The entrance to Los Angeles’s CicLAvia. Photo by Brian Addison.

The Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s (Metro) board has decided to fund only one of two proposed ciclovías in Long Beach despite both proposals being among the highest-ranking events seeking funding from the agency’s Open Street Program (OSP).

Metro took their staff’s recommendations for how OSP’s funds should be distributed for the biennial cycle, awarding money to 12 events throughout the county that promote biking, walking and pedestrian accessibility. 

Of the 21 proposals received by Metro, Long Beach’s two proposed ciclovías—both dubbed Beach Streets, which aimed for one in Downtown and one in North Long Beach—scored the two top highest rankings as far as how much they fit the mission of the OSP. However, Metro’s staff recommended funding only the Beach Streets for North Long Beach, the highest ranking event out of all proposals, not Downtown, which shared second spot with two other events.

“Long Beach disagrees with staff’s funding recommendations, as they do not adhere to Metro’s OSP,” said Long Beach City Manager Patrick West in a letter to Metro. “In comparison with some of the other events Metro has proposed to fund, Long Beach’s high-scoring events are more cost-effective and have a greater potential to reach a large number of Open Streets participants.”

Metro is not obligated to fund only one event per jurisdiction. Even more, the approved North Long Beach and Downtown Beach Streets would cost a combined $416K, an amount that is less than four of the lower-scoring projects Metro opted to fund. 

Joining West in dissent were representatives from the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) with President and CEO Kraig Kojian also sending a letter to the Metro Board.

“The [Downtown ciclovía] scored strongly on the criteria contained in the OSP application and has a greater potential to realize the goals of the program,” Kojian wrote. “As a supporter of efforts to encourage sustainable transportation use and having partnered with the City and other organizations to encourage increased walking, bicycling, and transit use, the DLBA believes Beach Streets: Downtown Long Beach will help build a broad support of future investments in bike and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as encourage transit use.”

The Beach Streets: Bixby Knolls and North Long Beach is set to premiere in Long Beach in Spring of 2015.

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