Photos by Asia Morris.
The City of Long Beach was named the No. 10 Most Bike-Friendly City in America, according to a national survey that used data from Zillow.com and was featured on Active.com, a hugely popular source for those seeking athletic activities.
“The national recognition we have received for our investments in bike infrastructure is fantastic,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “Many residents in our City rely solely on bicycles as a means of transportation, which is why it is critical we create safe and effective routes for them to get to work, school, the grocery store, and to our award winning parks. These investments also help our local economy by improving access to our business corridors.”
The survey assessed how many cyclists per 1,000 commuters rode to work, median bicycle commute time, miles of protected bike lanes and whether bicycle storage facilities were mentioned on current listings. Long Beach came in with eight cyclists per every 1,000 commuters, taking approximately 22 minutes to ride to work, with six rental listings out of every 1,000 mentioning some kind of bicycle storage.
While Long Beach seemed to have a low mileage of protected bike lanes, with downtown’s 3rd Street and Broadway lanes amounting to a total of two miles of offered protection, most of the cities included in Zillow’s analysis do not have protected bike lanes at all, including Las Vegas, Kansas City, Phoenix and Miami, according to the article.
Protected bike lanes seem to garner mixed reactions from cyclists, anyway, and are certainly not the end-all-be-all infrastructure on whether a city should be considered bicycle-friendly or not. At the least, it shows an effort on the city’s part to try out different methods toward improving bikeability, whether those methods end up a smashing success or not.
“Making Long Beach a great place to live for all of our residents is a top priority for us,” said City Manager Patrick West in a statement. “The investments we’ve made, and the recent livability initiatives, help to underscore our commitment making Long Beach the best place to live, work, and play.”
The city paired the good news of the survey with an announcement that 14 “recharge stations,” which include a bike fix-it stand and a water fountain designed to refill bottles, have been installed at several Long Beach parks, along the coast and at City Hall. The small, brightly colored stops also have a universal bicycle pump for any rider in need of a tire fill on their way to their destination.
Photo courtesy of the City of Long Beach.
The 14 locations are Houghton Park, in Bixby Knolls at a pocket park near Georgie’s Place, Admiral Kidd Park, 14th Street Park at Locust Avenue, City Hall, at Alamitos Beach near the restrooms and bike path, just east of the Belmont Pier pier by the parking lot, at the start of the bike path on Bayshore, at the Alamitos Bay Marina restrooms by Joe's Crab Shack, in the parking lot by the library and senior center at El Dorado Park West, by the San Gabriel River Trail in El Dorado Park East, in Heartwell Park in front of the Ruth Bach Library, Chittick Field and Mac Arthur Park next to the Homeland Community Center.
The 14 stations were phase one of a larger installation, as the city has added four additional bottle filler drinking fountains, two at the Cherry Beach restrooms, one by Dock 10 at the beginning of the Shoreline Village bike path and one at the end of the same path by the Parks and Rec Marine Bureau office, according to Michael Johnston who has been working closely with West on the stations.
A map that pinpoints the location of each "recharge station" is currently being updated to include all locations.
Funds for the stations were provided by a state grant, while the stations located along the coast were funded by the Tidelands Capital Budget. The city will continue to promote its Livability Initiatives, which include bikeability, walkability, and swimability, according to the release.