Fountain-Meridian

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Although Meridian Street begins at the northern edge of downtown Bellingham and continues north to Lynden, the majority of activity in this area is clustered along the section of the street just north of the Interstate 5 overpass. "The Guide" (State Highway 539) is so named because the road is aligned with a line of longitude (122.29.00) North and South. This area is undoubtedly the busiest and fastest growing commercial district in the city.

Infamous for its traffic congestion, Meridian is a district of strip malls and full-fledged malls, shopping plazas, restaurants and hotels. A classic example of growth in American cities, the large retail stores that once occupied downtown Bellingham collectively relocated to Bellis Fair Mall, the centerpiece of the Meridian area, when it opened in 1987. The relocations sparked an exodus, drawing many other businesses, shops and restaurants to relocate to the area. Today, the overwhelming concentration of retail and service-based businesses and its proximity to Interstate 5 makes Meridian the destination of choice for many Whatcom County shoppers, as well as Canadians making the short (20 minute) trip from the U.S./Canadian border to Bellingham.

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