As part of our ongoing coverage of the impact of the Los Angeles County Public Health P.L.A.C.E. grants, this week Streetsblog will focus on Long Beach. Because Long Beach is so close to Los Angeles and has been making such strides in the world of sustainable transportation, the city’s strides have been a secondary focus of Los Angeles Streetsblog for the last three and a half years. Heck, it even has its own Streetsfilm.
Two weeks ago, Streetsblog looked at Culver City’s first steps towards a Livable Streets transportation policy, while Long Beach is quite a bit ahead of Culver City there are some chinks in Long Beach’s armor. There has been a quiet, but growing murmer that much of the outstanding infrastructure that has been put on Long Beach’s streets to help cyclists and pedestrians in recent years has focused on business corridors and upper class residential communities. Streetsblog will examine that issue head on. After all, a progressive public health plan for transportation should address the communities that most need it.
Since much of Long Beach’s PLACE Grant went in to funding the Mobility Coordinator position filled by the local bicycling community’s motivational speaker, Charlie Gand; Gandy will be a regular face on Streetsblog this week starting with our video and story series available after the jump.
In addition to this article, we’ll be publishing three more this week. The first looks at the impact that this new focus on Livable Streets has had on business. The second examines “Active Living and Complete Streets” planning documents put together as part of the PLACE Grant. The third will look at the existing and funded infrastructure that’s been put in place over the last three years and talk about Long Beach’s recent past and future.
For anyone unfamiliar with our Long Beach coverage, or anyone that wants to catch up, read on after the jump. We’ve added a few new interviews on You Tube discussing bike corrals, bike boulevards and separated bike lanes with Gandy.
The first time Long Beach’s new way of looking at streets caught our attention was in April of 2009 when they painted a Green Sharrowed Lane on both sides of Second Street through the heart of one of Long Beach’s busiest streets and business districts. We thought the Green Sharrow was the first of its kind in America, but were surprised to discover that Long Beach was edged by Salt Lake City.
During my “paternity leave” in October of 2009, Joe Linton guest wrote a couple of columns entitled “Long Beach’s Leap Toward Livability.” Part 1 looked at the existing infrastructure (as of October 2009) and Part 2 looked at what was on-deck.
Throughout much of 2010, Long Beach resident Drew Reed served as our Long Beach correspondent (all pro-bono!) writing stories on the addition of directional signage, the then-bike-unfriendly design plans for the Gerald Desmond Bridge, a visit from the president of the League of American Cyclists, and a photo tour of the Vista Street Bike Boulevard. For a complete list of all Reed’s stories, click here.
On top of all that, Reed still managed to find time to make this video on Long Beach’s bike recycling program.
In April of this year, two years after the Green Sharrows were put down, Long Beach opened separated bike lanes, aka Cycle Tracks, aka physically separated bike lanes, on Third Street (going west) and Broadway (going east). Joe Linton returned to Long Beach to cover the story and until Carmageddon it seemed as though it would be our most popular story of the year.
Damien Newton wrote this story while participating in The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, a program of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.