Involvement required

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Chris Morrow had an excellent My Turn in Sunday's Empire regarding the need for all Juneau to get involved in the CBJ Area Wide Transportation Plan (AWTP) that is being circulated for public comment. The most controversial parts of the AWTP are the proposed solutions to the current and projected congestion on Egan Drive. Before coming to any conclusions the populace should consider the following.

Traffic growth in the community is inevitable as the community continues to prosper. Traffic increase is a function of population so as population increases we can expect traffic demand to also increase. The AWTP anticipates a modest population increase of about 1 percent per year. It also assumes the most likely results of traffic demand management (TDM) and transit usage. Even with these assumptions, Egan Drive will fail to accommodate the traffic demand in the near future.

Many people, when faced with a solution they do not like, will attack the information in the report that identified the problem. For those who think they do not like interchanges, the attack is leveled at the projected traffic figures ("I don't believe that!") or at nationally recognized measures of transportation adequacy ("What's wrong with level of service F for two hours a day?"). (Level of service F is, by definition, "failure.")

Another failing of the public is to fail to support the transportation needs during the budget process. During Transportation Steering Committee public hearings regarding the development of the AWTP, much was heard about increasing transit service in order to reduce auto demand. Yet, when budget time comes around, many of these same transit advocates fail to support the funding needed to increase transit service.

Everybody needs to get involved in the review of the AWTP to make it work for Juneau. The Chamber of Commerce and others concerned with business development as well as those concerned about the environment need to be involved. Not to stop the process, but to make sure that the "solutions," including interchanges along Egan Drive, are designed, built and/or implemented to be compatible with environmental concerns and to best serve the public.

Roger W. Allington, PE, PTOE


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