Make the Alaska Highway corridor better

The Alaska Highway through Whitehorse isn’t just a highway, it is a corridor that connects us.

The Alaska Highway through Whitehorse isn’t just a highway, it is a corridor that connects us.

For Valleyview and Hillcrest, the Alaska Highway is the gateway to our communities and an important part of our everyday lives. It is where we buy our flowers, wash our cars, and take our families for supper. It bridges our neighbourhoods, carries our kids to school, and facilitates our travel to work and home again.

We believe the Whitehorse Corridor Functional Plan, as currently proposed, will have significant negative impacts on our community, our city and on sustainable transportation opportunities for Whitehorse. It threatens to displace existing businesses, isolate our neighbourhoods, and ultimately increase speed and traffic.

While the Yukon Government promised further consultations, they never came. Instead, residents and businesses of Hillcrest and Valleyview gathered at our own community forum and developed simple, practical solutions to the plan that will help, not hinder, our communities, local businesses, and Whitehorse as a whole.

Five key conclusions came from our Community Forum. First, the corridor should be an attractive streetscape that supports local businesses by providing easy access without frontage roads.

Second, the corridor should reflect the vibrancy of our neighbourhoods by providing a safe and healthy environment for residents, families and people of all abilities to move around independently.

Third, the corridor should reflect the urban and family-oriented nature of our neighbourhoods by lowering speed limits, keeping lanes narrow and few in number, and introducing safe and accessible crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists.

Fourth, our corridor should encourage people to use their cars less by providing attractive active living infrastructure, such as a continuous and separated paved pathway to downtown for pedestrians and cyclists.

Finally, the community should play an active role in designing our corridor. First Nations with settlement land along the highway should also be included.

It is our sincere hope that the Yukon government will start to listen to our concerns and provide us with a response by Nov. 1, 2016. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make the Alaska Highway corridor through Whitehorse a safe, accessible and community-oriented entrance to our city. Let’s work together to make it happen.

Sylvie Binette,

President, Valleyview Community Association

Jim Gilpin,

President, Hillcrest Community Association

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