Street renovations will create bicycle lanes for residents and refurbish roads

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Residents in Long Beach’s 6th Council District will have another method of mobility after a recent street project in the area will introduce new bicycle lanes.

Street and sidewalk improvements began this week along Alamitos Avenue, between 7th Street and Orange Avenue. The road project is in direct response to the needs expressed in the community for calmer traffic speeds and greater pedestrian accessibility to various schools, parks and churches along specific parts of Alamitos, according to the Office of 6th District Councilmember Dee Andrews.

“Adding the bike lanes, the first in central Long Beach, will serve residents who use bicycles as a form of transportation,” said Andrews’s office in a statement to the Signal Tribune, “whether that is accessing the half dozen schools along Alamitos Avenue, accessing the various hospitals and medical clinics in the area or the major job center that downtown is. It means safe, accessible lanes for bicyclists.”

The high speed of traffic had cyclists sharing the narrow parts of the sidewalk with pedestrians. The new configuration will provide enough room for buffered bike lanes along the road, freeing up the existing sidewalk for pedestrians. The project also includes some sidewalk bulb-outs, high-visibility crosswalks and advanced vehicle stops lines at signalized intersections.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia echoed Andrews’s sentiments about safer and accessible roads.

“These infrastructure improvements will increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists,” Garcia said in a press release. “We are putting a special focus on safety around schools, parks, churches and other community sites.”

According to the City of Long Beach, improvements will include the following: resurfacing the pavement; repairing sidewalks; replacing damaged curbs and gutters; reconstructing deteriorated pavement; and installing pavement markers, markings, traffic striping, signing and curb paint.

Temporary lane closures and traffic delays will come as a result of the project.

The project will remove one traffic lane in each direction of Alamitos Avenue as part of a “road diet,” or a lane reduction. The roads will remain open during those working hours, but people can expect delays, and the City of Long Beach is advising motorists to take alternate routes.

“I am a strong supporter of road diets and am glad to see one coming to Alamitos Avenue,” said Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal in the press release. “Road diets contribute to pedestrian, bike and vehicular safety, as well as improve overall well-being.”

The City of Long Beach is seeking to minimize the impact of these traffic delays by working closely with bus patrons, such as Long Beach Transit, that operate along the same street, as well as making roads more accessible to motorists.

The project nearly totals $2 million in cost. It’s funded by a combined monetary amount from federal, state and local resources, which includes Proposition C funds from sales tax. The project is due for completion by March.

The asphalt material in the project will include recycled materials, as well. According to the City of Long Beach, asphalt material will be removed from the street and recycled into new base material for other road projects.

Alamitos Avenue will be resurfaced with asphalt containing up to 15-percent recycled material, according to the City. As much as 589 tons of road base made from recycled concrete, rock, sand and asphalt will be utilized in the project, as well.

Long Beach officials, such as Andrews, find the project to be of holistic benefit for residents and the city.

“Calming traffic speeds can benefit the quality of life for over a thousand residents living along this street,” Andrews’s office wrote in its statement. “[The nonprofit design studio] City Fabrick worked with community members, the councilmembers and city staff to visualize what Long Beach’s complete street policy looks like on an urban street like this, when we have limited resources and time to coalesce a design. This was a great chance for local stakeholders, City staff and policymakers to collaborate for a win-win project in the community.”

For more information, call Andrews’s office at (562) 570-6816 or visit longbeach.gov/District6/ .