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One-way bridges will work poorly with the two-way streets needed for downtown’s revitalization, according to Kittelson & Associates, a consultant to the City of Fairbanks.  Sometime very soon, the FMATS Policy Committee will need to decide if they will continue with that plan, or endorse a different one.  If strongly encouraged to do so, the policy committee may help set the stage for revitalization downtown.  What you can do:

  • Email FMATS Coordinator Donna Gardino to support Alternative 1 (see below) and its positive impact on revitalization
  • Attend the FMATS Policy Committee meeting May 19 @ 10 AM  at City Hall to support downtown revitalization

There would seem to be four options open to the Policy Committee:

  1. Alternative 1 –redesign the Terminal Street intersection to restore two-way traffic to Cushman and Barnette to maximize free traffic flow and maximize access to businesses, and add on-street parking and pedestrian facilities to Cushman Street;
  2. Alternative 2 – emphasize downtown through-traffic, maintain one-way traffic on Cushman and Barnette streets, transitioning to two lanes of north-bound traffic on Cushman to add on-street parking and pedestrian facilities to Cushman Street;
  3. Alternative 3 – Stay the course to make Cushman and Barnette bridges one-way and Cushman and Barnette streets two-way south to Airport Way. 
  4. Alternative 4 – Do nothing and let slip away this chance to improve downtown’s infrastructure, allowing traffic to continue speeding through downtown, perpetuating a hostile pedestrian environment and an uncertain investment environment.

The Kittelson & Associates study (with input from Vision Fairbanks consultants Crandall Arambula) recommends that downtown’s north-south system be wholly a two-way system or a one-way system, but not both (excerpted recommendations or full report).  Recognizing infrastructure’s role in economic development in an urban context, the study also recommended that Cushman Street under any traffic scenario should be “equipped with on-street parking and pedestrian streetscape improvements and traffic signals should be timed to manage traffic speeds such that the 85th percentile travel speeds are less than 20 miles per hour.”  Read News-Miner story here.

The Downtown Association of Fairbanks favors Alternative 1 as it does the most to set the stage for economic development downtown.  Also, downtown’s north-south system cannot be wholly one-way:  downtown’s current one-way “network” is broken.  The only one-way “network” in the Borough, it is a remnant of a bygone day prior to the Steese Highway when pipe for TAPS needed to get through town.

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