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Planners examine future of transportation

Keeping Juneau SE's transportation hub a topic of meeting

Posted: July 18, 2012 - 12:03am

The City and Borough of Juneau Planning Committee of the Whole heard transit-related updates to the municipality’s Comprehensive Plan, Tuesday.

The committee commented on public access to Juneau’s ferry terminal and sole-proprietor status of Alaska Airlines at the Juneau International Airport.

CBJ Planner Ben Lyman presented changes to the Plan that envisioned a healthier, denser Juneau that relies more on foot, bike and public transportation.

The plan recommended CBJ adhere to Complete Streets standards when designing new transportation corridors and corridor remodels. The model ensures the needs of all users are meet.

“It’s a nice little plan,” said Commissioner Karen Lawfer.

Lawfer said CBJ’s plan needs to check what she called an “incestuous” relationship between the Department of Transportation and the CBJ.

“One can’t burp without the other getting heart burn,” Lawfer said. “We really need to keep an eye on DOT.”

Committee members expressed their concern over high traffic to and from Juneau’s ferry terminal at mile 14 of the Glacier Highway, especially from the Auke Bay area. Committee Member Nathan Bishop suggested creating pedestrian refuges along the Auke Bay corridor.

“They are all walking along the road with suitcases and bikes,” Bishop said. The plan does address public transit and non-vehicular transit from the ferry terminal to the CBJ’s transit hub in Auke Bay.

CBJ Planner, Ben Lyman said the city is up against limits to its service area. CBJ limits do not encompass the terminal, Lyman said.

“It’s our line in the sand,” Lyman said. “ Where we are not supposed to provide service beyond that.”

Committee Member Dan Miller said that easier and cheaper transportation from the ferry terminal promotes Juneau’s status as a Southeast shipping and transportation hub.

“We need to focus on rapid public transit,” Nathan Bishop said.

Bishop asked CBJ staff to include in the plan language to encourage public transit to and from the ferry terminal to coincide with the ferry schedule.

Bishop turned his attention from ease of transportation to it cost. He asked CBJ staff to update the plan to possibly encourage competition to Alaska Airlines at Juneau’s international airport.

“It seems that we need to address having one air carrier in Juneau,” Bishop said. “We all pay dearly for having a monopoly in town.”

This request was met with approval from other committee members. Bishop suggested CBJ promote additional air carriers to serve the needs of Southeast Alaska.

CBJ Planner Lyman said busting Alaska Airline’s monopoly might run into infrastructure problems.

Though JIA was recently remodeled, due to increased demands of safety screening, Lyman said, “we would have to expand our newly remodeled airport.”

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

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