Traffic concerns on Berner’s Avenue

A large professional office complex on Glacier Highway will soon be able to apply to the city for a second access route.

The Assembly Monday night approved an ordinance to amend the CBJ zoning map, allowing Professional Plaza in the 9300 hundred block to ask the Planning Commission for access from Berner’s Avenue.

Area residents say there’s enough traffic on their street.

Berner’s Avenue is an entrance to a large subdivision, it’s the truck route for the CBJ Water Treatment Plant, and the road to the popular Airport Dike Trail.

Resident Nathan Young told the Assembly the avenue doesn’t need any more traffic.

“It experiences volume way above and beyond a normal residential street,” Young said.

Berner’s Avenue is being rebuilt this summer. City Engineering Director Rorie Watt said engineers made some changes based on neighbors’ concerns before the project began, including narrowing lanes from 12 to 10 feet.

“So we think that the sidewalks protect pedestrians. And the stop (sign) and narrowing of the lanes I think substantially discourages cut through traffic,” he said.

Watt said Professional Plaza complex is large enough to warrant a second access, which would promote safety and public convenience. Neighborhood resident Janet Thrower wondered for whom?

“If Professional Plaza is convenienced a couple of times a day when there’s heavy traffic with not having to wait for left turns to Glacier Highway, our neighborhood is inconvenienced by a steady stream of commercial traffic all day long. Is Professional Plaza safer with commercial traffic routed through a residential neighborhood, even if that neighborhood has new streets and sidewalks? The neighborhood certainly is not safer,” she said.

A 1985 ordinance restricted Professional Plaza access to Glacier Highway. The Assembly’s zone change action repeals that. Residents have one more opportunity to take their worries to the Planning Commission, when Professional Plaza owners request a permit for the second access.

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