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USFS: Slow down near the glacier

Posted: June 6, 2013 - 11:05pm

JUNEAU — In a release this week, the U.S. Forest service is asking Juneau residents to slow down their vehicles as they approach the end of the Glacier Spur Road, near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Upon request of the USFS, the Juneau Police Department recently conducted a speed study within the marked 20 mph zone. According to the study, 42 percent of drivers exceeded the 20 mph limit during the week of the study and 20 percent of all vehicles were travelling more than 30 mph.

These are unsafe speeds for everyone, the release stated.

The report stated that JPD officers measured 8,968 vehicle passes from May 21-28.

According to Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Director John Neary, summer weather means extensive sharing of the roadway with both two-legged and four-legged mammals. On a typical day, he wrote in a release this week, the center may host 4,000 people, including visitors from cruise ships and ferries, residents with friends and relatives, runners and cyclists, just to name a few. Often, they are distracted by the beauty of the glacier, salmon, or bears and not all are paying attention to vehicles nearby. Congested cross walks, parking lots, trails and sidewalks are to be expected.

The posted speed limit drops from 40 miles per hour (mph) to 30 mph to 20 mph relatively quickly and it is easy for even the most well-meaning motorist to exceed the speed limit, he said.

“It’s only a matter of time before someone will be severely injured or killed unless we all slow down,” Neary wrote. “I’m asking for cooperation from the local residents who frequent this valued site.”

“I’m asking for cooperation from our partners and the permitted companies who deliver visitors to the center. I’m also requesting increased law enforcement on this road to slow people down. Your slower speed will mean you’ll have a much greater chance of seeing that bear or child darting across the road.”

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