Saturday, June 14, 2008

Begich and Menard agree to create transit authority

For a while the Alaska Railroad has been saying they have been improving the tracks between the valley and Anchorage and that all that is needed is a regional transit authority to take it from there. Well, as of Friday, we got one in the works. Yesterday the mayors of both areas of South Central signed an agreement creating a transit authority with the hopes that commuter rail will become a possibility as soon as perhaps two or even 1 year (at least Begich seems more optimistic about it happening sooner). What does this mean for valley commuters? The answer is obvious. With gas prices according to one source only expected to fall back to 3.92 a gallon into 2009, the long waiting list for the MASCOT valley service into Anchorage will probably see major relief once the rail comes online. Great, great news fo sure.

Full story

In sorta related news, new assembly members with seats at AMATS are skeptical about KABATA's legitimacy on undertaking the Knik Arm Bridge project. No surprise. With the organization losing George Wuerch and its deputy director while also coming under criticism from Palin in terms of its budget handling, we could see a dead fish in the water.

Full story

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Downtown development open house this Friday

Well this Friday, June 13th will be the second annual sort of "open house" by Destination Downtown at Peratrovich Park at 4th and E from 5:30 to 7:30. Like last year, this years event will have reps of projects around downtown available for one on one questions and comments as well as renderings, charts, and all that other stuff that comes with the PR. I headed down to last years event and I gotta say, it was really great to see this proactive effort on the part of the city to inform the public on the going on's in this town. Now last years event had booths dedicated to the new convention center, parking garage, and museum along with some minor private residential projects. This year, I can't say there's a lot new going on. Hopefully I'll be surprised by some new private projects that I was somehow unaware of -- but knowing myself, if there's a project out there, I'm probably aware of it by now.

On a side note, I recently noticed that the city's 'Destination Downtown' website is now listing the Augustine Energy Center as one of the numerous projects in downtown. So the project is still on eh? Groundbreaking for the tower was supposed to be this spring. We'll see if a team repping the tower will be at Fridays event. Ditto for the newly proposed Crystal Plaza (though it may be too early). btw I'm also looking forward to playing in the worlds largest sandbox, as the Destination Downtown flier in todays ADN mentions.

Update - Well just as I had feared, there looks to be nothing major except for plans to plant trees and add bike racks. Other than that, no new developments. Reps for the Augustine tower did have a presence yesterday as our only private development this year, but other than that, nothing else new. Also no "worlds largest sandbox" which the ads on the newspapers were hyping. Lame.