By Grace Swanson
First Street in Langley, Washington will be getting a pedestrian-centered facelift next year.
Langley Main Street Association (LMSA) and the City of Langley secured a $250,000 Complete Street Grant through the Washington State Transportation Commission. Grant recipients must dedicate a portion of the funding toward street designs that promote mobility, sustainability, safety, and community outreach.
Plans may include repaving First Street and widening the crosswalks at Boy and Dog Park, Fricke Lane, and Whale Bell Park to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Whale Bell Park could also refurbished to act as a public plaza.
“These renovations are necessary for economic viability,” said Janet Ploof, LMSA President. “Businesses do better in a downtown that is aesthetically pleasing and promotes walkability.”
A public meeting will be held at the Methodist Church on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m.
“This First Street public discussion is primarily focused on the street itself,” said Langley Mayor Tim Callison. “We hope to find ways to better integrate pedestrians, bicycles, and automobile traffic to encourage people to spend time on First Street.”
The City of Langley and LMSA are currently identifying problematic areas of the street. The narrow right turn from the marina road is difficult for cars pulling boat trailers. Larger cars parked in the diagonal parking spaces on First Street sometimes obstruct the roadway.
Callison said funds may also be used to incentivize bike riding by providing amenities, such as bike racks, and finding ways to ensure bikers are able to ride safely with the flow of traffic.
Ploof hopes Wednesday’s meeting will allow the community to bring their ideas to the table.
“Main Street’s job is to reach out to the community to ensure that every business and resident has a voice,” Ploof said. “We want the First Street design to be something that grows out of community desire.”
The First Street restoration is will break ground in 2018.