Langley’s $2.2 million redesign of Second Street in 2014 is being recognized as a leader in safe, convenient and comfortable travel on a national scale.
City Planner Brigid Reynolds and Langley Main Street Association Program Manager Lorinda Kay will be guest speakers on the National Complete Streets Coalition’s next monthly webinar series, “Making the Most of Main Street: Complete Streets & Walkable Communities,” at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, May 17. On the hour-long show, they’ll discuss the benefits of “Complete Streets,” what methods the city used to implement the 2014 project, community involvement, what was learned during the process and how the impact of construction was mitigated.
The National Complete Streets Coalition, founded in 2004, promotes the development and implementation of complete streets policies and professional practices, according to its website. The focus of the discussion surrounds the national movement “Complete Streets,” which is a transportation policy and design approach to developing healthy transportation for all modalities. Making the roads and streets safer for shared use by pedestrians, transit, bicyclists and cars are the primary focuses of the movement.
Kay said there are more and more cities adopting the complete street philosophy and that she and Reynolds can provide knowledge about what it’s meant for Langley.
“We’ve seen a lot more people drawn to Second Street with all the improvements that are there,” Kay said.
Mayor Tim Callison said being included in the webinar series is an excellent accomplishment for the city.
“We’re really influencing pedestrian traffic, and trying to accommodate it and encourage it,” Callison said.
In 2012, the Langley City Council approved an ordinance that made it city policy to implement complete streets principles whenever feasible and appropriate in future transportation and street projects. It also made the city eligible for transportation grants, which later helped offset the $2.2 million cost of the Second Street Project.
Langley’s director of community planning at the time, Jeff Arango, was a primary facilitator of the ordinance. Arango, who is now with Seattle-based BERK Consulting, Inc., said the ordinance helped frame many aspects of the redesign of Second Street to fit the complete streets approach. Among the examples included the widening of sidewalks to increase pedestrian space, more visible crosswalks and slowing of traffic at the plaza in front of Callahan’s Firehouse, which also serves as another functioning crosswalk, Arango said. Second Street was an active pedestrian street before the project, but it didn’t have the physical qualities to support it.
“Often times, streets are just focused on moving cars and vehicles,” Arango said. “Complete streets can take many different forms. It’s about balancing different modes of transportation.”
Arango felt the invite to the webinar series was a “huge honor” for the city and the Langley Main Street Association.
“I’m super excited to hear that’s happening,” Arango said. “…I think it reflects the kind of city Langley is.”
The city was also awarded a $250,000 complete streets grant from the Transportation Improvement Board and will go toward improvements on First Street. Ideas that are currently floating around include widening the sidewalks, expanding the “green space” at Whale Bell Park and adding benches and bike racks, according to Kay.