Is Anchorage a Winter City?

I grew up in Anchorage, attending public school from the late 60s to ‘79. It seems like winters were colder/longer then. (and uphill in both directions)

I don’t remember snow days. Maybe I was having too much fun to remember? I recall that buses put chains on and kept running.

(We also didn’t have spring break! It was tough.)

I’m pondering whether Anchorage is doing “winter” right or not.

We are an arctic community. It snows here regularly, and it sticks around for a while. However, it seems we’ve lost track of how to BE a winter city and instead is getting more comfortable with shutting down every time winter snow shows up. Our pandemic accommodations have made it more accessible as we shift to “remote learning days” to keep the administrative tally from being docked.

Last night a door dash delivery driver with no winter driving experience was trying to deliver someone’s order on the hillside in a car with no snow tires. They got stuck twice. They should not have been on the road – but should the streets and schools be shut down to accommodate and enable a community that is not capable and prepared?

Perhaps being a good winter city is knowing how to throw in the white towel (haha) and shelter in place when it snows and shuts down. Possibly being a community that values lowering property taxes and won’t collect any state tax so that road clearing and school transportation systems can not afford to operate when it has snowed is the price we are willing to live with and pass on to families and businesses to pay in lost productivity.

(Want to bet whether the bus company’s private contracts pay them for not driving on snow days but that the drivers go hungry. Yeah, that’s a bit snarky.)

I want to think being a good winter city is having the community designed and equipped to continue to function when winter shows up.

It snowed… maybe a foot in the last week…6-8in yesterday… should we be shut down today, or should we have had the capabilty to be be up and running on a Monday morning?

Perhaps bike helmets, cushioned playgrounds, and snow days are a sign of progress.

Our LRSA local road district had the roads all plowed out a couple times in the last week when there was more than 3-4” and its was plowed again this morning. We went to work, one of us to an empty elementary school.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.