Photo above from Los Angeles’s CicLAvia. Photo by Brian Addison.
It’s official: Long Beach will have its first ciclovía, dubbed Beach Streets, on June 6 thanks to $260K from Metro’s Open Streets Program handed to the City of Long Beach last year. (As noted by Streetsblog, Metro has become a major sponsor for open streets events, allocating millions in event funding for July 1, 2014 through June 30th, 2016.)
Though it was lamented that Downtown didn’t score a ciclovía—many felt the imagery of DTLB paired with its density, attractions, and biking/ped infrastructure, would have better served for the city’s first time in the ciclovía spotlight and led to more ciclovías from here on out with much more ease—Beach Streets will run up north and serve and feature a far more marginalized community.
Well, somewhat. The route is solely along Atlantic from Houghton Park at Harding in the north to Wardlow toward the south. This means it is strangely connected only to the Wardlow Station, effectively disconnecting the Del Amo and Artesia Stations. Understandably, three road closures simply for Blue Line access would be both expensive and taxing, but that is not what I am suggesting. Del Amo lies smack in the middle of the route and the semi-closure of Wardlow only reads as politicking the ciclovía under the guard of safety and affluence (given the majority of the route runs through the entirety of Bixby Knolls).
The proposal for the North Long Beach Beach Streets was the highest scoring bid out of 21 high scoring proposals when it proposed last year, with twelve events scoring funding. What is even more awesome is that Long Beach ranked high for three proposed events at the time, including the aforementioned Downtown Beach Streets (#4 on the list).
As for programming, Mobility and Health Coordinator Nate Baird explained that applicants seeking money to do certain things along the route will be available soon. Those applications will then be reviewed by a panel of people chosen by each council district member and funds will be dispersed to those applicants. While the information remains vague, it seems that come June 6, a ciclovía will be indeed happening—and that is something to cheer about.
Let’s just all band in on this together, yeah?