What is the Vision of the Long Beach Initiative?
Long Beach strives to be the most bicycle-friendly urban city in the country and to improve the walkability of their city.
How will the PLACE Initiative help the City Achieve its Vision?
Policy Change: Long Beach is using PLACE Program funds to update
the City’s General Plan (Long Beach 2030)
with active living policies and programs and amend the City’s Bicycle Master Plan. The plans will include pedestrian and bike
friendly principles that are based on community input and best-practice research. They will emphasize complete streets;
i.e. streets that meet the needs of all users of the roadway, including pedestrians, bicyclists, children, and the elderly,
as well as motorists. Additionally, the Bicycle Master Plan will identify potential bike lanes and facilities to be placed
throughout the city.
Physical Project: Accompanying this policy initiative is a physical project
comprised of two Bicycle Boulevards, which will transform residential streets into “bike expressways” while still accommodating
vehicle traffic in low volumes. One bike boulevard will travel in the North-South direction and the other in the East-West.
What City Departments are Actively Involved in the PLACE Initiative?
The PLACE Initiative is led by the Department of Public Works - Traffic and Transportation Bureau. Sumire Gant,
Traffic and Transportation Program Officer, oversees Mobility Coordinator Charles Gandy who is a full-time
consultant on this project. The Department of Development Services also plays a significant role in the PLACE
initiative. City Planner, Ira Brown spends approximately 25% of his time on the PLACE initiative. Lara Turnbull
from the City’s Health Department plays a key role in policy development and community outreach.
How is the City Building Political Will for Long Beach’s Vision?
The commitment of city leaders in policy
development is imperative in building political momentum
for Long Beach’s vision. City staff actively engages
community members in exploring ways to increase
walking and biking in their city. A number of city leaders and council members are avid cyclists and proponents
of creating a more bikeable and walkable city.
Additionally, the City recently hired Olympic cyclist, Tony Cruz, as its new Bike Ambassador. Mr. Cruz is an active member
of an informal bicycle group consisting of community leaders and decision-makers whose goal is to create a more bikeable city.
Who are the Initiative’s Partners and what are their Roles?
Long Beach BikeStation partners with the City on this initiative.
BikeStation is a non-profit organization that promotes cycling and operates bicycle parking stations in Long
Beach and other parts of California and the United States.
Long Beach BikeStation’s role in this initiative is to provide technical assistance and extensive outreach. They recruit volunteers
for initiative activities such as bike counts and focus groups. They identify bike experts to speak at brown-bag lectures for
staff and stakeholders. In addition, the BikeStation researches best practice efforts of other bike friendly cities.
What has the Initiative Accomplished so Far?
Mobility Coordinator: The initiative recently hired a new Long Beach
to work with City Staff and Long Beach BikeStation to reach Long Beach’s vision. Gandy is a nationally renowned bicycling advocate and
brings his cycling and community-based expertise to the Initiative. He is dedicated to collaborating with local community groups to
explore policies enabling residents to walk and bike.
2nd Street Sharrow Grand Opening: “Sharrows”
are street paths clearly demarcated as shared lanes for both vehicles and bicycles. The City recently painted a unique type of
sharrow on 2nd Street, in the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach and held a celebration bringing bike enthusiasts to celebrate the new sharrow. What is distinct about this sharrow is the inclusion of a 6-foot wide green striped lane, the only one of its kind west of
Salt Lake City. Long Beach recently instituted additional sharrows (without this green stripe) and hundreds of numbered bikeway signs,
furthering the improvement of the City’s bicycle infrastructure.
Conducted Outreach: The City contacted businesses and residents along the Belmont
Shore bike sharrows to discuss their reaction to the new bike facilities. The City has also begun to outreach to businesses in a
few other neighborhoods to gather input on bicycle friendly policies and the establishment of bike-friendly business districts
that would include discount programs to cyclists and marketing support for businesses.
Additionally the City coordinated Long Beach Bicycle Grand Prix Festival and Race to publicize the Bicycle Master Plan and to promote the City as
‘the most cycling friendly urban city in the United States’. This two-day event featured a variety of enjoyable bicycle-related
activities including: vendors, fashion shows, fixed gear demonstrations, bicycle acrobatics, and bike races. The event was
well-attended with over 2000 guests. They distributed surveys to gather feedback and received responses from 200 of the participants.
Conducted Site Visits: City staff visited other bike friendly cities on the west coast
including Portland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and Davis. These site visits gave city staff a firsthand account of effective bike
facility systems such as signage, bike boulevard design features, and positioning of bike racks that can possibly be used in the City
of Long Beach.
Created the Bike Long Beach Website:
The website is an effective method for public engagement and education and serves as a focal point for the City’s "Bike Long Beach”
campaign to make the City more bike and pedestrian friendly. The site provides bike law and safety information, detailed information
and links to the Long Beach 2030, proposed physical projects, and current bike-related news and events.
How will the Initiative Know more People are Biking in Long Beach?
Bicycle Counts: The City is committed to measuring the impact of its efforts.
Bike counts allow the city to assess whether more people bike after improvements are implemented. An initial bike count in
October 2008 established a baseline measurement and ongoing counts are being conducted every October. The results of these
counts are used to steer the City’s efforts to enhance Long Beach’s bicycle infrastructure and riding conditions.
Sharrow Use Counts: With the recent installation of the “sharrow” on 2nd Street,
additional bike counts in this area will be conducted to evaluate the level of use by bicyclists. This will determine if the
new street design features influence the number of people biking.
What Other Funding Sources are Supporting this Vision?
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA):
The City of Long Beach was recently awarded a $900,000 grant by the LA County MTA. This grant will pay for the completion
of six bike boulevards, two of which are also being funded by the PLACE Initiative.
Safe Routes to School Funding:
Caltrans granted the City of Long Beach a Safe Routes to Schools award of $500,000. Funds are used to teach students
attending the 60 elementary and middle schools in Long Beach how to ride their bikes safely.
What Technical Assistance has the Initiative Received from the PLACE Program?
Expert Presentation on Livable Streets: Traffic engineer Michael Moule
presented to over 60 community and City staff members on effective street design - such as traffic circles - for bicyclists
and pedestrians. Mr. Moule also provided the City with an analysis of proposed bicycle facilities (protected bike lanes,
road diets, and roundabouts) on several city streets.
Bike Boulevard Tool Kit: Alta Planning + Design produced a Bike Long Beach Tool Kit,
a promotional education tool kit to inform community members and decision makers of features that can increase the bikeability of a city.
Who Should I Contact if I Want More Information about the Long Beach Initiative?
For more information about this initiative, please visit the Bike Long Beach Website
or email Charlie Gandy, Mobility Coordinator
for the City of Long Beach PLACE Initiative: Charles.Gandy@longbeach.gov.