Sixty-two downtowners convened at the annual pre-summer coordination meeting about all things downtown.
HAP Alaska-Yukon reported steady visitation from last year, perhaps 2% growth combining forecasts and sales. That should translate to roughly 7,800 people downtown for lunch between noon and 2:15, depending on the pattern. The HAP Alaska-Yukon shuttle should see about 12,000 riders. The shuttle stops at Fred Meyer, Morris Thompson and the log cabin. The first drop off is 10:30AM and last pickup is 8:30PM.
Premier Alaska Tours reported a 5-10% increase in visitors over last year, an occasion to add eight new coaches to their fleet. Both companies reported that their busiest days of the week will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Neither company foresees conflicts between coach operations and Cushman Street construction.
Explore Fairbanks confirmed flat Fairbanks-bound visitation, with a slight increase over last year. Summer air capacity will increase by 2%. JAL charters have ceased, but expect to see more Chinese tourists and perhaps direct service from China.
Martha turns 17 this summer, so expect a little fanfare. Georjean reminded fellow business people to keep things “fresh, clean and alive.”
The Yukon Quest will have sled dogs and puppies every day from 11-3 PM.
The Downtown Market will move across the Chena to Shoreway Drive in front of Immaculate Conception Church, Monday – Friday, noon – 8 PM.
City Engineer Bill Rogers introduced Cushman Complete Street Project, which starts late May and ends September 30. The reconstructed roadway will accommodate more users of our urban environment and contribute to downtown’s revitalization. To “keep the patient alive” while construction is underway, the city will enforce these minimum requirements on the contractor:
- Maintain one lane of traffic northbound and one sidewalk open to pedestrians at all times.
- Intersections will remain open throughout the project. Any intersection closures will require prior approval by city engineers, be announced 48 hours prior and will occur at times of minimal impact to tourists and businesses.
- Maintain continuous 24/7 access to residences.
- Maintain access to businesses during business hours.
- Contractor will coordinate the Traffic Control Plan with businesses and property owners.
- Facilitate deliveries and garbage collection during non-business hours.
- Minimize traffic disruptions during special public events.
- Dust control is required and all compaction will be static (roller) as opposed to vibratory.
- Signs to your business are available upon request to the city engineer.
- All complaints are first to be directed to the designated Public Information Professional as defined in the contract (which is yet to be awarded). If not satisfied with contractor’s response, then email me AND call the city engineer at 590-3703.
Some best practices for weathering summer road construction are:
- Advertise more, and make sure to mention that you’re downtown.
- Visit your neighbors, do your own “familiarity tour” to support the best possible visit downtown.
- Be nice to the road crews.
Police Chief Randall Aragon announced that downtown will soon be formed into a neighborhood watch area and be assigned a Community Policing Officer, Nate Werner, to give “direct, personalized services from officers who not only patrol an assigned neighborhood but also reduce crime and solve problems within their assigned neighborhood.” Asked if he thought downtown had a crime problem, Chief Aragon said “no”, but this move is in keeping with the city’s philosophy of efficient and effective policing. While we wait for the formal announcement of this policing transition, Officer Werner encouraged downtown businesses to contact him directly at 907-322-7170 and firstname.lastname@example.org with problems or ideas that do not require an immediate response.