The westerly stretch of Anaheim between the Los Angeles River and 9th Street has been undergoing an improvement project for nearly a year and it is finally nearing completion.
The one-mile stretch of the improved roadway was much needed: concrete and asphalt were cracked, curbs and sidewalks deteriorated to the point of being unsafe, lighting that was either inefficient or consumed too much energy, and an utter lack of greenery.
The $8M facelift—with the vast majority funded through the Harbor Department and about $400K being provided through the Long Beach Public Works Department—benefits from a smoother roadway surface and 100 trees, half of which are palm, as well as hundreds of native plants that are drought resistant and seven bio-swales.
“We put in three tree boxes that are actually bio-filters that collect storm-water runoff and the dirt in there collects heavy metals and such from the ‘first flush’ rainfall,” said Lee Petersen of the Port of Long Beach. “Rain, of course, that hopefully we will get at some point. And the bio-swales are similar, but instead of tree boxes, they are kind of a low, landscaped area about 3 feet wide and 15 feet long that again collects the runoff. The native grasses will uptake the metals and such that filtered into the soil.”
Bus stops have also been improved, with new rider signal lights that riders push to let the driver know to stop and new route maps installed at each location.
Finally, drivers will be happy to know that traffic monitoring loops—sensors that are built into the pavement that detect how busy the traffic is—have been installed across the entire stretch.
“They help automatically adjust stoplight duration,” Petersen said. “For example, if the traffic on Anaheim is very light, the north-south lights can stay green longer. If traffic on Anaheim is very heavy, the north-south traffic may have to wait a little longer. Information from the loop is also available to Caltrans and other agencies as they monitor traffic flow on major roadways.”