After two attempts at gaining money, the three-year long dream to remove the northern portion of the Terminal Island Freeway (I-103) just took another step towards reality after the City of Long Beach scored a quarter-million Cal Trans grant for environmental justice transportation planning.
The grant—followed just six months after it was sought and following the same push in 2012 that ultimately failed in garnering monies—will provide a formal study of what could be one of the largest freeway removals in Southern California history, stretching a mile just south of PCH north to Willow Street.
What could largely be called one of the (many) babies of City Fabrick Executive Director Brian Ulaszewski—the same guy behind destroying one of the most deadliest intersections in Long Beach in order to pave way for a much-needed park—since 2010, the plan is rather simple: given the creation of the 20-mile Alameda Corridor and the modernization of the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility just west of Terminal Island, the northern length of the freeway is not needed. It would then be converted into a local street that fits into the grid, thereby alleviating traffic away from Santa Fe, the only other north-south arterial nearby.
What destroying this stretch of the freeway further (and more ultimately) does is remove large amounts of trucks passing by lower west side schools—such as Cabrillo and Reid High, and particularly Hudson Elementary, which sits directly east of the freeway—and various neighborhoods. The 20 to 30 acres of surplus land, most of which is weeds and dirt, can be converted to a mile-long public park. This, in turn, dramatically boosts park space on the West Side by roughly 50%. Read more…