The Artesia Boulevard corridor in North Long Beach will undergo a year-long facelift that will include pedestrian and cyclist safety improvements, with the city projecting the project to be complete by the end of 2023.

Known as the “Artesia Great Boulevard Project,” the $36.2 million plan will transform the 3.2-mile stretch of Artesia that runs through Long Beach while maintaining the total number of travel lanes at four, despite adding protected bike lanes in both directions.

The project also includes new landscaping, medians, pedestrian bulb-outs that will shorten the distance of crosswalks and new bike lanes that will be protected by on-street parking and new landscaping. A number of pedestrian signals will also be installed that will allow people to cross the street safely at intersections without signals.

A total of 18 bus shelters will also see improvements in addition to upgraded traffic signals and lighting once the project is complete. It could also include a mural project where Artesia goes under the 710 Freeway.

Councilmember Rex Richardson, who represents the majority of North Long Beach, said that this project had been a point of emphasis for over a decade, noting that his predecessor, Steve Neal, said the condition of the corridor was “shameful.”

Richardson said the project would be transformative for the area and would be a big boost to safety for Jordan High School, which sits near the corner of Artesia and Atlantic Avenue.

The project will span from Susana Avenue in the west to Downey Avenue in the east, but similar bike lines that residents can expect along the full project already exist west of Orange Avenue.

Public Works spokesperson Joy Contreras said construction could start as soon as the end of this year and it’s expected to take about 180 working days to complete. The timeline could be complicated by unforeseen weather conditions, but Contreras said the hope is to be done by the end of 2023.

Contreras said only one side of Artesia will be under construction at a time so that the entire street is not affected by ongoing work.

“Usually the second side goes quicker because we learn a lot from the first side,” Contreras said about the expected timeline.

The project is being paid for primarily through grants from Los Angeles County Metro, which is contributing about $30 million in grant funding. The remainder is being paid for through various other regional tax revenue approved by voters over the years with about $500,000 coming from Measure A bonds that the city agreed to issue in the recently approved budget.

The conversation to rebuild Artesia started years ago, but the price of the project has nearly doubled and its groundbreaking, originally set for late 2021, was pushed back. Now, with the project fully funded, the start of construction could be just months away.

City officials have called the project more than street improvements, saying that this is a community development effort that can serve as a foundation to help draw new businesses to the area.

It’s one of four corridors the city has planned to renovate over the next few years. It’s already started construction on Market Street and plans to address Anaheim Street and Studebaker Road in its five-year infrastructure plan approved in the most recent budget.

Ambitious reconstruction of Artesia Boulevard to break ground winter 2021

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.