The first Vision Fairbanks revitalization measure underway is to improve downtown infrastructure. Without the right infrastructure, a gold mine isn’t viable. Downtown needs the right infrastructure, too. Two-way traffic, wider sidewalks, and on-street parking ease commerce by increasing convenient parking, making pedestrians feel safer behind a buffer of parked cars on a wider sidewalk that retailers will be glad to have fronting their business!
The expectation has been to revise Cushman and Barnette streets to two-way traffic. However, the local road planning authority FMATS decided to span the Chena River with one-way bridges on these streets. City engineers, whose job it is to build two-way traffic into the one-way bridges,
are seeking a second opinion from consultants about whether – and how well – this traffic revision will work to revitalize the downtown.
Specifically, the City asks in its statement of work “As we proceed with converting Cushman and Barnette to two-way traffic, will Cushman Street operate as the “signature street” and Barnette Street operate as the “mobility street” to the level required to stimulate economic development as proposed in the Vision Fairbanks Plan?”
Crandall Arambula, the consultants who helped Fairbanks develop its 20-year revitalization plan Vision Fairbanks, will work alongside the firm the City chooses to provide that second opinion. Results of the re-evaluation are expected early next year.