Los Angeles’s most recent ciclovía, dubbed CicLAvia. Photo by Brian Addison.
After a Metro staff recommendation list was accidentally leaked, one thing is clear: Long Beach looks like it will officially have its first ciclovía in Spring 2015.
Dubbed “Beach Streets,” the ciclovía—where streets are essentially cut off from cars and trucks to make way for bicyclists, skateboards, roller skates, and feet—will take place in North Long Beach and Bixby Knolls. According to Mobility Coordinator Nate Baird, the event will tentatively take over segments of Atlantic Ave., Long Beach Blvd., Wardlow Rd., San Antonio Dr., and Market St. This means that the inaugural ciclovía will cater to an area of our city that is often shadowed by the ever-booming downtown and shoreline.
Beach Streets in North LB earned the highest scoring bid out of 21 high scoring proposals vying for Metro’s Open Streets monies; twelve events, each from a differing city across the county, will eventually score funds from the $3.7M pot. What is even more impressive is that Long Beach ranked high for three proposed events; the only other city to achieve that was LA. Long Beach also proposed a Downtown Beach Streets—#4 on the list—as well as funding to help promote the annual Grand Prix-View—#14 on the list—which opens up the Grand Prix track to bicyclists, walkers, skaters, and anything but cars.
Metro has become a major sponsor for open streets events, allocating millions in event funding for events occuring between July 1, 2014 through June 30th, 2016. However, Metro will only grant money to one event per city—even though the system is explicitly designed to assess need, including how it will benefit marginalized neighborhoods and people. Should it have been approved, the $160K Downtown Beach Streets would have catered to the Blue Line stops at Pacific, the Transit Mall, 1st Street, and 5th Street.
Metro staff will recommend that $260K be given for the Beach Streets in North Long Beach first to the Metro Planning and Programming Committee, then the full Metro Board. These approvals are expected in June 2014.