The cruise season is upon us. Proof of that is two items in front of the Ketchikan City Council Thursday. The Council will discuss cruise berth assignments and a request to redistribute crossing guards.
The suggested reassignment of cruise berths is a response to a recent announcement by Carnival Cruise Lines that the Miracle needs maintenance work and has cancelled 15 scheduled port calls.
In a memo to the Council, Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon writes that reassigning where ships dock on the days that the Miracle would have been here is an attempt to maintain an even distribution along Ketchikan’s downtown dock.
Competition for cruise passenger business is fierce, and shop owners pay close attention to how many of those tourists are parked close by, versus a few blocks away.
Another annual concern is where to place crossing guards to maintain safety for the thousands of cruise passengers that swarm downtown Ketchikan nearly every summer day. During its last meeting, the Council heard from the owner of a shop on Water Street, which next to the downtown dock but has no crossing guards. The shop owner was concerned for the safety of cruise passengers trying to cross the street from the dock to the stores.
Corporon wrote in another memo that it would cost about $10,000 for each additional crossing guard that the Council might want to add to the program. He also noted that port personnel monitor all the downtown crosswalks during summer, and while there are occasional “issues” on Water Street, the pedestrian volume there has not risen to the point of needing a crossing guard.
In addition, Corporon wrote that the Water Street crosswalks are configured in a way that make it safer for pedestrians than crosswalks in areas downtown where crossing guards have traditionally been stationed.
The Council also will discuss a couple of expensive projects. City Council members will vote on a motion to authorize up to $43 million in bonds for the Ketchikan Medical Center renovation project, and another motion authorizing up to $3 million in bonds for harbor improvements. Both bond packages were previously approved by city voters.
The Ketchikan City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.