A proposal that would place a second crossing between the Juneau mainland and Douglas Island in the Salmon Creek area proved to be the most popular among residents who spoke at a recent city meeting.
In an open forum hosted by the City and Borough of Juneau Public Works and Facilities Committee Thursday evening, more than 20 residents from both Juneau and Douglas made public comments regarding the six preliminary alternatives outlined as potential crossing options in the Planning and Environmental Linkages study currently underway.
The six options are at the Mendenhall Peninsula, West Sunny Point Area, Sunny Point Area, Vanderbilt, Twin Lakes and Salmon Creek.
Of the more than 20 people who testified, around 10 indicated that they preferred the Salmon Creek alternative, citing its lower cost and distance from the wetlands as the biggest factors. A similar number of people also spoke out against the Mendenhall Peninsula alternative, citing its potential negative impacts crossing the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge as the biggest reason.
That opinion wasn’t shared by everyone, however, and some said they didn’t want a crossing built at all.
“I do not think a second crossing is necessary, and I think that we have been falsely led to choose a crossing alternative,” said Frita Westman.
Tom Williams said he supported the Mendenhall Peninsula alternative because it would have less impact on property owners and could open up more opportunities for housing and tourism development.
“Obviously the cost is the biggest drawback here,” he said. “But you need to think about the marginal cost because they’re all going to be expensive. And I think if you think about the marginal cost and the marginal benefit, the Mendenhall Peninsula is clearly the best option here.”
However, other residents like Albert Shaw did not share the same view.
“Mendenhall Peninsula gets a big no from me,” he said.
Alex Wertheimer, said he thinks Salmon Creek is the superior option in terms of medical transportation.
“The Salmon Creek crossing stands out as the best alternative to provide reduced transport response with it placing you at the intersection of the hospital,” he said.
Kathy Coghill agreed, and said she is most in favor of the Salmon Creek alternative, but expressed concerns about the likely high cost of the project.
“It’s going to be horrendously expensive and we can’t afford this, we’ve got so many projects that we need to fund — we shouldn’t be funding a luxury,” she said. “I feel like salmon creek has the least financial impacts, the least wetland impact.”
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807.