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Long Beach’s Leap Toward Livability – Part 2 of 2

(There's a lot of great bike and walk improvements happening in
Long Beach, so L.A. StreetsBlog has covered it in two parts, for now. Last week's article featured the past and present; today's features exciting plans for the future.)

10_2_09_linton_1.jpgPhoto: Joe Linton

Long Beach's mobility coordinator Charlie Gandy has big plans. During
L.A. Streetsblog's interview with Gandy, he mentioned a wide range of
facilities and programs planned. These aren't far-off dreams. No.
They're funded dreams, scheduled for implementation in 2010.
Streetsblog will be there reporting on them.

The city has aggressively pursued bike funding, securing $15M in
grants for bike programs and facilities. Highlights of these follow
after the jump.

10_9_09_parking.jpgPhoto: Joe Linton

Federal Stimulus Money for Bike Parking

Long Beach sought and was granted $248,000 in federal stimulus
funding to install bike parking facilities. This will include 1,155
racks in all. The city isn't putting down a one-size-fits-all set of
utilitarian staples, but is doubling up on functions - using bike racks
secure bikes and also for celebratory place-making. There are coffee
cup racks at coffee shops, pizza racks at Italian Restaurants, and
various other whimsical functional designs.

The city is experimenting with a few fancy upright racks and taking away a few car parking spaces to put in bike corrals. No waves or pathetic front-wheel-only racks in the lot though. The project is already out to bid and expected to be completed in early 2010.

Additionally, Long Beach's more-than-just-parking BikeStation will be moving into their new and expanded facility in 2010.

A Bike Boulevard Actually Called a Bike Boulevard

A few Southern California cities are planning bike boulevards,
though neither Pasadena nor Los Angeles has the forthrightness to
actually them bicycle boulevards. Each of these cities is instead using
euphemisms. Pasadena's draft plan calls them Emphasized Bikeways; Los Angeles' draft plan calls them Bike Friendly Streets.

Long Beach is finalizing the designs for the Vista Street Bicycle
Boulevard, which extends about two miles from Park Avenue to Temple
Avenue. The city has been meeting with property owners and other
stakeholders they're supportive of the project. It will include six new
traffic circles, a new signal at Redondo Avenue, and removal and
reorientation of various stop signs.

It's also planned for completion the first half of 2010.

10 9 09 cycletrack_1.jpgPortland’s new (and first-ever) cycle track has been installed on SW Broadway near Portland State University. Long Beach's cycle track will have a 2-foot wide raised curb where this photo shows a striped area.

The United States' Third Urban Cycletrack

Following the innovative example of New York City and Portland, Long Beach has secured federal funding to build a protected bike facility - in essence a European-type cycletrack.
They're actually doing a pair of one-way cycletracks on Broadway and
Third Street in Downtown Long Beach. Each will extend slightly over a
mile from Alamitos Avenue to the 710 Freeway.

To do this, Long Beach will remove a travel lane from each street.
They'll build a 2-foot wide curb. Bicyclists will ride in their own
protected roadway - located between car parking and the sidewalk.
Bicycles will have their own bike traffic signals to prevent cars
colliding with cyclists on turns.

This trailblazing project is beginning construction and expected to open in February 2010.

More to Come

The city is resurfacing the San Gabriel River Bike Path and
connecting bike lanes across the northern part of the city. These
combine with the beach bike path and the L.A. River bikeway to form a
22-mile loop around the city.

Long Beach is also doing new bike education programs in schools.
They're hosting an annual April Bike festival. They're starting safe
street handling courses targeted for fixed gear riders. They're
developing bike training for Long Beach Police and Long Beach Transit
Bus Drivers. They're even planning promotional campaigns aimed at
teaching drivers how to safely interact with cyclists.

Streetsblog is looking forward to continuing to bring our readers news of Long Beach's successes.

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