By Mike Clemens
The Nov. 30 Empire article about cruise ship impression contained a whole lot of helpful background, however failed to emphasise a serious level, which I think about a flawed method. Individuals surveyed have been requested in late 2021 about their opinions of the 2019 season. With the 2020 season canceled, and considerably fewer cruise ships with restricted passengers within the shortened 2021 season, how good are individuals’s recollections about issues? It certain appears higher to ask individuals what they bear in mind proper after the top of a season that’s simply been accomplished and that’s our obvious future.
As somebody chosen for the cellphone survey, I needed to assume again two years, however did my finest to reply their questions. Nonetheless, I think about these survey outcomes marginally helpful to coverage makers, not likely legitimate. The one actual worth from the 2021 survey was citizen touch upon the upcoming improvement of one other cruise ship dock. Property tax income must be substantial given the reported gross sales worth of the distinctive parcel and a brand new emphasis on business values.
What’s additionally necessary is that now town will conduct an annual survey, not simply periodically. Nonetheless, survey questions want severe redesign to raised assess total neighborhood impression.
Juneau is full of a whole lot of knowledgeable, engaged residents who could be prepared to counsel questions for inclusion within the 2022 survey, if requested. The 2021 survey of the 2019 season can’t severely be thought-about baseline content material for evaluation due to its two-year delay. When the 2022 fall survey of the 2022 season is accomplished, outcomes are more likely to be rather more dependable.
Now that town supervisor may have a full-time workers assistant for cruise ship tourism, perhaps the general public will get some analysis accomplished moderately than simply have a survey of native emotions. Why not attempt to collect goal details? Possibly town will seek the advice of with state visitors analysts to see the outcomes of their knowledge about how a lot visitors will increase throughout a standard cruise ship season.
Possibly all the extra large buses, mid-sized buses and rental vehicles on the highway through the Could via October cruise ship season enhance journey time from downtown places of work to the Mendenhall Valley the place many workers dwell. Possibly it will likely be potential to measure transit time when floating cities are on the town in comparison with low season commutes. If cruise ships trigger every automotive to spend 5 extra minutes in visitors every day throughout rush hour, is that an issue? Juneau’s visitors choices are restricted, however perhaps the brand new roundabouts on the Loop Highway will cut back congestion.
Whereas COVID protocols allowed many workers to earn a living from home, my hunch is that those that nonetheless needed to commute day by day to locations downtown, like state and metropolis places of work, benefited from not having as a lot visitors on the highway throughout rush hour when the summer season climate was good.
In my youth, journey on busy Decrease 48 freeways meant a whole lot of visitors. Vehicles, particularly 18- wheelers, and double, even triple trailers gave the impression to be in all places, however a couple of of them had a message on the again. The indicators stated one thing like: “This car pays $1,800 in taxes every year.” I don’t know what tour buses pay to drive on native roads, (ought to they pay extra?), however I do know that tour buses need to pay one thing to the U.S. Forest Service to park out on the Mendenhall Glacier for excursions. Out-of-state buses don’t get to park at no cost.
It is going to be fascinating to see how town supervisor and Meeting makes use of its new worker to enhance issues and whether or not native residents will be capable to ask related questions on a controversial space that has elicited quite a few editorial assaults on anybody who even raised points about cruise ship tourism. Stifling knowledgeable dialogue appears to be the brand new regular.
Lastly, I’ve not but seen a complete evaluation of each prices and advantages of the native tourism business, so perhaps it’s time to enhance upon previous efforts and get as many details as potential out within the open for public consideration and evaluation. Juneau’s place as a world-class vacation spot is past query and its native authorities shouldn’t promote out use of its infrastructure on a budget.
• Mike Clemens is a former statewide finances analyst. He resides in Juneau. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor signify the view of the creator, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have one thing to say? Right here’s how you can submit a My Flip or letter.