Street and sidewalk improvements will begin next week on Alamitos Avenue between Seventh Street and Orange Avenue, the City of Long Beach announced Friday.
“These infrastructure improvements will increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists," said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. "We are putting a special focus on safety around schools, parks, churches and other community sites.”
One traffic lane will be removed in each direction as part of a traffic-calming “road diet,” (leaving one traffic lane remaining in each direction, while the existing bicycle route will be augmented with new and enhanced striping.
“I am a strong supporter of road diets and am glad to see one coming to Alamitos Avenue,” stated Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. “Road diets contribute to pedestrian, bike and vehicular safety, as well as improve overall wellbeing.”
Alamitos Avenue is a pedestrian-priority area in the City’s Mobility Element and a major link to Long Beach’s overall bicycle network. The sidewalks to be improved are among the city’s identified safe routes for students to take to school, according to the release.
“The Alamitos Avenue improvements will add to our continued emphasis on traffic and pedestrian safety,” said Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez in a statement. “These improvements will connect Gumbiner Park, the Museum of Latin American Art and the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum and create an educational open space for our local schools and residents.”
The improvements to be made include resurfacing the pavement, repairing sidewalks, replacing damaged curbs and gutters, reconstructing deteriorated pavement and installing pavement markers, markings, traffic striping, signing and curb paint.
“I have been working on this mobility project for over a year with Brian Ulaszewki, Director of City Fabrick,” stated Councilmember Dee Andrews. “My main focus for creating the project is to make it safer for pedestrians and to create a livable mobility element that includes bike lanes.”
The bike lanes will be first in the Sixth District, said Andrews, who said the Alamitos Avenue project gives access to everybody, whether you’re a resident on your way to and from work, a parent walking their children to school or a bicyclist on their way to a business.
More than 2,000 tons of old asphalt material will be removed and recycled into new asphalt or used as base material for upcoming street projects. The street will be resurfaced with asphalt containing up to 15 percent recycled material and 589 tons of road base made from recycled concrete, rock, sand and asphalt. All concrete work will include recycled waste ash, diverting these materials from landfills, according to the release.
Motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes during the construction, as required lane closures will slow traffic. The city is also working with Long Beach Transit to minimize the impact on bus patrons taking the route that uses Alamitos Avenue.
The nearly $2 million project is financed by a combination of federal, state and local resources, including the Los Angeles County voter-approved Proposition C funds from sales tax. The project is expected to be completed in March 2016.