Constituent meeting draws small but vocal crowd

Speed bumps and park improvements dominated the conversation during a constituent meeting with Mountain View’s state representative Tuesday night.

Less than a dozen residents attended the meeting, which was hosted by District 19 Rep. Geran Tarr at Tyson Elementary School. Those who came had plenty to talk about.

Before the meeting even began, Fred Owens stood outside the school’s locked doors and held a printed map highlighting Mountain View’s neighborhood bus route. He doesn’t like it. If Route 45 drove the length of Thomson Avenue as opposed to running up North Bragaw Street and down Parsons Avenue, Owens said, the municipality could relocate the troublesome bus stop directly across the street from Clark Middle School.

The bus stop is subject to frequent complaints about drunk and unruly behavior. Owens said moving it away from the school could go a long way toward improving neighborhood safety.

When the meeting officially kicked off around 6:30 p.m. the public safety suggestions kept rolling in.

Mai Xiong, representing the Hmong Alaska Community, Inc., told Tarr that speeding drivers along North Pine Street and McPhee Avenue are a persistent hazard. While the Mountain View Community Council passed a resolution asking the municipality to consider safety improvement along McPhee, those improvements have yet to appear.

Peggy Webb, who lives along North Pine, said the wood bollards lining the west edge of Davis Park are sorely in need of repair. Many are broken or surrounded by brush, and Webb said sprucing up the park’s border could encourage more people to use it.

“There are a couple of entry points, but they’re kind of grown over,” she said. “It’s like we’re not really inviting anybody to come off Pine Street to go into the park anymore.”

For that dilemma, Tarr suggested applying for a Challenge Grant from the Anchorage Park Foundation. The grants match local volunteer work with funding, and Tarr said it could be a way for neighbors to tackle the park problem together.

But the final word at Tuesday’s constituent meeting came from Sol Gerstenfeld, a longtime Mountain View resident who rolled into the meeting in a wheelchair pushed by Tarr’s chief of staff.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” Gerstenfeld said. “It requires participation.”

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