On May 17, there will be a final public meeting on the Area Wide Transportation Plan (AWTP) prior to submittal of that plan to the Planning Commission and the Assembly. Some disturbing rumors are floating around. I hope these are only rumors and that public input at the May 17 meeting will be constructive. In the event that the rumors have substance I believe the following should be made known to the public. Unfortunately, for medical reasons I will be unable to attend the May 17 meeting.
Rumor: Not enough consideration of transportation demand management (TDM). With respect to the TDM scenarios, the Transportation Steering Committee (TSC) did actively consider implementing TDM as a solution.
The best information available indicated that even with the best TDM program, there would still be a need for improvements to Egan Drive! Hence, although TDM strategies are included in the AWTP, so also are improvements to Egan Drive as both TDM and Egan improvements are needed to meet the anticipated demand.
Rumor: The AWTP should be rejected as it does not consider light rail. With respect to light rail, the TSC considered that option very early in the development of the AWTP. A number of issues pointed toward not including that option at this time; one of those considerations being a light rail consultant's observation that Juneau could not support light rail until the population reached 50,000. (Projected 2020 population is 37,000.)
In short, the current AWTP is based on the best information available at this time. It should be commented on and forwarded to the decision-making bodies for their consideration. It is the best plan available to guide the CBJ in helping DOT&PF select projects that will provide for transportation facilities in the near term that will be compatible with long-term growth to the extent we can discern that growth at this time.
Updates to the AWTP every five years will keep us abreast of future needs as defined by developing conditions.
Roger Allington, PE, PTOE