Neighborhood streets throughout Long Beach can soon be closed to make way for pedestrians, cyclists and businesses that want to expand beyond their storefronts.
The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously at its Tuesday, June 16, meeting to move forward with the first phase of the city’s “open streets” initiative.
Through the program, the following streets will be allowed to be closed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. any day of the week, with neighborhoods determining the schedule within those hours that work best for them:
The Promenade North from East Third Street to East Fifth Street
East Fourth Street to Long Beach Boulevard
Florida Street from Orange Avenue to Junipero Avenue
Linden Avenue from Ocean Boulevard to Broadway
St. Louis Avenue from Fourth Street to Fifth Street
Gaviota Avenue from 10th Street to 11th Street
Roycroft Avenue north of Second Street
Molino Avenue from 10th Street to 15th Street
11th Street from Junipero Avenue to St. Louis Avenue
23rd Street from Lakewood Boulevard to Clark Avenue
San Anseline Avenue from Spring Street to Parkcrest Street
Karen Avenue from Spring Street to Parkcrest Street
Julian Avenue from Tarma Street to Ring Street
Charlemagne Avenue from Spring Street to Parkcrest Street
Stevely Avenue from Spring Street to Parkcrest Street
Lama Avenue from Marna Avenue to East Rosina Street
Fela Avenue between East Tarma Street and East Ring Street
Lilly Avenue from North El Dorado Drive north
Pine Avenue from Pacific Coast Highway to Willow Street
DeForest Avenue between Spring Street and Hill Street
Linden Avenue between 36th Street and Bixby Road
37th Street west of Cherry Avenue to the alley
Hill Street from Santa Fe Avenue to Webster Avenue
Cartagena Avenue east of Atlantic Avenue to the alley
Claiborne Drive east of Atlantic Avenue to the alley
Claiborne Drive west of Long Beach Boulevard to the alley
Plymouth Street west of Long Beach Boulevard to the alley
Platt Street from Long Beach Boulevard to Cedar Avenue
Harding Street from Atlantic Avenue to Orange Avenue
Obispo Avenue from South Street to 70th Street
Linden Avenue from South Street to Harding Street
Myrtle Avenue from South Street to 72nd Street
Public Works Director Craig Beck said the focus for now is on neighborhood streets because closing down bigger thoroughfares could have much bigger impacts on traffic flow. The city is still looking at incorporating arterial streets, like Retro Row on Fourth Street, into the “open streets” concept, but those proposals — which would likely incorporate something like a temporary road diet, rather than a full closure — have not yet been finalized.
City staff emphasized in Tuesday’s meeting that the traffic engineer will not use a one-size-fits-all approach to the closures. Different neighborhoods will have different needs, Beck said, and part of Tuesday’s vote authorized the traffic engineer to incorporate flexibility into the program to allow the hours or the extent of closures within the approved streets, for example, to suit the residents and businesses of the area.
Fifth District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, for her part, said she hoped city staff would seek input from people who live and work near the affected streets to determine how to use that flexibility.
“It really needs the input of the neighbors on those streets,” she said, “and it really needs the input of the communities that will participate and support it.”
The program will last through October. Beck said that timeline was chosen to coincide with daylight saving time.
While the program is important to allow residents to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining a safe physical distance from others to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Beck said, he added that it will also be vital to businesses and their ability to rebound from the pandemic.
“We want to ensure that all our businesses have the greatest opportunity for success as they reopen after the impacts that the COVID virus had and the closures to in-store dining,” he said, “so by adding both parklets and some street closures, we’ve been able to maximize areas for residents to come and enjoy those businesses at safe physical distances.”