railroad to major downtown attractions.

These are some of the visions for the E Street pedestrian corridor project, a concept that was floated about five years ago by the railroad, the Anchorage Downtown Partnership and business leaders. The idea has gained momentum recently, and believers say it will happen.

Great idea. Anchorage has some very pedestrian-friendly areas, especially its network of trails, but some downtown areas are more suburban than urban feeling when it comes to walker appeal.
Government officials have approved a $495,000 contract with Makers Architecture and Urban Design of Seattle, to develop a pedestrian-friendly corridor, the newspaper reports. Construction might begin in 2006. Some funding of the expected $10 million cost may come via "voter-approved road bonds and state or federal grants," the Daily News says.

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