Juneau mulls mini stop signs for Flats alleyways

A 9-year-old girl riding a scooter was injured April 28 when she collided with a car exiting this alleyway, pictured May 1, 2018. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

Three unnamed alleys in Juneau’s downtown Flats neighborhood will be getting stop signs. That’s following a collision that left a young girl with a broken foot.

Naomi Davidson lives on West Ninth Street in the Flats, an historic neighborhood of early 20th century cottages dating from the city’s mining days.

Last Saturday her 9-year-old daughter Isabella was riding her scooter on D Street when she collided with a car coming out of an alley but couldn’t stop in time.

“She said she body slammed into the car and the car rolled over her foot,” she said.

The mother was just about a block away at the time.

“Her little friends come running up to grab me and I run down and check out her foot,” she recalled, “it’s already swollen, there’s a tire tread bruise already developing on her foot. I take her to the emergency room and she’s got a break in there and is off – she can’t put any weight on it, is on crutches.”

There are three unnamed alleyways that intersect with Glacier Avenue and D Street.

She’s since written to the city with her concerns.

“I really think it could’ve been prevented,” she said. “If there was stop signs or mirrors or some signs indicating there are children present because the neighborhood has a lot of children, a lot of school-aged children.”

An alley between West Ninth and 10th streets in Juneau’s downtown Flats neighborhood pictured on May 1, 2018. The city is looking at installing stop signs where they intersect D Street and Glacier Avenue. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

City Fleets and Street Superintendent Ed Foster agreed the narrow alleyways can be dangerous for pedestrians.

“Because there are cars parked alongside those streets, a vehicle coming out of the alley will tend to pass the sidewalk that crosses the alley before they stop,” Foster said Tuesday. “And I think that’s what causes the hazard.”

The city plans to erect stop signs in the six places where the alleys intersect paved streets. But the narrow rights-of-way are challenging.

“There’s a lot of fences, garages, all kinds of stuff that are right up to the road and we don’t want to create a clearance issue with a sign and very easily could,” Foster said. “So it may mean that we use a smaller stop sign, something like you’d see on a bike trail or something. But at least there would be a sign.”

The stop signs would have to be special ordered. It could take a month for them to arrive.

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