Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes floated a plan to town council members and business owners last week to make Front Street a one-way road.
During a public meeting Feb. 14, Hughes showed council members drawings of how this change might take shape in the historic downtown district. The preliminary design would allow only westbound traffic on Front Street and add angled parking on the south side of the street.
Angled parking that already exists on the east side of adjacent Alexander Street would remain but be angled in the opposite direction. Parallel parking on the west side of Alexander Street would remain in place.
The change could potentially also include the addition of a commercial loading and unloading zone on Front Street.
Hughes said the proposed changes are intended to make the historic district safer and more pedestrian-friendly. Under current conditions, drivers have to blindly navigate around trucks trying to load or unload and mirrors on parked vehicles stick into the narrow sidewalks. One-way traffic is more conducive to the pedestrian-heavy area, Hughes said.
Making the change to angled parking would also add an estimated five to seven parking spaces to the Front Street area, Hughes said.
Minimal infrastructure changes would be necessary to make Front Street one-way. No construction would be required; the town would only need to install signage and curb stops and repaint parking spaces.
The mayor said she discussed the idea with members of the Economic Vitality Committee, which includes representatives from the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, as well as several downtown business owners. Committee members were very supportive of the idea, Hughes reported to the town council.
Councilmember Rick Walti voiced his support for the change.
“I’ve been an advocate for this for years and years and years,” he said.
The council did not take formal action on the discussion item. Hughes said she would continue to discuss the proposal with downtown business owners.