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A Second Proposal
By Patrick Jirschele


December 04, 2005

 To make the trip to the Ketchikan Airport more comfortable for pedestrians in inclement weather.
The Rant
 The Gravina Bridge was supposed to enhance access to the airport and make it easier to develop property. National ridicule of the project has forced Congress to remove earmarked bridge monies. This money has been left in the general transportation bill. It is not likely that the powerful Anchorage area districts will appropriate $300 to $350 million for our bridge. We need to be realistic and capture part of the money meant for the bridge to build alternatives to do what the bridge was meant to do. The attitude of "bridge or nothing" will leave the community with nothing.
The trip to the Ketchikan Airport has long been a miserable experience during inclement weather. The available shelter on the City side is open to the southeast, which is where the bad weather comes from. At times, the driest spot when waiting for the ferry is behind the shelter.
Dragging luggage down the ramp and then up the other side is also a detriment to walk-on customers.
The Solution
On the City side, a building should be constructed to the right of the existing ramp encompassing the existing shelter and generator building. It should extend over the parking lot far enough to cover the Borough bus plus four or five passenger cars and cabs. The existing covered walkway on the ramp should be extended to the building. This should be constructed in such a way that a passenger can get out of a car or bus, enter the building and get to and go down the ramp without getting wet in the worst weather.
The building should be heated, have restrooms, and baggage check-in and ferry ticketing would be available.
On the airport side, a cover of adequate clearance should be constructed from the covered walkway to the airport building. This would provide a dry walkway for pedestrians and a dry drop-off for passengers.
The Conclusion
 If you like this proposal and would like to see it or something similar  implemented, contact the Borough Assembly Members, the City Council Members, Bert Steadman, Jim Elkins and Governor Murkowski. Time is short to get it into the State Transportation Bill. I have been told (second or third hand) that proposals have to be submitted by the ninth of December. If it is true, act now. It doesn't need to be all or nothing.

Patrick Jirschele
Pennock Island, Alaska - USA


Note: As a member of the USCG Pat Jirschele was transferred to Ketchikan in the summer of 1980 and never left. Now retired from the IBEW, he is building a home on Pennock Island.



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