This is Part II of a two-part series. For Part I, click here.
Bixby Park has its peak amount of visitors on two days: Tuesdays, home of the farmers market, and Saturday, home to the vast majority of people’s day off.
At any random point on those two days between 10AM and 4PM, somewhere between 950 and 1,500 people visit Bixby Park on average, with the vast majority—about 90%—of users being adults and teens. Walking, skateboarding, and shopping are the most popular activities on Tuesday while walking, gathering (BBQ, picnic, etc.), and people watching are the most popular on Saturday.
What does this precisely say about the character of Bixby Park?
It means that it is an inherent part of the Alamitos Beach and Bluff Heights neighborhoods and, even more, that a lotta people use for a lotta different purposes. So as we re-approach the 15-year-old+ Master Plan for the park, residents and visitors alike have to ask themselves what they want from an allocated $1M to begin the change.
The master plan’s stand-out feature is the complete closure of 2nd Street between Cherry and Junipero Avenues, adding an additional acre of park space and 20 new parking spaces thanks to the proposed 83-space lot on the west side where the current skate park is.
The “playful” park played upon a greater need for sports access: 2 “flex” courts (or what would be generically be called tennis courts), the possibility of bacci, basketball, and an expanded playground, an expanded skate park, given the popular use of the community center and the less-than-impressive north side entrance along Broadway, those facilities would be provided a much-needed facelift as well.
The “programmatic” design was the far more dramatic design given that the thoroughfare that is 2nd Street would be been entirely closed off. Not only does the park gain an additional acre of space, providing for an expanded play area, but the gaining of about 20 new parking spaces thanks to the 83-space lot on the west side where the current skate park is. The skate park will then be located more south, just above 1st.
People who attended the third and final Bixby Park Re-Planning meeting like two major things about the playful design: the restoration of historic “spine” of the park, that is, a single corridor along the center of the park between 1st and 2nd that is geared towards streamlining pedestrian activity with places to sit and hang out; and the re-location of the bathrooms into a more centralized area.
In regard to the programmatic design, people loved the idea of closing off 2nd Street as well as have a fitness loop that runs the perimeter while workout facilities are separated into stations.
This led Melani Smith, principal from Meléndrez, and her cohorts to come up with a mixture of the two in what is the proposed master plan for Bixby Park. Of course, we only have $1M allocated for now to begin to enact the concepts but there are a few standouts:
- The closure of 2nd Street between Cherry and Junipero Avenues, adding an additional acre of park space and 20 new parking spaces thanks to the 83-space lot on the west side where the current skate park is (our favorite).
- The at-grade crosswalk across Ocean between Cherry and Junipero.
- Condensed fitness loop running around the block between Ocean and 1st and Cherry and Junipero.
- Upgraded and expanded Community Center building with centralized restrooms and additional building on west side.
- Upgraded skate park.
- Entrance nodes that provide larger access.
- Entrance appeal along Broadway to feel more welcoming as well as more accessible.
- Enhanced crosswalks at 2nd on east side.