Letter: Meeting on downtown traffic this Monday

Posted: Sunday, February 11, 2001

Recently I attended a DOTPF presentation on the planned improvements to the 10th and Egan intersection and Douglas Bridge, probably both the most important and the least functional intersection in town. This intersection has congestion at peak periods and a relatively high accident rate.

A traffic survey conducted by Kittelson Associates at DOT's request suggests that the streets and roadways within two blocks of the intersection will suffer peak-hour gridlock by 2022, when traffic volumes are expected to be 40 percent higher than now. DOT wants to come up with a plan to avoid this by the end of this year, so that right-of-way acquisition can occur next year and construction be completed by the fall of '03.

The consultants considered a dozen-odd alternatives and eliminated most of them as being unworkable. Of the four surviving scenarios, DOT's preferred alternative involves routing all northbound traffic via Glacier Avenue and 12th Street. With this arrangement, Egan Drive would become one-way southbound between 12th Street and Glacier Avenue, while Glacier and 12th would be one-way northbound. There would probably be several new traffic lights as well.

Some of the other scenarios are more appealing - especially the one with the single lane roundabout and the underpass for through traffic - but they are more expensive. DOT has no reason to spend more than the minimum amount required to fix the traffic problem unless it hears from the public that something more is needed. The extended public comment period closes at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

Monday evening, DOT will present these alternatives to the Assembly Committee of the Whole. The meeting is open to the public, although there will probably be no opportunity for public comment. The Assembly's comments and preferences will carry considerable weight, so anyone sending comments to DOT should also send a copy to the Assembly.

Information about the alternatives is available on DOT's web site at http://www.dot.state.ak.us/external/southeast/dnc/juneau/10th_Egan/index.htm

If you use this intersection and if you're reading this you probably do then please look at this material, decide if you like one of the other scenarios better, or if you'd rather see more Traffic Demand Management strategies tried before we rush off to pour concrete, and then let both DOT and the Assembly know of your preference.

John P. Roxburgh

Juneau



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