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Oak Harbor street work attracts comments

Brad Gluth, city civil engineer, explains Oak Harbor Street improvement plans to open house attendees.  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Brad Gluth, city civil engineer, explains Oak Harbor Street improvement plans to open house attendees.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

About 25 people attended an open house-style meeting Thursday night about upcoming improvements to Oak Harbor Street between Whidbey and Crosby Avenues.

The street-widening project is intended to transform the non-descript thoroughfare into an urban street scape, complete with bike lanes, landscaping, sidewalks and lighting.

Gary Morse moved to Oak Harbor 30 years ago and has seen the city’s population outgrow the busy Oak Harbor Street.

“It’s needed. But what’s needed more is addressing the intersection of Oak Harbor and Seventh,” he said. “It’s horrific. At certain times of the day it’s impossible to take a left turn.”

A couple of decades ago, Morse said he used to take a quick look and make the turn. But today the street if often clogged with cars heading to and from the Navy base.

Doug Anderson, manager of Western Village, is interested to see how the project will play out.

“I just wanted to see how the logistics are going to work,” he said.

Western Village is located on the east side, the down-sloping side, of Oak Harbor Street. Anderson is concerned, and so are some of Western Village’s residents, that the project will increase traffic and noise.

Anderson said, as an example, that the street-widening project will have cars passing closer to Western Village residents’ homes.

City engineers estimate the project will cost slightly more than $2 million, and will be funded through gas tax revenue, traffic impact fees and federal and state grants, according to city documents.

Engineers said the project also includes the purchase of right of ways from Puget Sound Energy, Concordia Lutheran Church, Cove Apartments, Mule Skinners Inc. and an a private landowner. The council was scheduled to consider an agenda bill Nov. 17 to advertise for construction contract bids for the Oak Harbor Street improvement project.

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