The Glacier Highway Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project may be changes intended to help cyclists, walkers and drivers in the Lemon Creek area. Picture taken June 2013.

The Glacier Highway Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project may be changes intended to help cyclists, walkers and drivers in the Lemon Creek area. Picture taken June 2013.

State considers fixes for Lemon Creek roads

The Alaska Department of Transportation is pondering changes to Glacier Highway in Lemon Creek, but before construction begins in 2017, engineers want the public’s ideas.

The Glacier Highway Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project is intended to help cyclists and walkers, but it’ll bring changes for drivers, too. Those include a new traffic signal at Davis Avenue and a roundabout on Renninger Street, which connects Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School to Glacier Highway.

“It’s a really simple goal, but it’s not simple in achieving,” project manager Chuck Tripp said of the idea of improving walking and cycling along Glacier Highway in Lemon Creek.

With Lemon Creek’s truck traffic, 45-mph speed limit and the number of cars that use the road, “you just can’t throw a crosswalk across a road like that,” Tripp said. “You have to engineer crossings.”

One of those crossings is earmarked for Glacier Highway near Walmart. Tripp said the closure of that store “has an impact, but not as much as you would think.” The state is anticipating that the store won’t stay closed forever, and there’s already enough pedestrian demand from bus passengers who get on and off near Walmart. That traffic isn’t expected to entirely go away, even after the store’s closure last week.

A roundabout at Renninger Street would allow school-bound kids to cross Glacier Highway more safely, and improvements to crosswalks and medians throughout Lemon Creek would help them reach that roundabout.

A traffic light planned for Davis Avenue (it’s the intersection near the Lemon Creek bridge) would help traffic flow in and out of Concrete Avenue, which sees truck traffic and plenty of cars bound for Breeze-In.

“If you coordinate that traffic signal with the one at Anka (next to Wells Fargo), you can create gaps … that allow people to make lefts off Concrete Way,” Tripp said.

Lemon Creek residents and others have almost two months to offer comments on the plan. Comments can be emailed to Jill Taylor at jill.taylor@alaska.gov through April 1, and the state has planned a public meeting to discuss the project. That meeting takes place March 3 in Gruening Park Recreation Center.

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