Sitka is designated as a Bronze-level community due to its consistently high walking mode share and low crash rate, exceptional trail system, and community support for walking initiatives and events. Highlights of Sitka’s programs include:
- Sitka Trail Works is gathering information for its Sitka Trails Plan update following the completion of most of the trails on the original 2003 plan. The Sitka Cross Trail, an 8’ gravel multi-modal pathway, just finished its sixth and final stage of construction, creating a trail that can take people from one end of town to the other without putting them near a major road.
- The Sitka Sea Walk, which opened in October 2013, is a pathway that connects the Crescent Harbor downtown to the Sitka National Historic Park. The project also includes a walkway on the breakwater next to the Sitka Sound Science Center. The walking path, which includes sections of sidewalk and wooden boardwalk, is an important connection for cruise ship tourists and residents alike, and expansions, are scheduled for both ends of the current trail.
- The expected record number of cruise ship passengers for the summer of 2022 spurred the creation of a short-term tourism plan to expand walking infrastructure. One aspect of this plan is to close Lincoln Street (the main downtown street) to car traffic on days with more than 4,000 cruise ship passengers in town. Sitka is looking at making these adjustments permanent and creating a long-term tourism plan.
- The transit service in Sitka is excellent for a remote community of 8,000. The transit and paratransit system is operated by a partnership between the nonprofit Center for Community (main admin), Sitka Tribe of Alaska (the RIDE transit), and the nonprofit Catholic Social Services (paratransit). The RIDE public transit includes three bus routes that run on the hour or half-hour. Sitka’s two signalized intersections have pedestrian countdown signals and slow speeds for traffic progression.
- Sitka’s pedestrian advocacy group, Walk Sitka, was formed in 2012 after the Sitka Health Summit. The Walk Sitka team finished in the top five the past two years in the American Public Health Association’s Keep It Moving Challenge. They are currently working with Sitka Assembly members to see if the city code can be changed so the city plows sidewalks instead of having property owners be responsible for plowing.
- In 2019, Sitka hosted the inaugural Alaska Walk and Bike conference and held a virtual version in 2020.