price midterm

LET’S TALK. Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price talks about her first two years in office Sunday at the Long Beach Museum of Art.

Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price has set a meeting next Tuesday to talk again about a planned lane reduction on Ocean Boulevard between Livingston Drive and the Peninsula.

Price first unveiled the proposal in July, after completion of a traffic study in the area. Since that first meeting and a story in the Gazette at that time, some residents have organized opposition to the plan.

The traffic study, conducted in the spring and summer of 2015, showed an average of 7,000 vehicles a day on that stretch of Ocean Boulevard. With only two stop signs, speed was a concern along the route, Price said. Traffic engineer Paul Van Dyk said a comparable four-lane street would carry 25,000 to 30,000 cars a day.

As a solution to the speed and to allow better pedestrian crossing, Van Dyk and City Traffic Engineer Eric Widstrand have proposed reducing the eastbound street to one lane (leaving westbound Ocean two lanes). The extra space would be used to create a dedicated bike lane and 150 spaces of diagonal parking, predominantly at the western end of the street, near Livingston Drive and the commercial area.

Price said in July that there would be specific parking plans required for major events on the beach or the Belmont Pool. The added diagonal parking would be between 39th Place and Bennett Avenue and from Granada Avenue to 54th Place, with gaps for beach parking lot entrances. The spaces could be used for nearby apartment buildings as well as commercial or beach parking, Price said.

Those parking in the diagonal spaces would have the buffer of a bike lane when backing out before rejoining traffic.

Price has set aside more than $100,000 in her “Divide by Nine” share of infrastructure money for the project. A similar “traffic diet” reducing lanes to slow speeds was completed last year on Broadway, reportedly with good results.

Opponents of the plan say it will cause unbearable congestion at the entrance to the Peninsula and at Bay Shore Avenue, particularly in the summer. They claim the proposal is a solution looking for a problem.

“This project came as a direct result of frequent concerns of speeding along this corridor and is intended to increase safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians by reducing speeds,” Price wrote in the meeting announcement. “(We are holding this meeting) in order to provide an update as this project moves forward and address any concerns or misinformation.”

Tuesday’s meeting will include a presentation from the traffic engineer and there will be police and fire representatives to answer questions regarding traffic enforcement and emergency vehicle response. The Special Events Bureau also will have a representative on hand to answer questions.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Third District field office, 340 Nieto Ave. For more information, call (562) 570-6300.

Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at hsalt@gazettes.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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