The Ketchikan City Council voted unanimously Thursday in favor of a plan to improve pedestrian safety at three crosswalks.
City staff, working with Alaska Department of Transportation officials, identified the three crosswalks that most needed improvements. They are the crossing from the shipyard to A&P, a crosswalk on Tongass Avenue near the hospital, and the Deermount-Stedman crosswalk, where a man was struck and killed in December.
Improvements will include flashing crosswalk signs, electronic speed-warning signs, a reduced speed limit on Stedman near Deermount, and improved lighting. There’s also a proposal to move the crosswalk near the hospital.
The overall plan will cost the city about $110,000.
During public comment, Bob Weinstein praised the city’s plan. He says it’s a sensible and affordable proposal. He added that DOT can help with additional improvements, and state officials seemed willing to work with the city during a public meeting on Jan. 10.
“I think you have a window of opportunity to work cooperatively with DOT to get their approval for the city to make pedestrian safety enhancement improvements,” he said. “Jump through it while it’s still there.”
The state has to sign off on any improvements that the city wants to make because the road is a state highway.
Kevin Kristovich also spoke to the council, and says distracted driving is a growing problem. He says the state and city should work toward making it illegal to use a phone while driving.
Eric Wallin told the council that there are several crosswalks on Schoenbar Road that are not well marked or well lit. Mayor Lew Williams III told him that the city will look into it.