Striking concept images prompt Langley's public notice push

This concept image shows a drastically different intersection at First Street and Anthes Avenue in Langley. A raised intersection would include a pattern in the street and benches facing Saratoga Passage.  - Image courtesy of Langley Planning Department
This concept image shows a drastically different intersection at First Street and Anthes Avenue in Langley. A raised intersection would include a pattern in the street and benches facing Saratoga Passage.
— image credit: Image courtesy of Langley Planning Department

Provocative concept graphics caused Langley city leaders to urge a preemptive public relations push by the city’s planning director.

Six capital improvement projects like a promenade on Cascade Avenue, a marina-to-city funicular and Third Street connection between Anthes and Cascade avenues show a Langley changed yet familiar.

And all of the work may never happen.

“These are just conceptual designs for public education purposes,” said Jeff Arango, Langley’s planning director.

Arango acknowledged the vast impact these projects would have on the city and the legacy he could leave if any were finished while he was the city planner.

“It’s what I thrive on. It’s why I do what I do,” Arango said. “It’s a big opportunity for the community to have a lasting imprint on the future.”

The major projects are part of the city’s six-year Capital Improvement Plan, essentially Langley’s wish list for public works. Creating a major waterfront boardwalk from the Langley Marina to Seawall Park, for example, is several years away, at best. It involves property rights, rezoning and major construction. Most of Langley’s elected leaders agreed at a recent city council meeting that creating a boardwalk would be a major, uphill venture.

“Historically, they’ve been pretty guarded about their property and waterfront,” said Mayor Fred McCarthy of a handful of property owners between the marina and Seawall Park.

But the very notion that one day Langley could create the public waterfront spurred McCarthy and city council members to plan a public relations push with residents, especially those potentially affected by these plans.

Other items, like the promenade, are more realistic and within reach. Creating a pedestrian walkway from Sixth Street to Wharf Street would capitalize on Langley’s natural beauty. The promenade could feature several overlooks, semicircles that hang over the bluff — the same one with recently questioned stability.

Cascade Avenue’s bluff that sloughed off March 22 was partly because the land was not managed for stability. Langley kept the vegetation down for the views of Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Mountains. But ensuring the stability with the correct plants and artificial materials to improve safety was not effectively done.

Should the promenade be installed, stabilizing the bluff would be a priority. The street would be moved into the city, possibly eliminating parking along the north side of Cascade Avenue. Next to the road would be the promenade, complete with interpretive signs and possibly the funicular landing.

The well-publicized possibility of a funicular, essentially an elevator car on a track up the hill, is more for easy access than entertainment. Getting visitors from parking lots on Cascade Avenue to the marina is a challenge. A short ride up the bluff in the funicular facing the water could land at multiple points on the street, depending where the Wharf Street access launches.

“It’s sort of a long walk with a lot of groceries,” Arango said.

One of the more striking images is of Third Street connected between Anthes and Cascade avenues. The street ends in a parking lot behind the post office, with a large lot and a home between the lot and Cascade. One possibility is for a straight road that would eliminate the home. The other option is to bend the street north of the home, sparing the house from eminent domain destruction.

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