Long Beach Named Silver-Level Walk Friendly Community

The influential nonprofit Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has recognized Long Beach (along with six other communities) as a Silver-Level Walk Friendly Community (WFC).

The PBIC, established in 1999, is an organization whose mission is to improve communities via increased access to walkable and bikable neighborhoods and spaces. Its Walk Friendly Community program—a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and FedEx—is a nationwide initiative aimed at evaluating and recognizing cities and communities which seek to establish walking safety as a high priority.

This encouragement to engage in walking and biking is not based solely around the much-touted environmental benefits. It’s a logical one: 40% of the trips we take as humans are shorter than two miles—easily achievable via foot or bike. And given that the lack of relying on a personal vehicle has both health benefits as well as economic ones, it is clear why communities which have high foot and bike traffic increase local business as well as create jobs.

“By making it easier and safer for our residents and visitors to walk to their destinations, we are reducing the number of vehicle trips, calming traffic through our many neighborhoods, and improving the overall quality of life in Long Beach,” Mayor Bob Foster said in a press release.

Long Beach was largely recognized for its head-to-toe involvement in pedestrian access, from the administrative to planning level.

The Long Beach Police Department is “dedicated to pedestrian safety enforcement,” according to the PBIC. The Department not only requires that all officers are trained in pedestrian laws and safety but also has 30 bike patrol officers.

Long Beach Transit (LBT) was also included in the organization’s highlights, with references to its transformed Transit Gallery that feels more user-friendly along with its work with the City Public Works Department. Given that 93% of our citizens live within a quarter-mile of a bus stop, LBT offers short headways that make walking more sensible.

Amongst other highlights included the fact that all 20 bridges within the city include pedestrian provisions and the City offers some 30 miles of trails throughout its limits.

Other cities recognized with silver-level awards include: Alexandria, VA; Charlottesville, VA; Decatur, GA; Philadelphia, PA; Redwood City, CA; and Santa Monica, CA. There was only one platinum award and that was given to Seattle, WA.

For a complete list of Walk Friendly Communities, click here.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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