A task force composed of residents from Mt View and Russian Jack [Citizens Advisory Committee] led by Mt View resident Claire Noll has been working with the Alaska Dept of Transportation and Public Facilities for some time now, on a myriad of aspects of the intersection redesign, from pedestrian routes, signals, bike lanes, sidewalks — and primarily, the artistic treatments of the bridge and landscape design. With the idea of highlighting the site as a ‘gateway to Anchorage’ and showcasing the neighborhood’s arts and cultural assets and aspirations, among other broad goals.
Much that is positive has been accomplished through this process, but there has been a real stumbling block in the form of high mast lighting. These lights, with 80 ft tall poles and a cluster of lights at the top, accomplish the goal of lighting the highway and pedestrian ways but also spill a lot of light into the adjacent neighborhoods. An April 21 Beth Bragg article in the Anchorage Daily News laid out the controversy nicely. A few days later, ADN published this letter to the editor in response:
It’s not to late to fix problems with the Bragaw interchange
In response to the April 21 article “Bright lights, big Mountain View problem”:
Rick Feller is quoted as saying: “The project’s been bid, the parts have been ordered. It’s water under the bridge.” And the Daily News reported “Rick Feller of the state transportation department said it’s too late to do anything to stop them at the Bragaw interchange.”
This type of complacent attitude from a public servant is unacceptable. I’m currently a project manager and have done this for over 30 years now. I’ve owned and operated a general contracting firm and have yet to see one single project that didn’t have some significant problem. Fact is, projects are loaded with problems that are resolved each day.
For Feller to say this knowing full well that many people will be affected by this problem for the rest of their lives is appalling. So what if it’s designed, bought and currently being installed? Everyone makes mistakes, owners, designers and contractors alike. It’s never too late! Fix it!
It probably won’t be a simple or inexpensive fix, but taking care of the public that pays for such improvements must be the highest priority. If it physically can’t be done that is one thing, but to not want to be bothered because it’s “water under the bridge” is unacceptable. The problem must be corrected.
— Jack McCay
More recently, Mayor Begich weighed in, sending a letter to DOT/PF asking them to not use high mast lights on the project — calling it inconsistent with the city’s evolving ideas about lighting in general, and desire to protect neighborhoods and residents in particular.
I can’t wait to see how this all shakes out!