Not a good tradeoff on Seward Street

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2005

As a person who walks Seward Street at least once daily during the work week, I've noticed something which strikes me as a bit odd. This week, I see that the construction crews have built forms and poured concrete curbs on the lower stretch of the construction area. It appears that the sidewalks on both sides of the street are going to be approximately doubled in width, leaving a single narrower lane for automobile traffic and eliminating on-street parking spaces, at least on the block between Front and Second streets. This begs what I think is the obvious question: Why would the city planners of Juneau spend over $4 million to eliminate the one thing downtown Juneau has been short of for as long as I can remember, on-street parking? (I note also that last year, by moving the Capital Transit staging area to the Main Street parking lot, the city eliminated by my estimate 12 to 17 parking spaces that had existed at that location.)

For businesses along that street, the excavation and reconstruction, which seems to be progressing on a fairly rapid schedule, is indeed a temporary inconvenience. The elimination of nearby parking, on the other hand, is permanent. What has greater benefit for downtown Juneau business, especially that not on the main "tourist strip" of South Franklin, wider, pretty brick sidewalks, or preserving the (formerly) existing number of parking spaces?

Russell King


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