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Juneau considers new cruise ship docks

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- The Juneau Planning Commission got its first look Tuesday at proposals for two cruise ship docks south of downtown. Pedestrians and traffic topped the list of concerns.

The city is reviewing a permit application for a new dock at the Thane Road rock dump that would accommodate 950-foot cruise ships. The Jacobsen Trust and Southeast Stevedoring are partners in the proposal, which would allow cruise ships that anchor in Gastineau Channel to tie up in town, they said.

The project would include a bus staging area, 380-foot floating dock and dolphin piles connected by a catwalk for mooring.

The department expects a separate application for a dock next to the privately owned Franklin Dock. The 400-foot floating dock would serve vessels that shuttle cruise passengers from ships at anchor in the channel. It also would serve small cruise ships, catamarans and yachts, according to Reed Stoops of Franklin Dock Enterprises.

The Community Development Department called an informal meeting to see what additional research might be needed before the requests go to the Planning Commission for a public hearing, department Director Dale Pernula said.

Most of the discussion focused on the new dock at the rock dump, which would be west of the existing Taku Oil dock. Once disembarked, cruise ship passengers either would board a shuttle bus headed to the Mount Roberts Tramway parking lot, or board a tour bus.

Developers expect few people to walk the mile from the dock to the nearest shops downtown, said Chris Gianotti of Peratrovich, Nottingham and Drage, the firm handling permitting for the developers.

Similar cruise ship shuttles have worked successfully in places such as Valdez, he said. A traffic study commissioned by the developers did not estimate how many people might walk back and forth to the ship, but it expected pedestrian traffic would be light. At peak, 130 people walk to and from the Franklin Dock in a 15-minute interval, the study said.

Tim Maguire, a city planner, advocated for a sea walk, or separate pedestrian walkway, to be built from the dock to downtown. City and state officials are concerned cruise ship passengers will walk through the industrial area, he said.

Bob Jacobsen, a family member with the Jacobsen Trust, said extending a sea walk through or close to the tank farms at the rock dump would put cruise ship passengers near hazardous substances.

In addition to the city permit, the Jacobsen Trust's plan will need to be certified for consistency with the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program. It also will need a state tidelands lease from the Department of Natural Resources.



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