Ship Creek to get new plaza, wheelchair access

Nathaniel Herz
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News An angler works the outgoing tide from the muddy banks of Ship Creek while fishing for king salmon on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. The Slam'n Salm'n Derby, an annual fundraiser for the Downtown Soup Kitchen, begins on Friday, June 7, and runs through Sunday, June 16. Bill Roth

The city has released its latest plans to improve "Kings Landing," the mucky, industrial area at the mouth of Ship Creek used by fishermen and sightseers.

The project, which leverages $1 million from the federal government and more than $200,000 from the state, is intended to enhance safety and access to the creek, which sees annual runs of stocked king and silver salmon.

Improvements will include a paved pedestrian plaza, a bathroom, a platform that can be used by fishermen in wheelchairs, and a children's fishing area, where the riverbank will slope more gently down to the water.

The new plans were released at an open house last week at the nearby Alaska Railroad Depot, where visitors were invited to submit comments and feedback on what the city dubbed a "65 percent design."

Officials said that they had already incorporated suggestions from local truckers into the plans. Drivers had been concerned that the improvements would increase foot traffic along Whitney Road, which runs along the north side of the creek to the Port of Anchorage, so the city agreed to add a taller guardrail to keep pedestrians off the street.

"They responded very well," said Aves Thompson, the executive director of the Alaska Trucking Association. "If they have to do it, we can live with what they've proposed."

Kings Landing is just blocks from downtown Anchorage and is heavily trafficked. The improvements there stem from concerns about vegetation loss, erosion and water quality.

Construction will take place in two phases, one later this summer and a second next summer.

The city is also in the middle of a larger project to update the area's land use plan. An initial scheme will be released at a presentation from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 10 at the Anchorage Museum auditorium at 625 C St.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at