Parklets in Long Beach became a fixture in front of many restaurants during the pandemic, but a City Council vote in June required business owners to begin the process of applying for permanent status or removing the structures entirely.
The council vote allowed business owners who had expressed interest in making their sites permanent to keep their temporary structures through September. Those who didn’t needed to remove their installations in July.
Many of the over 100 parklets and temporary dining areas across the city have already been removed, while over 60 locations have expressed interest in keeping theirs permanent, according to city data given to the Post through a public records request.
The city’s Public Works department notified businesses earlier this year about whether their sites were feasible for a permanent location. Joy Contreras, a spokesperson for Public Works, said locations within the Coastal Zone, which is generally the area south of Broadway, could have to go through a separate process that the city has not yet worked out.
Permanent parklets would likely look a lot different than many of the temporary ones currently around the city. Permanent structures would have to meet certain safety and building material requirements outlined in the city’s guidelines for permanent structures and could cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the design.
City officials had previously said that locations that caused traffic safety or ADA issues would likely not be considered for a permanent parklet. Blocking utilities, storm drains or other important public infrastructures were also factors that could disqualify a business from making its parklet permanent.
So far, the city has determined 43 locations across the city could be feasible for a permanent parklet location and some of those (18) would have to meet certain conditions before the city would sign off on them.
But not all of those businesses have expressed interest in making theirs permanent, and expressing interest doesn’t necessarily mean the business will go through with building out a permanent location.
In Belmont Shore, where residents have been the most vocal about ending the parklet program due to the impact on parking and residents’ complaints about noise and nuisances, a total of 20 locations were found to be feasible by the city including parklets at George’s Greek Cafe, Legends, Open Sesame and Saint and Second.
Some businesses, like Simmzy’s and Saint and Second, both of which are located on corners, can only keep permanent parklets on the smaller side streets and not Second Street.
Two locations in Belmont Shore, Quinn’s Pub and Dogz Bar and Grill, asked to be considered for permeant status but the city determined their parklets are not feasible due to narrow roadways and a lack of space in front of Dogz. Shannon’s Bayshore was also determined to be not feasible but did not ask the city for an extension.
Other businesses across the city that face conditional approval would have to work out agreements with neighboring businesses or modify their parklets to correct existing traffic safety issues and make them compatible with existing bike lanes.
Just a handful of businesses have already started the application process or have already been granted permits for a permanent parklet including The Breakfast Bar in Downtown, Modica’s Deli, Gusto Bread near Retro Row and La Parolaccia Osteria on Broadway.
Here’s a map of parklet locations and their status:
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