Second crossing will benefit many

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wednesday morning there was a crash that resulted in North Douglas Highway being closed, isolating many of the residents and stranding a school bus for a time. Yet opponents of the second crossing say it is only "to shave off a few commuting minutes for the affluent from their homes to their favorite valley shopping centers." (Steve Robertson, Wednesday's Juneau Empire)

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Not only can a road blockage halt traffic, it can take more than 15 minutes to respond to an emergency at the far end of north Douglas. Nevertheless, critics say, "The main bridge is enough to meet the needs of transportation to Juneau." (Alfredo Velazquez, Monday's Empire)

A second bridge will not benefit only one segment of the community. The bridge will allow traffic to proceed in two directions. People in the Mendenhall Valley, such as yourself, will be able to access Eaglecrest Ski Area, the hiking trails or the boat launch at the north end of the island without having to drive the extra distance, unless critics think they shouldn't be able to "shave off a few commuting minutes." A second crossing can also cut response times to emergency calls, especially because most of the proposed access sites are in close proximity to the Glacier Fire Station. Easier access can also lead to more development, though those who ask us to "not build the north Douglas bridge for the sake of our beautiful forest" might see that as the true threat of a second crossing.

To the critics I say put down the ax and step away from the grinder. After all, in many ways they qualify as the affluent they are railing against.

Robert Kindred


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