Ketchikan hopes to improve safety for pedestrians

    Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY) Concern about crosswalks and the recent death of a 68 year old man struck by a car, highlighted the agenda when the Ketchikan City Council met on January 18.

    Former Mayor Bob Weinstein urged the council to work with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to make improvements.

    "They (The Alaska DOT) consider crash data only, crashes that result in injury, not cross walks where there are a lot of near misses.  We can all think of our own near misses with people in certain crosswalks," he said.

    The DOT did agree to lower speed limits on Stedman Street.  A 68 year old man was struck and killed on Stedman in December.

    Ketchikan police have been working traffic enforcement to try and cut down on speeding.  Resident Kevin Cristovich said he has noticed the extra effort and urged the council to support enforceable laws against distracted driving.  "When your 16 and you have your driver's license you are not exactly a good driver.  Texting and not paying attention makes things worse."

    Resident Eric Wallen said he has nearly been struck three times while crossing in a crosswalk.

    The council voted to approve a budget amendment that allocates $110,000 to improve three crosswalks on Tongass Avenue.  Public Works Director Mark Hillson said it should make things safer, "Essentially what it entails is push button crossing signs.  When you approach the cross walk, you push a button and the sign lights up to draw the motorists attention that someone is attempting to cross in the cross walk."

    In other items, Dragon London of the Ketchikan Historic Commission said Ketchikan has the most historic buildings of any community in Alaska.  She said one of the priorities of the group this year is to improve signage.






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