We love Bixby Park, as we’ve discussed both its rich history and its potential future (as well as current, completed projects like the absolutely gorgeous Bluff at Bixby Park). And while some may be annoyed, we’re ecstatic to have seen construction signs go up.
When it was proposed in spring of last year to update the outdated Bixby Park Master Plan from 1998, it was met with a mixed reaction because, well, many were fearful that community meeting after community would lead to a big, massive document of great ideas that would only have a place on a shelf gathering dust.
Vice Mayor Suaj Lowenthal isn’t unaware of this bureaucratic apathy—which is precisely why she set aside $1M in funds to assure that the project, which may not necessarily be completed in one fell swoop, would at least take tangible form after the updated Master Plan was formally released.
The $1M will be put forth for very specific projects, namely:
- New Restroom Facilities: New centrally located restroom facility and upgrade of existing restrooms
- Central Spine: Organization of improvements along a central path, flanked by large-canopy trees
- Enhanced Bandshell: Upgrades to the seating area in front of the bandshell
- Friends of Bixby Park improvements: Funding to complete the Friends of Bixby Park design
- Entry Paths along Broadway: Inclusion of entry nodes along Broadway at Cherry Avenue and Junipero Avenue
- Fitness Loop and Exercise Equipment: Inclusion of a fitness loop around Parcel 3 (bounded by Ocean to the south and 1st to the north)
- Crossing Enhancements: Continental crossings along all streets surrounding Bixby Park
- Site Furnishings: Inclusion of benches, bike parking, and trash cans
- Raised Table Crossings: Raised table mid-block crossings on 1st Street and 2nd Street
- Paths to Bluff Overlook: Direct connection to the beach from the Bixby Annex
- Playground Renovation: Nature-play themed renovations
“It is important to note that the Master Plan is really used as a road map for future projects and full implementation of the plan will need to be phased due to funding constraints,” Lowenthal said. “As funding is secured and a project selected for each phase, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine will communicate with the community the scope of the proposed project and any potential impacts, such as parking, traffic… There will also be another opportunity for public input on the project at that time.”
Sitting along nearly 17 acres and broken into four parcels divided by Ocean, 1st, 2nd, and Broadway, the park is an inherent, communal part of Alamitos Beach and Bluff Heights. This isn’t just anecdotal. According to a study done on the park, at any random point on the park’s busiest days—Tuesdays and Saturdays, when the farmers market invades—between 10AM and 4PM, somewhere between 950 and 1,500 people visit Bixby Park on average. The vast majority (about 90%) of users being adults and teens. Walking, skateboarding, and shopping are the most popular activities on Tuesday while walking, gathering (BBQ, picnic, etc.), and people watching are the most popular on Saturday. This means that a lot of people use for a lot of different purposes.
For the kids, they shall rejoice: the Camp Bixby play area, surrounded by fences for weeks, will be opening on September 4.
We can’t wait to see more of the new Bixby Park.
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