Long Beach: Livingston Drive Repaving Comes with More Sharrows and Wider Sidewalks

Map of improved Livingston Drive via City of Long Beach

The 3rd District of Long Beach is home to the first Sharrow lanes in the city  on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. Today, the 3rd is expanding its number of Sharrows as it prepares to repave Livingston Drive between 2nd Street and Termino Avenue.

The stretch of road–a little less than a half-mile–desperately needs repaving. Councilmember Gary DeLong claims the project will only get more expensive if the city continues to wait. As with all street designs, city staff tries to take bike mobility and foot traffic into consideration, while also trying to maintain parking spaces–particularly in crowded parking areas like Belmont Heights.

“Retaining parking spaces was an important criteris and this design protects the existing parking,” said DeLong.

Heading westbound on 2nd Street takes you to the Livingston Drive fork, where heading westbound on Livingston eventually takes you to Ocean Boulevard towards downtown via three lanes. One of those lanes will now be a service road with a protective median and the parking spots lining it will remain intact; traffic engineers have claimed that the loss of the third lane will not exacerbate traffic congestion. Along with the median for bicyclist protection, the road will have Sharrow markings to remind motorists to share the road with bicyclists and guide cyclists to the safest place to ride on the road.

Eastbound Livingston will have less dramatic changes as the amount of lanes and parking spaces will remain the same. However, the sidewalk will double in size to 8 feet for pedestrians.

According to the City, the street will be resurfaced with a rubberized asphalt that contains up to 15% recycled material in addition to recycled rubber from old tires. As with all projects such as this, the old asphalt will be recycled for new asphalt or used for other rehabilitation projects.

The project will begin this month and is expected to be finished near the end of the year. During construction, much of the access to and through Livingston will be limited and bicyclists are recommended to take the City’s beach bike path if they are needing to access Alamitos Beach or downtown.

The cost of the project is estimated to be $1,254,000, with all funds appropriated through Proposition C, passed by L.A. County voters in 1990 to insure funds are allocated for a variety of capital and operating projects specifically geared towards transportation and mobility. The City Council also approved a 15% contingency amount–$188,100–bring the project’s potential cost to $1,442,100.

In addition to the Sharrows, it should be noted that the Long Beach Transit stop at Roswell Avenue as well as the pedestrian crossing there will be removed while a traffic signal will be installed at Ximeno Avenue.

  • Frustrating. So there is room for a 2-way “service road”, 4 car lanes, a huge median and wider sidewalks, but no bike lanes or path? It’s nice that bikes will be able to use the lower-traffic service road with sharrows, but what if you want to continue west past 1st street, to get to the Belmont Pier or a destination along Ocean Blvd? This is a nearly 200 foot wide right-of-way, wider than some freeways, which only needs 5 lanes for cars to travel (= 50 feet) Couldn’t we have found space for a fully dedicated bike path on both sides, with all that space to work with?

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