Expanded Valley subdivision to be closed to through traffic

Erin Manor residents don't want more cars driving through area

Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2005

When the final phase of the Erin Manor subdivision becomes a neighborhood, it shouldn't be on a Mendenhall Valley thoroughfare, city planners decided Tuesday night.

The future 70-lot subdivision, north of the Thunder Mountain Mobile Home Park, won't dedicate a right-of-way for future connection to Trafalgar Avenue, the Juneau Planning Commission decided in approving preliminary plans.

Planning staff originally recommended the Trafalgar Avenue connection, but commissioners changed the plans after hearing from Erin Manor residents who said they didn't want vehicles driving through the neighborhood.

The future phase, however, will be connected to other neighborhoods with a pedestrian path and have one more access to Mendenhall Loop Road, commissioners decided.

Developer Hugh Grant said he doesn't know when the subdivision will be built and whether he will build the homes or sell lots for people to build on.

"I don't know if I'll live that long," he said, adding that he is approaching 70. But he said the approval is important. "There is so little land developable in the Valley. The push should be to get more."

Erin Manor residents told planning commissioners they didn't have any problem with the third phase. They just want it to be done right. They said they like that their neighborhood is only accessible from Mendenhall Loop Road.

Melissa McCormick said she could be living at cross streets if Trafalgar Avenue went through.

"My main concern is the safety of my children," she said. "Traffic would be going this way. Traffic would be going that way. You're going to need speed bumps."

"The transportation plan says we should connect the road," city Planner Tim Maguire told commissioners. He said connecting neighborhoods is preferred to directing traffic onto the major streets. "There is that potential for increased traffic on (Mendenhall) Loop Road."

Erin Manor resident John Kingeter said he didn't want to see a Trafalgar Avenue connection because people know that people aren't coming into their neighborhood unless that's their intended destination.

"It's a nice, quiet neighborhood," he said. "People feel secure on the streets."

Commissioner Mark Pusich said other subdivisions, such as Montana Creek, just have outlets onto a main road.

When the third phase of Erin Manor is built, it will be improved over the existing development, Maguire said. It will include sidewalks and storm drains with improved drainage.

Current residents also expressed concern about how the project will affect drainage problems they already have.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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