Long Beach sidewalks and streets to open for business and recreation

Long+Beach+sidewalks+and+streets+to+open+for+business+and+recreation

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

Temporary extensions of sidewalks into parking spaces and streets, known as parklets, have been established in Bixby Knolls, Belmont Shore and Downtown neighborhoods as the first part of the City of Long Beach’s Open Streets Initiative.

Customers will be able to be in the parklets while waiting to pick up merchandise and food from businesses.

Parklets may also be used for customers who wish to dine out, and social distancing will still be observed, as allowed in an amended Health Order expected to be released today.

“Our Open Streets Initiative is providing safe and open space for restaurants to reopen and for families to enjoy,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “These temporary parklets make it possible to give our local small businesses more support while giving residents more space to physically distance.”

Residents must still follow all health orders within parklets, including physical distancing and wearing face coverings.

The current parklets are being used as a pilot program, eventually, more locations will likely be added. The extending of parklets will eventually lead to the broader Open Streets Initiative in Long Beach, requested by the city council.

The Open Streets Initiative will re-purpose certain public outdoor areas, like sidewalks, street parking spaces and large parking lots, into safe spaces for business activities such as dining.

The parklets are currently located by Atlantic Avenue and Burlinghall Drive in Bixby Knolls, on Second Street between Glendora Avenue and Pomona Avenue in Belmont Shore, and Pine Avenue between Fourth Street and Fifth Street in Downtown.

To decide which locations would best bolster local commerce, the City collaborated with neighborhood business associations in these areas, like the Bixby Knolls Improvement Association, Belmont Shore Business Association and Downtown Long Beach Alliance.

The City will continue to partner with more business associations when establishing additional parklets in Long Beach.

Select public streets will also be closed to vehicle traffic and turned into recreation areas where residents can safely practice bicycling, skating, jump rope and other exercises while physically distancing themselves.

Lawn chairs and stationary setups are not allowed in the repurposed streets.