The Long Beach City Council approved Tuesday night the Downtown and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Pedestrian Master Plan, the product of a three-year planning effort to create a safer and more enjoyable pedestrian-friendly downtown, as well as enhanced commuting options throughout Long Beach, according to the announcement released Thursday.

“The City is dedicated to implementing inclusive, healthy, and innovative transportation alternatives that offer more choice and convenience for those who live and work in Long Beach or come to visit,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “This Plan will enhance quality of life and stimulate the local economy for years to come.”

The council accepted a Planning Grant award on July 23, 2013 from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to prepare a plan to create new public and private investment around Metro light rail stations, support increased walking and transit use as an alternative to traveling by car and increase access to jobs and services for residents.

“The Downtown and TOD Pedestrian Master Plan provides policies and guidelines that support increased walking and transit use as an appealing alternative to automobile travel, and enhance the City’s urban core through sustainable infrastructure and improvement projects,” stated Amy Bodek, director of Long Beach Development Services. “This planning effort builds on our commitment to ensuring refined standards and forward-thinking development that improve accessibility and connectivity, and promote a more livable and sustainable Downtown.”

The plan includes a prioritized list of over 30 pedestrian infrastructure projects, including improvements to enhance beach access from the First Street Station and to develop a greenbelt that will serve as a connection between two Metro stations. The top 14 high-priority pedestrian improvement projects represent an invested $71 million to be carried out over the next 15 years.

The plan was developed through extensive community outreach, public workshops, stakeholder input, thorough analysis and city departmental coordination meetings, according to the release. For more information on the plan, click here

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Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].