Old Town sets goals for near term

Old Town’s got it going on. We are the Gateway to Bishop’s Beach, one of the best and most accessible beaches on the Kenai Peninsula. Composed of 22 businesses and organizations, Old Town offers great food,  live music, tasty mead, exciting art and even sticky buns. According to Trip Advisor, Maura’s Cafe and Delicatessen, The Mermaid Café and Two Sisters Bakery shuffle around each other as the top three rated restaurants in all of Homer.

For all its dynamism, Old Town has become a sparkly gem to locals and travelers, and we are in immediate need of traffic-calming, pedestrian improvements and parking amenities.

Currently there is one speed limit sign in Old Town, 25 mph, and it faces exiting Bishop’s Beach traffic.  There is one cross walk in Old Town. There are no designated walking paths along existing roads, but there are four existing walking trails which connect to them. There is a trolly stop which delivers tourists from the Spit to Bunnell Avenue, but without even a crosswalk to get them off the curb, foot traffic becomes chaotic, unorganized and dangerous.

Led by Bunnell Street Arts Center’s Old Town Creative Placemaking efforts, the Old Town Neighbors have met at Bunnell to address these concerns. Collaborative discussions between Old Town neighbors, City Planning and Public Works have helped to form these exciting one-year goals for East Bunnell and Beluga Place:

• Lower the speed limit to 15, add speed signage to Old Town entries;

• Install seasonal speed bumps on East Bunnell and Beluga Place;

• Widen pavement on  East Bunnell Avenue and Beluga Place pavement and shift traffic lines to allow for pedestrian/bike path on the south and west side of the streets, respectively;

  • Add three cross walks and appropriate signage for pedestrians and bikers; and

• Pave and mark parking spaces at Bishop’s Beach. 

These goals are vital to longterm Old Town safety, functionality and beautification. We want to prime this space for park developments, public art and lasting local vibrancy.  I am thrilled that Old Town is embracing this collaborative process, which undoubtedly will bring tremendous value to all users. Please contact Brianna Allen, brianna@bunnellstreetgallery.org, to share collaborative ideas and to pledge support to this collaborative effort.