SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Downtown Suggestions
By Jackie Williams


January 16, 2008

Dear Editor,

My suggestions and opinion regarding Ketchikan's downtown area are:

Short term:

Keep it clean. Whale Park needs attention; it would be nice to see the stores from Mill St. Encourage the painting of buildings, power washing brick and other buildings.

Ban smoking on the sidewalks and in doorways to eliminate secondhand smoke wafting up the nostrils of non-smokers and into the stores.

KPAW is a great contribution to our community, having murals painted in the alleys gets my vote as a project. I would like to see our rustic past, social culture and heritage painted there; scenes like the pioneer café with familiar faces. Bar scenes with fishermen, loggers and ladies in Extra Tuffs. The Coliseum Theater has a large canvas facing Dock St., paint the Fish Pirates Daughter there, of course with Jack Shea! We were once a bit of a bawdy crowd and that can be depicted without being crude.

Freshly paint curbs to denote usage. Review loading spaces; in particular, Main St., on one side of the street is a building with a very low, thick, dark canopy. The stores there are not visible with cars parked in front. Move the loading space to that side of the street to allow visibility of those shops, loading space would be just as easy to use there. Regulate canopy height, width, color and style to make it easier to see and install signs.

To improve traffic flow and safety; a thorough review by the planning and regulatory bodies is needed. In my opinion, the horse trolleys are a serious safety hazard. Have the shuttles stop at as many places as possible and run a circuit(s) that will encourage visitor traffic on more streets. I envision electric shuttle vehicles, enclosed but similar to golf or airport shuttles with more seating of course. Increse rope barriers, they are needed on the curve by the Federal Building, crossing guards at more crosswalks to better funnel pedestrian traffic. Having crossing guards is great and might be used as a way to earn community service hours.

Put the benches back at the Library bus stop.

Long Term:

Move the homeless shelter out of the downtown area; the Library seems to be the daytime homeless shelter. Offer a free Ferry ticket, at least during the winter months, to the lower 48 for those registered at the shelter or through the Salvation Army.

Does our government(s) own the land beside the Discovery Center? That site would be great for a five-story parking garage, library and museum with a Goose! If the Goose is marketed well, being visible from outside of the museum, it just might lay a Golden Egg by increasing visitors paying a moderate museum fee. The library can have a computer area for the public with a moderate fee, or donation. Locals could use it free by showing an ID. Build the government offices and their parking on Grant St. (the designated future Library site).

Turning the downtown streets into a pedestrian mall can be realized when the parking/library/museum complex is built, also making a great place for the 4th of July, Blueberry and Christmas Festivals . Make Grant St. two-way for access to Park St. and Bawden St. Leave Tongass open with three lanes; one for the shuttle and the two-way lanes. The Shuttle can be year round to shuttle us to the downtown places we want to go; parking fees can contribute to the costs.


Jackie Williams
Ketchikan, AK

Received January 15, 2008 - Published January 16, 2008



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