Bus center plan inspires discussion of private parking

Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Faced with a decision on plans for new downtown bus facilities Tuesday night, city planning commissioners expressed concern for the availability of public parking.

The Juneau Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for a transit center that would be smaller than the one the city originally planned to build near Centennial Hall.

The Capital Transit downtown center would provide a covered passenger waiting area, enclosed driver restrooms and a break room in a 14-by-25-foot building.

Transportation Development Manager Sam Kito said talks for that site stalled, forcing consideration of other "scaled down" sites. The best was determined to be on Main Street across from Front Street, he said.

In answer to a question from commissioners, Kito said he didn't know when the center would be built. For the upcoming tourist season, the downtown transit center will need to be located in a trailer, he said.

Commissioner Maria Glad-ziszewski asked why the transit center had to be moved. Currently, Capital Transit uses the Mount Roberts Tramway parking lot.

Kito said the tour buses operate out of the location, and the city has been looking to find a new transit center for several years.

"We either lose tour bus space or lose on-street parking spaces for cars?" Gladziszewski asked.

"Correct," Kito answered. The transit center would remove six parking spaces from use - eight spaces as long as the trailer remains in use - because it will require buses to park on the street.

Commissioner Mike Bavard said he was concerned about the loss of parking spaces. Other commissioners asked about the availability of legislative parking at Second and Franklin streets after the legislative session ends.

"Our goal is to improve downtown parking," Commissioner Mark Pusich said.

Commissioner Marshal Kend-ziorek made a motion to approve the permit, with another condition. It stated that eight additional parking spaces will be made available from the lot, six after the trailer is moved from the site.

"However many parking places you take you have to make available," Gladziszewski said.

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