I read with interest Wednesday’s front page story about cruise reformers filing three initiatives. In the article, the Downtown Business Association’s president, is quoted as saying: “It feels like we are being kicked when we are down.”
I view these three initiatives differently.
The first one asks that ships with over 250 passengers not dock before 7 a.m. and leave by 7 p.m. This modest restriction would allow Juneau residents to enjoy evenings without congestion and noise on the roads, in the air, and in the harbors, including Auke Bay. I would welcome this return to somewhat normal summer nights.
The second initiative seeks Saturday free of big ships. In 2019, Juneau had about1.3 million passengers. If Saturday were ship-free, we would have 1 million.
Can we live with 1 million per season?
The third calls for a moratorium on ships over a certain tonnage; these ships typically carry more than 4,000 passengers. If passed, this restriction would start in 2026, giving the industry and businesses five years to prepare.
In my view, rather than hurting the business community, the cruise-reform activists are seeking a balance between our quality of life and a better experience for all Juneau visitors. The ever-increasing numbers of cruise passengers have displaced independent, stay-over travelers who spend more money in town, and Juneau is sadly getting a reputation for over tourism.
Each initiative stands alone, one could sign one ,two or all three. It’s time that all Juneau residents have our say.