DATE: March 7, 2001

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Tim Maguire, Principal Planner
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: CSP2001-00004

PROPOSAL: A review of a City Project to reconstruct Gastineau Avenue from 2nd Street to Ewing Way including water, sewer, storm drain, sidewalks, retaining walls, and stairways.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: CBJ Engineering CIP

Property Owner: Public right-of-way

Property Address: Gastineau Ave. - 2nd St. to Ewing Way, Juneau, AK 99801

Legal Description: Gastineau Avenue right-of-way

Parcel Code No.: Gastineau Avenue right-of-way

Site Size: 1/3 Mile

Zoning: MU, Mixed Use, D-10 Multi-family Residential

Utilities: Public water and combined storm drainage and sewer.

Access: First & Second Street

Existing Land Use: Roadway and Utilities

Surrounding Land Use: Various single and multifamily residential use, parking.

BACKGROUND

Gastineau Avenue originally served as a pedestrian access route for workers at the former Alaska Juneau Gold Mine (A-J Mine). The existing roadway was constructed in the 1930's. Besides spot repairs and minor improvements, the street section remains relatively unchanged since the original construction.

The proposed project includes the reconstruction of about 1,800 feet of Gastineau Avenue - extending from the intersection with Second Street southward to the former A-J Mine mill site. The northern portion of the project is paved and includes a single paved traffic lane and a parking lane with discontinuous walkways and sidewalks at various locations along each side. The existing asphalt pavement is in poor condition with frequent cracks and ruts. The southern portion of the project is unpaved with no defined pedestrian ways. Although wider, two-way traffic on this section is still marginal.

The proposed Gastineau Avenue improvement design includes the following:

Public Involvement

This project has had extensive public involvement prior to this Planing Commission meeting. In January of 2000 a neighborhood meeting was held to discuss the conceptual design for improving Gastineau Avenue. Comments were gathered on what features should be including in the plans for improving Gastineau Avenue. (See Attachments)

Another public meeting was held in April 2000 where alternative designs were discussed. Two major options were considered. The first option was called the "Cadillac" version and was a major upgrade to the existing facility including widening of the roadway, sidewalks on both sides of the street, repair of and addition of new retaining walls, full turn around etc. The estimated cost for Option 1 was 7.4 million dollars. This was well over any projected funding for the project and was not being recommended by staff. Option 2 was, in the most part, a proposal to repair or replace the existing facilities without major additions. Some upgrades were included such as reconstruction of the existing storm drainage/ sewer lines with new and totally separate utility systems. The estimated cost for Option 2 was 5.5 million, still, well over the funding available at the time

Following that meeting variations of the Option 2 were developed and considered. Additional funding sources were also sought. A modified version of Option 2 was settled upon and approved by the Public Works and Facilities Committee. Some additional improvements were added back into the project. In January of 2001 another public meeting was held to review the proposed project with 80% of the design completed.

In addition, project updates were also furnished throughout the project development. Public notice, including a mail out, was provided for this Planning Commission meeting.

ANALYSIS

These improvements to Gastineau Avenue are listed as high priority in the Juneau Capital Improvement Program: Fiscal Years 2001 through 2006. Generally, this project is a reconstruction of the existing roadway without major changes or additions to the road alignment and facilities. The reconstruction is to address the deterioration of the existing facilities with some upgrades made where possible. Full upgrade of the roadway was contemplated but was not considered feasible due to the tremendously high cost of construction in this part of Downtown. These improvements are greatly needed and some important upgrades such as sidewalk extension and drainage facilities will increase the heath, safety and welfare of the residents in this neighborhood.

The following are some issues or comments concerning some specific features of the project:

Utilities – a complete reconstruction of all utilities including sewer, water, and storm drainage is proposed due to their age. Currently sewer and storm drainage are handled by the same collection system. This project will continue the ongoing plan for the separation these utilities in the downtown area. Storm drainage improvements will include the collection of runoff from individual properties thereby reducing glaciering and protecting the stability of the roadway.

