Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
September 23, 2016
In this issue:
• Spenard Road Reconstruction Update
• Status of Marijuana Industry
• Alaska Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan
• Community Events
• Follow Us!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy Friday! As we head into fall, here’s an update on some recent news and events, as well as a few community events and opportunities to look forward to.

Spenard Road Reconstruction Update

The Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) is proposing changes to Spenard Road between Hillcrest Drive and 30th Avenue to improve vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle safety. The community recognizes that the road condition is deteriorating. This corridor has a high collision rate and one of the highest rates of pedestrian-bicycle related crashes in Anchorage. Proposed improvements include a new road base, curb, and gutter; storm drain improvements; transit improvements; lighting upgrades; pedestrian crossing improvements, and landscaping.

The proposed project will convert part of the existing 4-lane section to a 3-lane section with a two-way center left turn lane for vehicles. The road between Benson Boulevard and Northern Lights Boulevard will be a 4-lane road. And the one block north from 30th Avenue to Benson Boulevard as well as the one block north from Northern Lights Boulevard to 27th Avenue will be a 4-lane road. Non-motorized components include bike lanes and multi-use pathways on both sides of the street. The proposed design would also update the roadway lighting and bring bus stops up to current standards.

An illustration of the proposed cross-section
An illustration of the proposed cross-section

The project recently completed its 65% design stage. On Monday, the MOA held an Open House to share information and gather feedback on the design.

Spenard Rd & Benson Blvd Perspective Rendering
Spenard Rd & Benson Blvd Perspective Rendering

Spenard Rd & 27th Ave Perspective Rendering
Spenard Rd & 27th Ave Perspective Rendering

If you were unable to attend the Open House and would like to comment on the proposed project design, visit the Spenard Road Reconstruction website and take a look at the fact sheet and comment sheet provided. Comments submitted about the 65% design will be taken under consideration as the final design is developed. The comment period will close October 14, 2016.

Status of Marijuana Industry

The Joint House and Senate Judiciary Committee met last week to receive an update on the implementation of and regulations for Alaska’s commercial marijuana industry, legalized by the passage of Ballot Measure 2 in 2014. The ballot measure set a timeline for the creation and adoption of regulations to manage and license commercial marijuana businesses. In 2015, the legislature established the Marijuana Control Board to create regulations and meet the proposed timeline. At the hearing and in recent news articles, we have learned that the Alcohol and Marijuana Control office staff of 15 people is overloaded as it attempts to keep up with inquires and applications. The state has received approximately 104 applications for testing facilities, cultivation permits, and retail licenses, and overall, about 420 applications have been started in the state’s online system.

During the meeting, members of the Joint Judiciary Committee expressed concerns about some complaints they’ve received from industry members. The complaints included difficulties in the licensing process and frustration with federal laws that create barriers for marijuana businesses to open bank accounts at interstate banks.

The Joint Judiciary Committee also considered the issue of marijuana social clubs—unlicensed social clubs that allow dues-paying members to consume cannabis on the premises. Last month, Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth issued an opinion that marijuana social clubs violate public consumption law. According to the Attorney General, the marijuana initiative made public consumption illegal. Therefore, under state law, public consumption is not allowed “in public,” which is defined as “a place to which the public or a substantial group of people has access,” including “places of amusement or business.” Members of the Joint Judiciary Committee questioned that interpretation and debated the definition of “in public.” Attorney General Lindemuth admitted that the definition of “in public” is broad, and explained that her analysis is consistent with state statute.

I will continue to keep you informed as the legislature evaluates the implementation and regulation status of Alaska marijuana legalization.

Alaska Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan

The State of Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), in partnership with DOWL and Alta Planning + Design, are working on a plan to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure across the state. The goal of the project is to improve safety, increase accessibility, and promote healthy lifestyles in our communities. The project team will work with communities across the state through 2018 to hear their concerns and better understand community needs. The project goals include developing achievable solutions that will increase access to bicycle and pedestrian facilities and improve safety across Alaska.

Alaska Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan

Earlier this week, DOT hosted a Public Meeting to engage stakeholders in the Anchorage community. If you were unable to attend the Public Meeting, visit the Facebook event page to view the live video stream of the meeting. If you would like to get involved, visit the ASBPP website to view the project schedule, submit comments, and sign up for the project mailing list.

Community Events and Opportunities

PFD Travel Fair

Saturday, September 24th, 12pm-5pm at The Bill Sheffield Railroad Depot at Ted Steven’s Anchorage International Airport.

Live music and free parking at the long term lot. Enter for the chance to win travel prizes. Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

2016 Alaska Women’s Show

Friday, September 23rd – Sunday, September 25th, 11am – 6pm at The Sullivan Arena.
More than 150 vendor booths, hourly seminars, and hourly entertainment on the Main Stage. Free admission. Click here for more details.

One Course Discourse

Friday, September 30th at Bear Tooth Theatre. Doors open at 2pm, movie at 2:30pm.
Join Food Bank of Alaska and the Alaska Food Coalition for a screening of “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” to discuss the existing efforts to reduce food waste in Alaska, and what we can do as a community to help fight food waste and hunger during Hunger Action Month. Free admission. Click here for more details.


signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
Juneau, Alaska 99801

Contact the Governor

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker


State Info (907) 269-5111

Serving the Anchorage Neighborhoods of
Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

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