In consideration of a new road for NOAA

My turn

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2001

I would like to thank all the city officials and staff who have worked very hard to make the NOAA facility at Lena Point happen. I think it is a positive step for Juneau in keeping its economy diverse and I am looking forward to having it in the neighborhood. I know there are neighborhood concerns, but I believe they can be worked out.

I must apologize for signing the access letter that was presented at the April 17 meeting, but I wanted to be supportive of all the neighbors' concerns. All of the residents out here do not feel exactly the same way, however. I have lived in this area for 26 years and there has always been a spirit of cooperation among the Lena Loopers, north and south. I believe this will continue with the new road to the NOAA facility and with the people who will use it to get to work. The quarry is finished now, but when my boys were learning to ride their bikes out on the road, we had the huge trucks hauling rock through here. I asked the people in charge to slow down and they did - for years. It was that simple. Many of the drivers would wave and toot their horns at the boys when they went by - slowly.

I do not think there is a need for barricades or cul de sacs. Many of the employees in the new facility are Juneau residents. If their employer asked them to use a new road that was built specifically for them, probably they would. Residents would always have the option of taking down a license number or getting a description of a stray offending vehicle and reporting it.

Another very important issue to me is access to my house. Many times my north access has been blocked for one reason or another - so I just go the other way. What if there is a fire and a tree has fallen in a storm (a frequent occurrence) or one vehicle is stuck in the road for some reason and our fire department and its volunteers are slowed down or even stopped from saving our home or rescuing a loved one because there is only one way to get there? Cutting existing access by half is definitely a step in the wrong direction, especially since there are even more people who have moved into the neighborhood with their families who will benefit from keeping our loop.

No one wants more traffic on our existing road. That is why we voted for a separate entrance - which, it turns out, is already halfway built (FAA road). The homes on the water would not be affected nearly as much as the homes on the uphill side, which would receive the noise and dust of existing traffic as well as the new. Many families on the north side would lose their front yards and garages if the road were widened at all. I would also lose my sewage treatment plant and drain field, to say nothing of having traffic close to my living room window.

May I suggest monitoring the new road down the middle for a year after the facility has been opened and then making a wise decision once we see what real traffic patterns have emerged.

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