Locals react to Skyway renovation plans

Jan 15, 2014 8:40 PM

Safety improvements are expected to bring big changes to the Skyway in Paradise by this summer. The town of Paradise has seen many accidents and tragedies along the Skyway and residents are happy to see something is finally being done.

"The safety of the Skyway definitely needs to be addressed," said Jim Broshears, owner of Trailhead Adventures in Paradise. Businesses and residents have known about the dangers on the Skyway for years. The town received a $1 million safety improvement grant with 90% of the grant coming from federal funds Town officials hope that lane changes and improvements to crosswalks like these will make the Skyway a little safer. “Our goals are to improve pedestrian safety and motorist safety and we can do that by reducing the lanes and reducing the number of conflicts. Also for pedestrians, install pedestrian bulb outs, which come further into the road and increase the visibility, add flashing beacons, (and) make it a more shopping pedestrian friendly environment in the downtown corridor," said Marc Mattox, Paradise Town Engineer. The new design would reduce lanes from four to three lanes with one in each direction with a left turn lane in the center. Officials say commuting time would only be increased by less than twenty seconds.

Businesses say they've seen too many people in danger and want to see these changes to the Skyway. "We've seen close calls with the pedestrian crossing and almost getting hit where one side of the traffic stops and the opposite direction doesn't see them and screeches on their brakes. We always cringe when we hear the screeching of brakes here," said Danielle Fierro, owner of Blue Sugar Bake Shop.

Many are concerned for the children crossing the road to get to the Boys and Girls Club. One man says he almost saw some children get hit crossing the road. "When I saw them trying to cross the Skyway, and this traffic is probably going 40 miles per hour, and I started screaming. At that point in time, they ran across and made it and the car probably missed them just by a few feet. I just think that's very unsafe. Something needs to be done," explained Robert Guthrie.

Along with these improvements to safety, businesses on the corridor say it'll draw more people to come and shop in that area. “The buffer that they're going to add definitely moves the traffic away from the sidewalks and it should make it more pedestrian safety," said Broshears.

Town officials will be holding other public meetings for input from the community. They hope to have a final design approved by the council in May and start construction in late summer.


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