Over a year after the announcement that the Broadway Corridor would be receiving a massive and much-needed overhaul, Phase III of the construction project—stretching between Molino and Redondo—will continue on what will essentially be an entirely new street.
The project, expected to be completed by December with contracted work being performed Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., is a massive undertaking.
Much to the applause of urbanists and lovers of streets, the Broadway Corridor is the first and largest infrastructure project from Measure A funds, with improved and widened sidewalks, new pavement, increased public real estate at intersections, bike lanes, and a road reconfiguration that will slow down cars in what business owners and residents alike have described as a “speedway” for drivers desperate to connect to Downtown or access the 710 further west.
The project’s smaller aspects began earlier this year, with the additions of 121 new parking spaces along First and Second streets—up from the original 101 spots being proposed for the upgrade last year—as well as the tree removal along Broadway to create wider and safer sidewalks. However, the parking spots along Broadway will be removed and, according to city spokesman Kevin Lee, the additional spots that were created recently will “make the area parking neutral” when the project is complete.
I’ve been a longtime and outspoken advocate for a better Broadway—and not just because I wanted to see bike lanes (which, as further noted below, the bike network is becoming more efficient thanks to this project).
Complete streets aren’t about siphoning off car access but rather examining the neighborhoods that their main streets run through. And in the case of Broadway, years after years of community meetings have led to these main concerns: Calming down traffic, heightening bike connections, widening sidewalks, improving parking, adding better lighting, and providing facade improvements for buildings.
This probably explained why the neighborhood surrounding the Broadway Corridor voted for Measure A—the tax initiative that focused on generating safety and public infrastructure funds—by over 80 percent.
Representatives from the Public Works Department emphasized last year they are not solely focused on the Spandex-clad bike clubbers but rather the “eight-to-80 crowd” that uses their bike alone, walks to the park, invests in the neighborhoods, and uses the streets for more than driving.
The bike lanes are probably the biggest deal in terms of transit as it allows a much more efficient, safer connection between Long Beach east of Alamitos and west of it.
Currently, bicyclists take Third and are met with the dangerous intersection at Alamitos, where they have to weave through cars to get onto the Downtown protected lanes—and, being heralded as an achievement, the city is changing that thanks to a reconfiguration of the downtown lanes to create smoother connections.
For questions and concerns regarding the project, call the city’s project hotline number at 562-908-3518.
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