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Community Councils Approve of Compromise Parking Plan

by Phillip Manning ~ May 2nd, 2017

After months of discussions and various proposals, the Chase Community Council and Talkeetna Community Council have endorsed a plan for parking infrastructure near Downtown Talkeetna.

At its meeting on Monday night, the Talkeetna Community Council, Incorporated board of directors voted to support a plan presented by former board member Whitney Wolff. Wolff says the proposal, dubbed the “East-West Hybrid” plan, involved input from community and business members who are impacted by congestion and parking issues near downtown. Mike Wood, co-chair of the Chase Community Council, says that organization also supports the plan.

Under the compromise proposal, the current parking lot near the Chase trailhead would be improved, and more parking spots added within the existing space. In addition, the plan asks for the development of a new parking lot east of the railroad tracks near the intersection of F and 2nd Streets. The third section of the proposal requests a street-level pedestrian crossing of the railroad tracks at 2nd Street and utilization of Alaska Railroad lease lots to facilitate a walking path to downtown.

After earlier proposals for expanded parking downtown drew criticism earlier this spring, Mat-Su Borough Community Development Director Eric Phillips said the borough’s plans to negotiate use of railroad property were on hold until a community consensus could be reached.

On Tuesday, the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce board of directors also expressed general support for the plan, but a final vote was not made, pending approval of the language of a letter to be sent to the Mat-Su Borough in support of the parking plan.

Mat-Su Borough Assembly Member Randall Kowalke  says he supports a consensus plan, and plans to prioritize improvement of the existing parking lot, then acquisition of the new lot, then the pedestrian railroad crossing. Further progress on the proposal is dependent on approval by the borough and the Alaska Railroad.

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