Thursday, July 18, 2024

The city is waiving Long Beach block party fees (which is cool and culturally important)

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Get ready to party—as in Long Beach block party. The city will waive the fee for a block party permit, as well as the cost to rent street barricades. (The latter can cost hundreds of dollars.)

And yes, you have time to get your application in if you want to host one for the 4th.

So what are the details behind this fee waiving of a Long Beach block party?

The City of Long Beach set aside $100,000 last year to support summer block parties and other activations of neighborhood spaces.

The permit includes the closure of public right of way—and that means the streets, not your lawn or backyard. It does not include space for bands, an amped DJ, jumpers, slides, or large structures because those aren’t permitted on the street. (But no one said anything about a good portable speaker). Your party can run any time between 7AM and 10PM on the day of the event or 7AM to 7PM on holidays and weekends. (And yes, that includes setup and tear-down.) Get your application in no later than 10 days before the event and you’re good to go. Click here to fill out the application.

Even more, the city also announced a microgrant program for established neighborhood associations to host events and improvement projects that “improve neighborhood spirit.” The application period for grants of up to $5,000 opened in March. The application can be found here.

Hosting a block party doesn’t just make your neighborhood better—it also makes it safer

Each summer, Bay Shore Avenue in Belmont Shore closes to vehicular traffic so that pedestrians can freely roam the street without fear of being hit and can also access Horny Corner more safely. And each summer, tens of thousands of feet and wheels—be that of wheelchairs, bikes, skateboards, strollers, or rolling skates—traipse through the street to enjoy the space. It is basically a Long Beach block party.

And each year, the city closes off streets across Long Beach to vehicular traffic for a handful of hours to allow bicyclists and pedestrians invade the arterials instead. It is part of what made last year’s Beach Streets in Downtown such a beautiful event: There was a sense of belonging and bubbly boisterousness, camaraderie and celebration, and a genuine reclamation of our streets and park spaces as human spaces; as spaces worthy of community, connection, and inclusivity.

There were people using their own driveways as spaces for games or candy to passersby. There were small businesses with doors wide open and tables set up to simply talk about their business. Groups of folks who set up an acoustic music mini-hub at a random corner. Some formally sanctioned; some done by the neighborhood with nothing more than their own choices.

Essentially, Beach Streets is also a Long Beach block party—and you too should host one. For free.

Why more people should take to the streets sans their vehicle is to simply remind others of how their environment was created. Urban centers aren’t the Rockies. Los Angeles is not Yosemite nor is Long Beach like the vast stretch of Death Valley. Cities are entirely manufactured by humanity—and that is what makes their beauty so specific and unique. It is what causes every person to pause at the skyline of a major city: It is something that doesn’t exist in nature and yet grew precisely out of it through humanity.

So own your city. Own your block. Have a party.

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.

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