Mark Bixby and bicycles were synonymous.
A community leader involved with numerous causes and groups across Long Beach, Bixby was, perhaps, most memorably known as a cycling advocate involved in everything from creating the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, helping start the Long Beach Bike Festival, and championing the city’s national reputation as a bike-friendly city.
On March 16, 2011, Bixby and four others—Thomas Dean, Jeffrey Berger, Bruce Krall and Kenneth Cruz—perished aboard a private plane that crashed shortly after takeoff at Long Beach Airport. A sixth passenger, Mike Jensen, Bixby’s colleague, survived with serious injuries.
Tuesday evening, family and friends gathered to remember the 10th anniversary of the accident, near a memorial sculpture called “Forming Wave,” at the entrance of the Belmont Pier, designed by local artist Patrick Vogel.
Around the time of his death, Bixby, who hailed from one of the city’s founding families, was a leading advocate to build a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly access path on the replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge in the Port of Long Beach.
Former state Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, chair of the Assembly transportation committee at the time, led an effort in the Legislature to name the new path the Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle Pedestrian Path.
On Tuesday evening, Lowenthal recalled Bixby’s sweeping influence and involvement across Long Beach.
“It’s a privilege, as chair of the committee, to be able to participate in the naming of major infrastructure projects after deserving individuals,” said Lowenthal, who currently serves on the Long Beach Harbor Commission. “When it comes to someone you know personally, who has done so much for our city, it’s a privilege that’s so much more meaningful and challenging.”
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