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Anthes Street fix to keep pedestrians safer

"Photo: When Langley installs sidewalks, new paved parking areas, and pavement patches on Anthes Street this summer, the Island Transit bus stop will move a bit closer to downtown Langley.Matt Johnson / staff photoLong considered in need of sidewalks and general smoothing, one of Langley's most character-filled streets will get a pedestrian-oriented face lift over the next three years.Last week, the city and the Island Regional Transportation and Planning Organization agreed that Anthes Street is anything but pedestrian friendly between the city's downtown core and Sixth Street.To help fix the problem, the RTPO agreed to cut a check to the city for $259,000, earmarking it for sidewalks, walkways, and other road repairs along the street.In all, the city estimates it will spend $300,000 between now and November 2002 not to rebuild the street -- as the city's planner acknowledges the street could use -- but to widen portions of it to put some distance between walkers, bikers, and cars.The grant money will allow the city to make a number of changes on Anthes Street it could not otherwise afford. On the west side of the road, the city will install curb and gutter, as well as a sidewalk from where it ends in the downtown sector to Fourth Street. The Island Transit bus stop on that side of the street will be moved 70 feet closer to downtown to accommodate the sidewalk.City public works director Rick Hill said construction workers will have to cut into the steep bank in front of the Langley United Methodist Church in order to make room for the sidewalk. To save money and to conform to city sidewalk codes, the sidewalk will be asphalt, not concrete. The bank will be bolstered with a rock retaining wall.From Fourth Street to Sixth Street, the city plans to install an asphalt walkway similar to those installed on Sixth Street two years ago. Responding to the fact that the walkway will be little more than a widened shoulder on the road, providing no physical separation between cars and pedestrians, Langley city planner Jack Lynch said plans for that portion of the Anthes project are not final. Because the city's right-of-way is narrower on that section of the street, it may not have room for a standard curb, gutter, boulevard, and sidewalk configuration. But, Lynch said the city will do what it can to keep cars and people safely away from one another.We're going to try to maintain separation as much as possible, Lynch said.On the east side of the road, the city will extend the concrete sidewalk and curb and gutter in front of the Langley Chamber of Commerce to Third Street and back to Second Street. It will also pave a gravel parking area in front of the Porter Building. Between Third and Fourth streets, construction crews will realign Anthes, and will install parking bumpers in front of Brookhaven. The remainder of the road will receive asphalt patching to take out some of the irregularities, dips, and bumps in the pavement and a widened shoulder.If the city had its druthers, said Lynch, it would get enough money from the state to completely rebuild the road. Unfortunately, that will have to wait.It's too bad one funding source can't do the whole thing, he said. STP funds spread aroundLangley was not the only Island County public agency to receive state and federal Surface Transportation Planning (STP) Funds. In all, the Island RTPO approved spending $914,000 on four projects. In addition to the $259,000 that went to Langley, Island Transit received $285,000 for its van pools, Oak Harbor received $150,000 to design its downtown pier, and Island County grabbed $220,000 to install a signal light on Camano Island."

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