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Bypass the Bypass
by Dave Timmerman


January 11, 2005

Yes, I live on 3rd Ave. And yes I use the new bypass. It's a rather scenic drive, and I actually think it will come in handy once we have twelve cruise ship docks downtown. But I do have a few quick comments to get out on this one. Why did it take this long for the city to realize there was going to be a traffic problem in the surrounding areas? I would think that for the tens of millions of dollars spent on the new road there would have been an extensive traffic flow/impact study on the connected streets. I guess the people that live up here on 3rd Ave. were the only ones that thought the road was going to be used. Whatever the case - there is now heavy traffic on not only 3rd Ave., but also all the connected streets. We now have traffic backed up 4 and 5 vehicles on either side of Jefferson.

But wait there is a solution!

Let's take out a few stop signs! This will help people drive their vehicles out of the area quicker. Then maybe there won't be any traffic. And if we knock down a few things (Hey! Where did those fences come from? They weren t there when we built this were they?) we will all be able to see a lot better.

Ok. Enough sarcasm. I guess I just don't see the logic. You take out a stop sign or two and people will drive faster than 25 mph on 3rd Ave. It is already a dangerous enough road as it is. I live right in the thick of it between Jefferson and Adams (one of the proposed stop signs to be removed). The only thing that prevents people from going much over 25 mph now is the short distances between the stop signs. You take out a sign and people will go faster.

There was an entertaining give and take a while ago here on Sitnews about speed in Ketchikan. One writer even went so far as to calculate speed relative to distance traveled. He proposed that the distances we travel in Ketchikan are so short, that speeding will only gain you a second here or there.

I propose that up here on 3rd Ave. if you give people a longer straight-away they will try to gain those seconds by pushing their speeds up to 30 or 35 mph. This line of thought prompted me to do a little checking around my block. Between Jefferson and Adams there are 13 children under the age of 18. The majority of them walk to and from school everyday. You take a sign out, and those kids have a greater chance of being run over by the cars that are going a little bit faster. Those seconds gained are not significant, but I'll bet the stopping distance for a vehicle that is going 30-35 mph is much greater than a vehicle going 25 mph.

Sorry I did not take the time to calculate or look up the relevant numbers on this, but anyone who has driven or read the driver's manual should get my point.

And for those of you that think 3rd Ave. is not fast enough as it is, I invite you to park in front of my house and exit your vehicle between the hours of 2 PM and 9 PM. It can be rather invigorating.

Don't think that I would write such a long-winded note without bringing my own solutions to the table. Ohhhh no.

We could hire crossing guards to man (or woman) all the surrounding intersections.

Or even better

We could build a new bypass. We could put it up above 6th Ave. It would create jobs! It would boost the town's confidence! It would help with traffic, and what a view it would be!

Oh wait. Sorry - we already did that.

Dave Timmerman
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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