Photo by Brian Addison
I didn’t write about the City of Long Beach beginning on one of Long Beach’s biggest infrastructural projects—renovating and basically replacing one of Broadway’s most pedestrian-heavy stretches—because, well, I had already written about it.
But when I heard local news outlets gushing over it, my attention admittedly perked up.
Were they excited about the fact that Broadway is undergoing an entire renovation, from sewer lines below to the complete revamp of the street itself?
Were they excited about the road being shrunk from four lanes to two lanes of vehicle traffic because Broadway acts as a mini-freeway for some?
Were they excited about protected bike lanes, complete with bollards?
Were they excited about the possibility of partying patrons of the Gayborhood having a safer, wider, and all-around better experience? (I say this as someone who’s been mugged not once but twice in the Gayborhood—good times.)
No. It was about the increased parking.
Even their social media proclaimed to be aghast at the concept: “More parking?? In Long Beach??”
Now, before I start having the parking tickets and street sweeping tickets and the tales of hours of circling in a car thrown back at me, I want to make one thing clear: I get it. I truly, truly get it. Sometimes, My Dude works super late and, on some of those nights, it took him an hour to finally step into the door from the time he actually arrived in our neighborhood.
But actually, this post isn’t about parking. It is about the fact that Alamitos Beach is getting an entirely new street—and this, Long Beach, is not something to scoff at.
We’re talking an entire renovation of a key corridor that is not only important in terms of accessibility but culturally rich: pegged by Bixby Park on the east and DTLB on the west, dotted in the middle with Long Beach’s core gay watering holes, it is important that this street reflect what it values most—and that is the people who’ve created it, the people who make it their home, and the people who make Long Beach, well, Long Beach.
This is a massive undertaking and one that would have never happened had it not been for the countless years that advocates have been looking to have a better corridor paired with the recent influx of money needed to make the project possible.
It’s a dream for any neighborhood. It’s gonna have cleaner and wider sidewalks. Better lit streets. Better sewage. Less cars traveling at deathly speeds.
And if you’re lamenting that you had to walk a quarter of a mile instead of directly in front of your apartment and you’re upset about the lack of a free storage space for your very private property on very public real estate…
I’m gonna do my best with this and say: we’re all in this together, and if you have to walk an extra block or three after you’ve parked, forget that you walked it and maybe think about it as good for your heath, good for your neighborhood by adding foot traffic, and a chance for you to clear your mind after, well, sitting in a car in all the traffic that people in individual cars cause.
Cheer up. We’re getting what the folks wanted nearly two decades ago. That’s nothing short of awesome.