Don't build garage

Posted: Sunday, May 25, 2008

I want to congratulate Juneau Assembly member Bob Doll on his stand on the proposed parking garage.

The location is terrible and the garage not needed. The necessity for this ugly monstrosity is given as relief for those who cannot find downtown parking. At this time of concentration on the high price of gasoline, many are citing an $8 cost for driving from Mendenhall Valley and back. With oil at more than $130 per barrel, cheap gas will not return. Ever.

How about thinking, instead of a new stable for the horses, that we build the light-rail line Bill Leighty sensibly proposed several years ago. It was dismissed at the time as impractical, although Juneau's straight-shot highway would be a perfect location.

If the Assembly is too timid to follow many cities across the United States, including the marvelous light-rail from the airport in Portland, Ore., to the city center, how about taking a cheaper way out and vastly increase bus service? Park-and-ride schemes work extremely well in many, many cities. I have studied public transportation for years and have come to the firm conclusion that frequent, reliable service is the answer. Cost, within reason, is not important.

The London Underground moves 6 million people a day in and out of the city. During busy times the trains come every six minutes, which means the public rides the trains.

But this council of elected officials and a sclerotic administration are still tied to the horse-and-carriage idea of just building more stables, rather than join the 21st century.

This emergency situation can either be endured until business is back to normal, or can be seen as an opportunity to make long-range changes that will save gasoline and energy in general in the future. Improving public transportation will be seen in a few years as a proud turning point for our city.

Dee Longenbaugh


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