Construction begins on moving bike lanes in Downtown Long Beach

Construction has formally begun on moving the Downtown Long Beach bikes lanes that run westbound on Third Street and eastbound on Broadway to opposite sides in order to create a more seamless bicycling network.

A community meeting about the streetscape improvements is happening at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Courtyard by Marriott, located at 500 E. First St.

Part of the Third Street and Broadway Streetscape Project that began earlier this month—which includes upgrades to sidewalks, curbs and gutters, street resurfacing, ADA upgrades, and enhanced pedestrian features such as continental crosswalks and upgraded bus stops.

The move brought cheers from the bicycling community.

For any bicyclist who rides east or west through the southern stretch of Long Beach, Alamitos Avenue presents a frustrating line of division: Right before you hit the protected bike lane on Third Street at Alamitos heading west, you must switch from the north side of Third, cross the intersection with eastbound traffic and northbound traffic from Alamitos traffic turning onto Third, and cross over three lanes to (hopefully) make it into the protected bike lane on the south side of Third.

3rd Street, Broadway bike lanes in Downtown to be moved for “seamless connections”

That long-standing uncomfortable transition—this intersection has existed this way since the installation of the popular bike lanes back in April of 2011—will now be gone thanks to this project.

City officials have opted to move the portion of the bike lane between Magnolia Street and Alamitos Avenue to the other side of Third, and they’re doing the same thing on Broadway. In other words, those traveling westbound on Third will stay on the right-hand side of the street as well as those traveling eastbound on Broadway.

“The existing parking-protected bike lanes from Magnolia Avenue to Alamitos Avenue will be relocated from the left side of the road to the right side with enhanced green road markings at intersections and driveways,” said Jennifer Carey of the city’s Public Works Department. “The new, more intuitive configuration will provide seamless bike connections with current and forthcoming bike facilities east of Alamitos Avenue.”

The project’s focus on seamlessness works two ways: Bicyclists now avoid having to dangerously cross in front of cars west of Alamitos and, on Broadway, the shift in the placement coincides with the now-underway Broadway re-visioning construction taking place between Alamitos and Redondo avenues.

A community meeting to discuss the Third Street and Broadway Streetscape Project will be held tomorrow at the Courtyard by Marriott, located at 500 E First St., at 7 p.m.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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