12:30pm | Following the unanimous decision last night by the Council to approve a resolution granting the City to apply for a special grant through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), proponents of altering the landscape of the west side of Long Beach were joyous.
The Council watched happily as ten people approached the podium in favor of the resolution, including a young man, Caleb Walker, who brought his own cohort of a dozen friends in support. Confidently stating that this is an opportunity to build a better neighborhood, he said it "time to plant trees, not trucks."
The resolution approved the City Manager's ability to apply for a grant of $300,000 through Caltrans's community-based Transportation Planning Grant Program, a program in which Caltrans annually grants awards for the preparation of major transportation planning studies that "promote strong and healthy communities, economic growth, and enhanced mobility within cities."
The red overlay indicates what the new project hopes to achieve.
In the case of west Long Beach, if awarded, the grant will be used to develop a plan that entirely re-imagines a portion of the Terminal Island Freeway north of Pacific Coast Highway all the way to Willow Street. The plan's hopeful end would be the entire removal of the freeway in the that portion (regard above), turning it into a local street as well as making enhancements via street extensions that improves the mobility of the neighborhood as a whole. The lower portion of the freeway would be re-directed onto northbound Pacific Coast Highway.
Wilmington Park transformed this former industrial complex (left) into an expansive greenbelt (right) buffering residents from the port complex. Photos courtesy of Port of Los Angeles.
Even more importantly, the portion of the freeway being removed is City-owned land; if removed, the surplus land size falls in the arena of some 25-acres that could be used to create a mile-long greenbelt, similar to the Wilmington Park Yards proposal pictured above that has altered the area.
The grant is due by April 2; winners will be announced later this year.