A bridge too narrow

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I am somewhat concerned with the Assembly's plans to make a third traffic lane on the Douglas Bridge.

The bridge, though wider than the old Douglas Bridge, is still not very wide to begin with, and to try and squeeze a third lane in, at the expense of the bikers, in my opinion, does not make sense.

I doubt if this meets the city code or federal standards for safety, which require a lane be 14 feet; the city is proposing 12 feet. Such narrow lanes would be hazardous when icy, or when wide, vehicles like school buses use them.

Second, the bike path would be too narrow for pedestrians and bikers to share. There would be no space for a bicycle path to traverse safely as the federal law calls for a 10-foot path; the city plan is only for 7.5 feet. A lot of kids use the sidewalk, and we would just be asking for trouble by putting more bikers on the path. The roadway and the bike path would be too narrow for safety. This "shared lane" concept is totally unsafe.

Third, one of the problems with the old bridge was that, due to its width, it was a safety hazard causing a number of accidents. What makes our city fathers think their new plan would be any different?

Back in the 1970s, when the new bridge was built, it was considered adequate for our needs. This was until about 1990, when a second bridge would have to be built; I would say we are a little overdue. Instead of trying to put Band-Aids on the wound, let's build another bridge. We can use the money the good governor took from the seniors when he deleted their longevity bonus.

Jim Ruotsala

Juneau



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