Thursday, May 30, 2024

Beach Streets to return in Fall with entirely new route in North Long Beach

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After fear that not a single Beach Streets event would happen in 2024 at all due to a lack of funding, city officials have formally cleared the way for Beach Streets Uptown to move forward in the fall.

Hold up—what is Beach Streets and why was it considered at danger of not happening?

Birthed on the streets of Bogatá in Colombia as a ciclovía and then taken around the world in various forms—including L.A.s own, wildly popular CicLAvia series of events—Beach Streets is a reflection of that borrowed form: It is basically a car-free event which momentarily hands back the roads of cities to basically anything without a motor, be it your bike, skateboard, stroller, skates, wheelchair, or your very two feet should they be able to used for walking.

Originally slated for May 11 of this year, Beach Streets Uptown was to see the clearing of vehicular traffic from various parts of three streets—Atlantic Avenue from Wardlow Road down to Harding Street, mimicking the event’s inaugural route in 2015—and replace them with humans.

However, Metro opted to not fund Beach Streets Uptown at their January 2024 board meeting approving cycle five of their Open Streets Grant program that was created in 2013. The board handed over $5.5 million in funds toward 16 events throughout the county, all of which are scheduled to be staged from January of this year through December 2025—and they openly noted that funding for projects which have already been funded previously and multiple times were likely to have those funds directed toward newer program in needier communities.

Hence the lack of funding for Beach Streets Uptown. This halted the Beach Streets Uptown event but did not outright cancel it—or, as City of Long Beach representative Kevin Lee puts it, “We will make it happen despite not having the Metro funding this year,” noting the City has already set aside $100,000 for the event.

Beach Streets Uptown 2024 will be held along a yet-to-be-determined route along Artesia Boulevard

Lee noted that the event will be switched to an Artesia Boulevard-focused route given the massive, $36.2M “Great Boulevard” project will be complete after it broken ground in February of 2023. With it is the entire reimagining of the key North Long Beach arterial, providing the 3.2-mile stretch of Artesia between Harbor Avenue and Downey Avenue with protected bike lanes, bulb outs, upgraded landscaping, and new medians.

Yes, that means an entirely new route for Beach Streets participants—though that route has to be formally determined as Lee noted that event planners are likely to be focused on Pride and once that is over, spend more time developing Beach Streets Uptown.

Beach Streets West Long Beach to move forward in 2025

Meanwhile, Beach Streets West Long Beach was awarded funding for its May 10, 2025 event at the cycle approval—$250,000 instead of the $300,000 requested by the City of Long Beach—and it is likely because the Westside has yet to have had such an event.

West Long Beach’s access to green space is heavily impacted: Westside residents have a paltry acre per 1,000 residents or what amounts to about a soccer field. This is far below the National Recreation and Parks Association’s standards for a Healthy City, set at a minimum of 10 acres of parks for every 1,000 of its residents. In fact, West Long Beach is legally deemed “park poor,” particularly compared to the East Side, a portion of Long Beach that averages a staggering 16.7 acres/1,000 residents thanks to the massive 650-acre El Dorado Park.

So an event like this immediately expands their access to free space—and while it might not be a park, it will

Beach Streets West Long Beach will shutter 3.3 miles of streets, including Santa Fe Avenue between Hill and Willow Streets as well as portions of Delta Avenue.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Beach Streets was on Pacific from Willow to downtown in 2019, so there actually has been one on the west side, but not for a few years.

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