Planning Month: Sidewalk connectivity and safety
Whether dog walking early in the morning or walking home from a late night in downtown, pedestrian infrastructure helps keep everyone safe. For infrastructure projects to benefit the public, the planning process must involve the public.
In 2012, CBJ adopted the Juneau Safe Routes to Schools Plan, which heavily relied on public input. Staff invited community members to describe their experiences with children going to and from school. During these conversations, residents local to Sayéik Gastineau Elementary urged for safety to be improved. They explained that many kids must walk, despite frequent encounters with variable traffic at inevitable street crossings. Given shared safety concerns and consideration for broader pedestrian connectivity, the Plan recommends adding a sidewalk along Douglas Highway from Lawson Creek to the school, and installing crossing improvements, such as signage to require slower traffic speed.
These recommendations informed the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, who led the project in 2016 to install approximately 907 feet of new sidewalk on the uphill side of Douglas Highway from Crow Hill Road to the end of the existing sidewalk at Sayéik Gastineau Elementary. School zone signage was upgraded to meet Alaska Traffic Manual standards, and cross walk ramps at the intersection of 3rd Street and I Street were upgraded to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act.
When the public participates in the planning process, community needs can be aligned with tangible solutions.