Senator Berta Gardner

February 13, 2014

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Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 417
Juneau, AK 99801
Call Me: 1-800-331-4930

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Northern Access Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Open House: Tuesday, February 18th 2014 @ East High School.
Open House: Tuesday, February 18th 2014 @ East High School.

          We’ve finally had some snow in Juneau, and I know my staff is ready to hit the slopes this weekend for the first time since we arrived. The weather outside is gorgeous, and things are humming along in the capitol.

          While we are still debating the bigger ideas like school vouchers and gas pipelines, I’d like to take a moment to talk about an issue that’s very close to home: The Northern Access U-Med Bragaw Extension.

          Last year with little public discussion the House Finance Committee found $20 million to fund the Bragaw Extension/Elmore Road Extension/Northern Access Road, an idea which has bounced around for decades, with consistent neighborhood opposition.  The difference now is that the University, which once opposed the road, is now in support.

          On behalf of a group of concerned citizens, I’ve sent a records request to the Department of Transportation following up on some specific issues and I look forward to sharing those with the community.  Representative Josephson and I have filed legislation to rescind the $20 million funding (HB272 & SB130) though I acknowledge that it is highly unlikely our proposals will pass.   The bottom line is that the landowner wants and the state has funded this road.

          In the meantime, DOWL HKM and the Municipality have been working hard on the project, striving to understand and address the neighborhood concerns.  Despite their efforts community councils in the area maintain strong objections, with concerns about traffic impacts (particularly to Bragaw Road north), damage to wetlands and wildlife habitat, and loss of recreational space in the heart of the city.   

          We have just learned that the final route has been chosen.  In my view the selection is the obvious one, running most directly between Elmore and Bragaw across the campus.  The road will have three roundabouts, which are designed to slow speedsters and discourage pass through traffic. There will also be pedestrian bridges to allow for continuous use of the trails throughout the area.

          The public conversation continues - with your next opportunity coming up when the Alaska Department of Transportation and the Municipality of Anchorage host an open house:

          Tuesday, February 18th
          6pm to 8pm with presentations beginning at 7,
          Commons Room @ East High School

          As I’ve said before, I do believe the road is going through, largely because the owners of the land are supportive of it moving forward and the money is there for them.   I also understand that there are people who are truly dismayed that the road is moving forward and I’m open to  suggestions.

          I’m Berta and I’m still listening,

          If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office

signed: Berta

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