Anchorage neighbors applaud recommended location for bus barn
People who live in the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood and surrounding area have pushed back on one proposed site for a bus barn.
The facility is being moved to make way for a retail development project near Tudor and Elmore that will include a grocery store, medical offices, apartments and a municipal Department of Health and Human Services facility. The bus barn currently serves all East Anchorage middle and elementary schools, as well as East and Bartlett High schools.
The Municipality of Anchorage has looked at an area near Benny Benson Secondary School off Tudor Road, near the botanical gardens off Campbell Airstrip Road. The municipality lists the area as site 18.
Neighbors of Stuckagain Heights say bus traffic from the barn would travel right next to fire station 14. They worry buses will clog up the road for emergency vehicles and the response times with Campbell Airstrip Road being the only road in and out of Stuckagain Heights.
"Imagine being the gentleman driving the fire engine having to weave your way through 120 buses to get to an emergency," said Karen Hansen who lives in Stuckagain Heights.
"After watching the fires in California you realize that a fire up here could spread so quickly and we have only one way in and out of this community. So it's a real concern for us," said Stuckagain resident Loran Baxter.
This week Chris Schutte, director of Anchorage's Department of Economic and Community Development, provided an update on the proposed location of the bus barn.
"The recommendation is for site 27," he said.
Site 27 is next to the Anchorage Police Department's headquarters at Elmore and Tudor, near the current bus barn. The proposed site has three access roads and Schutte says it's an area that is more industrial than the site on Campbell Airstrip Road. Schutte has heard from several neighbors in the Stuckagain Heights area who've had traffic concerns, specifically from people who attended a community meeting in September on the issue.
"And it was very clear that there were a lot of concerns about site 18 as it relates to the traffic in particular. And those are certainly very valid," said Schutte.
Many in Stuckagain Heights were in favor of site 27 and are pleased to hear that is the area being recommended to the planning and zoning commission.
"We're excited to hear that," said Stuckagain Heights neighbor Margaret Nelson.
The municipality also considered site number 22; another controversial location for the bus barn off Muldoon near the Totem Theater. Schutte says that location is no longer being considered for the bus barn.
Planning and zoning will hear the issue on Dec. 10. Schutte invites to the public to attend.
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