Pedestrian Improvements - The preferred construction option originally proposed reconstruction of existing sidewalk only. This sidewalk is located on the downhill side of Gastineau from 2nd Street to Rawn Way. The need for sidewalk improvements along Gastineau Avenue was expressed by most residents in the neighborhood. As the project has evolved sidewalk improvements have been added in. A major revision is the addition of asphalt sidewalk on the uphill side of the roadway that will extend from the terminus of the elevated sidewalk to the Bulger Way area. In addition, consideration is being given to extending the existing sidewalk on the lower roadway from Rawn Way to Decker Way, if funding becomes available. These additions will be a major safety improvement for pedestrian use of this right of way.

In addition, the stairways within the First Street, Rawn Way, Decker Way and Ewing Way rights of way will be reconstructed.

Access - Access to the properties in the project area during construction was a concern raised, and is addressed in this proposal. As noted on the plans, due the extent of reconstruction, the roadway will require closure for 5 full days. In addition, the roadway will be closed during working hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at various times during the length of the project.

Restriction on access will be mitigated in a number of ways. Pedestrian access will always be maintained to properties. The CBJ will also make supplemental parking areas available to property owners, such as the Municipal Parking Garage. A temporary access easement has been obtained across private property, south of town, to provide a secondary route to Gastineau Avenue. This route is for emergency and construction purposes only.

Parking – the existing on street parking conditions on Gastineau Avenue will not be altered by these proposed improvements. As noted above, supplemental parking will be provided to residents in the neighborhood during length of the project.

Retaining walls – all existing retaining wall will be replaced or repaired. Since no major widening of the roadway is planned no new walls are being constructed. Reconstruction of the walls will be either of two styles, a steel column wall with concrete slab inserts or block walls ( See typical sections on sheet C2 and Attachment B). 

Procedure

Section 49.10.170 of the CBJ Land Use Ordinance states that the Commission shall report and recommend to the Assembly on development projects of the CBJ. The report and recommendation shall be based upon the provisions of Title 49, the comprehensive plan, and the capital improvement program.

Title 49 – The proposed project was reviewed for conformance with the Land Use Ordinance (Title 49). The project is allowed and is consistent with other provisions of Title 49

Comprehensive Plan –The proposed project is consistent with Policy 4.2 of the Comprehensive Plan regarding the promotion of a safe and convenient transportation system.

Capital Improvement Program – The proposed project is identified in the Juneau Capital Improvement Program: Fiscal Years 2001 through 2006. The project is a high priority for Public Works and has been approved for funding in FY2001

JCMP REVIEW

A review of the JCMP revealed that no enforceable policies apply to this project.

FINDINGS

1. Does the proposed development comply with the provisions of Title 49, the CBJ Land Use Ordinance?

  • Yes. The proposed project was reviewed for conformance with the Land Use Ordinance (Title 49). The project is consistent with Title 49.
  • 2. Is the proposed development consistent with the Juneau Comprehensive Plan?

  • Yes. The proposed project is consistent with Policies 4.2 and of the Comprehensive Plan.
  • 3. Is the proposed development identified in the Juneau Capital Improvement Program?

  • Yes. The proposed project is identified in the CIP FY2001-2006, and is a high priority of the Public Works Division, and has been approved for funding in FY2001.

    4. Will the proposed development comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program?

    Not Applicable. Based on a review of the enforceable policies of the JCMP, it is found that no provisions apply to the proposed development.

  • RECOMMENDATION

    It is recommended that the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and approve the City Project Review to reconstruct Gastineau Avenue from 2nd Street to Ewing Way including water, sewer, storm drain, sidewalks, retaining walls, and stairways.

    The approval is subject to the following condition:

  • 1. That maintenance of the temporary access road be assured so that passage of emergency vehicles is protected.