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Auke Lake boat launch could see improvements

New ramp, redesigned parking area and new lighting among plans By RUSSELL STIGALL

Posted: May 8, 2012 - 11:02pm

The City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission’s Board of Adjustment approved a plan for improvements to the Auke Lake wayside boat ramp and recreational area at its meeting Tuesday.

Recent improvements to the area include a new boat ramp, a pedestrian bridge across Auke Creek and a new trail following the west bank of the lake. Proposed upgrades are designed to absorb the continued heavy use of the Auke Lake Wayside area.

City Engineering plans to better establish existing paths, increase vegetation, stabilize slopes and improve stormwater treatment. Specifically, the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities is funding and helping design a public shelter and fire ring, parking, a one-stall bathroom, lake viewing deck, stair access to floating dock for boaters and swimmers, lighting, bike and pedestrian paths.

The plan is estimated to cost $1 million. City and Borough of Juneau staff recommended approval of the Auke Lake Wayside Recreational Improvements Plan. This recommendation was provisioned on the inclusion of exterior lighting to be designed and located to minimize offsite glare.

“Pedestrian-scale, human-scale lighting. A safety issue, using it at night,” Michelle Elfers of the city Engineering Department said.

Modifications to the plan or variance shall be submitted to Community Development Department staff for possible future Planning Commission action.

An improved wayside parking area accommodates up to 26 cars and trailers, including two handicapped spaces.

“Probably a few less parking spaces (than currently exist), but we do not see a problem,” Elfers said.

A problem might arise on sunny days, Elfers said, but the University of Alaska Southeast provides overflow parking, Elfers said.

The city owns the property and will manage it. Commissioner Nathan Bishop said the bathrooms are currently in the area where the most people congregate and the plan is lacking softscape, grassy areas. He introduced a motion to move the bathrooms to a spot in the northern part of the lot. Elfers said the hardscape in her plan attempts to stabilize the site.

“I’m not sure if softscape will work,” Elfers said, “I would be a little hesitant to try to put in grassy areas.”

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com. 

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