It’s official: Long Beach will have its first ciclovía come Spring 2015 thanks to $260K from Metro’s Open Streets Program should the Board follow staff recommendations (which is most likely a given).
To the excitement of not just local but regional bicyclists is warranted since the discussion for a ciclovía—where streets are closed off to vehicle access and opened to those on bikes, foot, skateboards or roller skates—has been on the board for years. After all, I’ve tried and tried and even introduced our first “ciclovía” last year but there was no a true ciclovía.
Named “Beach Streets,” Long Beach’s first ciclovía will, according to Mobility Coordinator Nate Baird, tentatively take over segments of Atlantic Ave., Long Beach Blvd., Wardlow Rd., San Antonio Dr., and Market St. This means that the inaugural ciclovía will cater to—much to my happy heart—Bixby Knolls and North Long Beach, the area of our city that is often shadowed by the ever-booming downtown and shoreline.
If my inner Google maps serves me right—and this is pure guessing—that means the northern most part of it would start at Market, going east to head south on Atlantic, connect to San Antonio to reach southbound Long Beach Blvd., and then west on Wardlow to meet the Blue Line. (Speaking of which, hopefully the hoards of cyclists who will be heading down from LA—and they will—will not be greeted by masses upon masses of trash at the Wardlow Station.)
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.
The proposal for the North Long Beach Beach Streets was the highest scoring bid out of 21 high scoring proposals, with twelve events scoring funding. What is even more awesome is that Long Beach ranked high for three proposed events; the only other city to achieve that was LA.
Long Beach also proposed a Downtown Beach Streets—#4 on the list—as well as funding to help promote the annual Grand Prix-View—#14 on the list—which opens up the Grand Prix track to bicyclists, walkers, skaters, and anything but cars.
However, Metro will only grant money to one event per city—which, of course, somewhat reeks of nonsense because their scoring system is explicitly designed to assess need, including how it will benefit marginalized neighborhoods and people. Should it have been approved, the $160K Downtown Beach Streets would have catered to the Blue Line stops at Pacific, the Transit Mall, 1st Street, and 5th Street (not to mention cater to awesomeness because of easy accessibility to the Promenade, Pine Avenue, the new development at 3rd & Long Beach Blvd., the beach, Shoreline…).
Of course, bureaucracy doesn’t get in the way of beauty. Long Beach, I proudly give you what I have been dreaming of for nearly three years: Beach Streets, the 2015 Long Beach ciclovía.
For. Le. Win.
The funding list will still need to be approved by the Metro Planning and Programming Committee, then the full Metro Board. These approvals are expected in June 2014.