City Council to consider plan to block numerous streets to auto traffic for street dining

Long Beach could soon have more than 25 streets intermittently blocked off to vehicle traffic as part of a program to create more public dining space for businesses trying to open amid social distancing requirements.

The affected areas, located in all 9 Long Beach council districts, will be formally recommended to the City Council on Tuesday, June 16, as part of an open streets initiative.

The streets would be closed each day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to a staff report to the council. They will open space by “limiting cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets and repurposing these areas for active transportation such as walking, bicycling, and wheelchair rolling to activate neighborhoods. Adding more open public space will make it easier for people to move throughout the city and for businesses to survive.”

Restaurants had been limited to serving take-out for nearly 3 months as city officials sought to limit the spread of COVID-19. In late May officials announced restaurants could offer dine-in service, but only at 60% capacity.

The open streets initiative would allow restaurants to serve more diners in an outdoor setting.

The proposed list of neighborhoods which would be affected are:

Courtesy of the City of Long Beach.

The initial action by the council, which unanimously endorsed a general framework for opening public spaces in new ways, came with the support of the Chamber of Commerce and a task force empowered by the mayor, which released a detailed list of actions that could help businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday via teleconference.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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