Empire Editorial: Speak up on public transit plan

The City and Borough of Juneau is in the midst of updating its public transit plan for the first time in nearly 18 years. Now is the time for Juneau residents to speak up and have their say as the plan takes shape.

Juneau has evolved since the current plan was implemented; neighborhoods have expanded to accommodate a growing population, new businesses have moved in and more public facilities, such as the Dimond Park Fieldhouse and Aquatic Center, have been constructed.

Our city isn’t the same as it was in 1996 when the current plan was implemented, and city officials understand that Juneau’s public transit plan needs to be updated accordingly. Juneau’s public transportation system carried 1.3 million passengers last year, a five percent increase over 2011 and a 43 percent increase since 2000, according to city data. It’s good that our elected officials are looking ahead to the future and taking prudent steps now to improve the system, rather than waiting for the situation to enter crisis mode some time down the road.

Public meetings were held on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Valley and Downtown areas, respectively, so citizens could weigh in on which public transportation plan best suit their needs. If you missed those meetings, don’t be alarmed, you can still voice in by attending a public meeting on the preferred service scenario tentatively scheduled for the first week of December. A final decision is expected in March. You can learn more about the proposals being considered at www.juneautransitplan.org.

Not everyone will be pleased with the direction the city chooses to go, much like how not every voter is satisfied with the results of any given election. What’s important is that those who use Juneau’s public transportation system voice their needs, concerns and questions so that our elected officials can move forward with confidence that the plan they choose is the best fit for the majority of those who regularly depend on Juneau’s public transit system.

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