Oh thank the gods, Long Beach is deciding to return the talks back to focusing on the rundown Broadway corridor, a street in dire need of better sidewalks, road repairs, and a desperate need to slow down traffic that use it as a speedway more than an access route. Under the direction of Councilmember Jeannine Pearce, the meeting will be held Saturday, May 6, at Bixby Park Community Center at noon.
The reason? Well, the City actually money to follow through on infrastructural needs thanks to the passage of Measure A.
“This will be our first major plunge into the approved Measure A funds for public infrastructure,” Pearce said. “The goals of the Broadway Visioning Study, completed in February of last year, were to make the Broadway Corridor a residential destination and to create a distinct identity through the corridor that recognizes and emphasizes the cultural differences between its neighborhoods.”
To this day, I kick myself in the ass for losing the data but I decided to sit at various main points on Broadway—from Temple on the East to Orange on the west—clocking cars with a speedometer.
And it was a rarity anyone was traveling under 45, let alone at the 35 speed limit. One guy I even clocked at going 60.
It was this little experiment that sparked a lot of my advocacy for the Broadway Corridor, lovingly referred to as the “Gayborhood.” That was five years ago in an op-ed that lovingly budged the side of my LGBTQ community with a misleading title. But the points of that piece stand clear: since Broadway was a place I not only frequented but lived near and traveled through, it was frightening that it lacked some of the basics that all main corridors need and should have.
Good lighting. Wider sidewalks. Lower speedsters. Better accessibility. Parklets would be wonderful for Sunday brunch but why would any business in their right mind put their patrons on a parklet next to cars using the road as a mini-freeway to Alamitos?
Shortly after my many rants, then-Councilmember Suja Lowenthal decided to do something about, hosting a set of two Broadway visioning series.
The first one largely revolved around the street traffic itself and how possible road diets and tricks like chicanes could slow down cars while gathering opinions from locals about what they would like to see. The second was more visionary, offering renderings of what could be done with bulb outs at major intersections like Falcon and Junipero.
These plans were, as the visuals show (and whether or not you agree with them aesthetically) a bold, if not outright shoot-for-the-stars images of public real estate being focus number one and the car being afforded the least amount of attention.
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