Langley Main Street Association shuttle wins state award

Record staff Langley’s free shuttle is now an award-winning free shuttle.

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2013 5:16pm
  • Life
The Langley Shuttle loaded with many of its partners: City planner Jeff Arango

The Langley Shuttle loaded with many of its partners: City planner Jeff Arango

RECORD STAFF

Langley’s free shuttle is now an award-winning free shuttle.

The Langley Main Street Association received the award for “Community Partnership” May 16 at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony in Vancouver, Wash. The ceremony was held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington State’s Preservation and Main Street Conference.

“We are thrilled to present this award to the Langley Main Street Association and its many partners who have demonstrated working together can truly advance the goals of all entities for the benefit of residents and visitors alike,” said Sarah Hansen, Washington Main Street program coordinator. “Their list of accomplishments is already very impressive, and we know there are great things still to come.”

Main Street Board president Janet Ploof, program manager Michaela Marx Wheatley, city planer Jeff Arango, city councilwoman Rene Neff, and Main Street board member Fred Lundahl, shuttle driver, mechanic and driving force behind the project, were in Vancouver to accept the award.

“It is very exciting for a small organization that has only been an official Main Street program for a year to win such a significant award,” Ploof said. “Even better, this award is not just about a project or Main Street it recognizes our amazing community. We all are winners.”

The state organization recognized the shuttle project as an outstanding example of how a community comes together to make a project happen. The shuttle is owned and operated by the Langley Main Street Association. It is entirely run by volunteer drivers. The Port of South Whidbey and the City of Langley backed the project with grant funding. Many individual community organizations work with Langley Main Street either as a source of drivers or collaborated with Main Street to have shuttle service for their events.

Mayor Fred McCarthy said the award is a great achievement for the shuttle partners.

“The partnership between the Langley Main Street Association and the City of

Langley is transforming our city with inspired volunteer energy and a promise of economic renewal,” McCarthy said. “It is so exciting to be associated with these motivated professionals from our business community. We are a better city for our collaborative efforts with the Langley Main Street Association.”

The shuttle first began zipping through town last summer. The Langley Main Street Association worked with a multitude of organizations and individuals to offer a free shuttle service connecting Langley’s historic downtown core with the Langley Marina, off-site parking, and several event venues outside the downtown district. During the summer months, LMSA began offering rides for visitors and residents, all of whom seemed to enjoy being chauffeured in the six-passenger golf cart, driven by local “celebrities” including the mayor and city council members.

A six-passenger shuttle may not seem significant, but it was an important transportation step for a small town of 1,000 people, Hansen said as she introduced Langley Main Street at the awards ceremony.

“It fits our scale and reflects the values of our community,” Ploof said. “It is a wonderful way to move people around Langley without having to be dependent on automobiles. And it make people happy.”

In addition to its role as people mover, the shuttle, driven by Langley Main Street’s new summer interns Laura and Erin Hilton, will also take the summer flower-watering burden from the city by pulling a water tank behind the environmentally friendly shuttle.

The organization is excited to have found a great way to keep the flowering summer color watered, not to mention the benefit of replacing the large gas guzzling water truck with its green electric cart, Ploof said.

The award recognizes the first year of the shuttle, which served as a trial period leading up to the Main Street purchase of the new electric car. During the first year, then-Mayor Larry Kwarsick and Arango partnered with the organization, helping to bring the idea to fruition by sharing expertise regarding rules and regulations. Once a golf cart zone ordinance was passed, Main Street rented a shuttle to test the idea and began partnering with several of Langley’s biggest events including DjangoFest Northwest and the Whidbey Island Area Fair to provide transportation services. The feedback was so positive that soon representatives from the Island County Fairgrounds Association as well as the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts joined Main Street committees, and the Port of South Whidbey became involved in the project.

Many community organizations continue to contribute to the success of the shuttle, including volunteer drivers from the Langley Community Club, Langley Men’s Club and several local merchants. Volunteer drivers also include those from the South Whidbey Historical Society who share their Langley history expertise during driving shifts.

The Excellence on Main Awards, organized by the Washington State Main Street Program, recognizes communities, organizations, and individuals who are helping to achieve economic vitality and build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization and preservation. Washington’s Main Street Program is housed in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and administered, under contract, by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

To volunteer as shuttle driver, call 360-929-9333 or email mainstreet@whidbey.com.

More in Life

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
The town of Coupeville is celebrating Halloween with a tribute to "Practical Magic," the film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sister witches that was filmed in Coupeville in the late 1990s.
Coupeville extras reminisce about a practically magic time on film set

Coupeville celebrates a Halloween tribute to the film with decorations and special showings.

See caption
Farm stand opens at school

Students, staff members and Americorps service members worked together on the self-serve stand.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Laura Foley, left, and Don Meehan locate a grave in Sunnyside Cemetery using Find a Grave's GPS grave locator.
Volunteers adding GPS grave locator to Sunnyside’s website

Two community volunteers took on a project to make it easier to locate graves in Sunnyside Cemetery.

Edited photo - better to use
A green reaping: Whidbey pot farm harvests outdoor bounty

Volunteers approach bushes of kush with shears in hand at the South Whidbey farm owned by Adam Lind.

Photo by Theresa Farage
A photographer captured the Northern Lights over North Whidbey Tuesday night. Theresa Farage went to Dugualla Bay Heights Road looking toward La Conner armed with her Nikon D5200 camera and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Northern Lights over Whidbey

The dazzling northern lights appeared in the skies across the state this week.

Penn Cove employees serve customers during the brewery’s grand opening celebration of its new location in Freeland over Memorial Day weekend. (Tyler Rowe / Cold Pizza Creative)
Drink This: Penn Cove opens its 3rd taproom on Whidbey Island

Brothers Marc and Mitch Aparicio opened a new Freeland taproom at The Barn over Memorial Day weekend.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Will Hawkins and Dawn Smith officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.
Rainshadow Nursery welcomes new owners

Dawn Smith and Will Hawkins of Greenbank officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.

Rob Schouten's "Skyfall" oil painting is inspired by the San Juan Islands.
His etchings and paintings explore the mysteries of nature

You can Rob Schouten’s aquatint etchings and oil paintings at his gallery and art garden in Langley.

Gabrielle Robles at Sunnyside Cemetery in a block house.
Coupeville woman offers haunted history tour

Gabrielle Robles is taking guests on a Haunted History Tour of Whidbey Island on Oct. 29 and 30.

See caption
NBA star Isaiah Thomas travels to South Whidbey

South Whidbey teenager Jacob Ng recently got to live out a hoop dream.

pumpkins
Halloween happens on Whidbey

Spooky season is back in swing and there are plenty of events that promise a ghoulishly good time.

Audubon is holding birding class for beginners Oct. 19

Master birder Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser will be teaching the online Zoom class 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 19.