By DAN FOX
The Municipality of Skagway, assisted by a traffic specialist from the National Park Service, is once more examining traffic and pedestrian flow during the summer season.
Linda MacIntyre, project manager with the National Park Service’s Denver Service Center Transportation Division, spent last week in Skagway making observations, talking to tourists on the street and walking the traffic corridors of downtown Skagway.
Reform on traffic and parking is an issue the Borough Assembly has been working on since the start of the year. In the winter and spring, the assembly and Public Safety Committee held over ten meetings regarding parking and bus traffic flow in the downtown corridor, which resulted in bus traffic being redirected and revised parking zones in the Historic District.
“This is not a Park Service initiative, this is simply a program that we were able to tap into and provide the technical resources for the city, and this is a city planning effort, we’re just assisting with having Linda here because that is her expertise,” Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Interim Superintendent Albert Faria explained.
MacIntyre said she’d also visited Skagway in mid-July to see the vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the peak of the season.
“I came out here to look at transportation issues, I was able to see the three and four cruise ship days, watch people moving through town – pedestrians, cyclists, tour buses – and how it all worked together and see what issues were going on, and what solutions might be out there that have been tested in other places that would be appropriate for Skagway,” MacIntyre said.
On Wednesday, Sept. 19, MacIntyre led a public meeting over some of the data she’d already gathered, and solicited ideas from the citizens that attended. Some of the suggestions were small changes, like more wayfinding signs so people could find their ships easier and color-coded lines drawn from each dock, again to help passengers locate their ships with ease.
Some of the more extensive suggestions regarding pedestrian safety and traffic flow included ones to close Broadway to vehicle traffic completely, or make it one way only, though both those were met with pushback from some other attendees. Assembly Member Tim Cochran mentioned the benefit to Klondike Highway traffic if the border would be open earlier on both the U.S. and Canada sides for industrial traffic, and other ideas like painted pedestrian crosswalks outside the Historic District were also put forward.
MacIntyre said her report should be released sometime in October.
“I’m going to get it back to you guys as soon as I can,” MacIntyre said, adding that it should be a relatively easy length to read. “It’s not going to be ‘War and Peace,’ that doesn’t help anybody.”