Reading the comments on this blog and facebook tells me one thing: Long Beach suffers from an identity crisis. Everybody has their own opinion as to what they want this Riviera of the East to be. I sense lots of frustration by those who want LB to grow and by those who want it to shrink. So, I ask you this: WHAT THE HELL DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?
Me? Quite frankly, I hate the suburbs. I came to Long Beach because it’s the CITY BY THE SEA. I was attracted by the walkability, being able to ride a bike everywhere, plus obviously the beach and boardwalk. I really don’t like this suburban dream some of you talking about. As what somebody commented on this blog in the past: the Idea of eating at Applebee’s and doing my shopping at the Mall does not appeal to me. With that, my idea of Long Beach is much different than what others want. In fact, if I had my way around here, I would:
- Knock down Waldbaums. I hate that stupid shopping center. I can’t even walk past it on the sidewalk because everybody impatiently wants to kill me as they rush to pull in so they can buy their hormone injected chicken and eggs.
- Performing Arts Center
- Redevelop Burger King property as a ‘restaurant square’ with a L shaped building, fountain in the middle, outdoor seating, etc.
- I would add more residential density to our downtown – especially near the LIRR. These people will walk to the train, walk to the beach, walk to food and coffee. If they want to check out the West End, they can take the Trolley. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, YOUNG ADULTS LIKE THIS LIFESTYLE. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
- Speaking of density: ART SPACE. Enough said.
- Encourage bike riding, walking, etc.. They do it in Canada where it’s colder. People in NYC have no problem being outside and getting exercise (which we all need.) We can do this here!!! (Allison Box, do you hear me?)
- I would figure out a way to develop the bay area with some type of learning/education center involved with a local College. Or some type of children/nature museum which will highlight our amazing marshes, bay houses, fishing history, etc (Joey’s Long Beach Marine Lab?)
- Bring back a marina which offers not only boat slips and fishing party boats, but kayaking. (Holy Crap, you mean some type of fun activity? WOAHH Hold your horses!)
- Convince our Chamber of Commerce to attract some type of non-retail business (we need other jobs here besides retail, especially since the hospital is never coming back the way it was).
- Reduce Park Avenue down to two lanes each way. WHHHAAT? Make sidewalks wider and create proper bike lanes. I can list dozens of roads that are busier than Park Avenue that are only two lanes. Traffic? Well… read on:
- With that, I would make sure our traffic lights are properly timed to reduce frustration. (Drive 30mph and you will make most of the lights).
- Speed humps at every single stop sign, which will encourage drivers to stay on the main roads of Park Avenue and Broadway.
- Bring Bed and Breakfasts to Long Beach: They are not going to bring traffic, but empty nesters who will spend money at our restaurants and boutiques.
- Create Business Improvement Districts (BID) for both Park Avenue and Beech Street. Come up with ‘theme’ design for both downtowns and run with it. Some of these new buildings going up look like absolutely shit (Dunkin’ Donuts in the West End, I’m Looking at you). If you people really want Long Beach to be like the Hamptons, then copy the stupid Hamptons. Have you ever even been to a Hamptons downtown? We aren’t even close to it as far as looks are concerned.
- Sanctions for garbage pickup. Why is it that when I visit major cities like Boston, I see no garbage? Our streets here are filthy.
- Downtown improvements to sidewalks, curb bumpouts, pedestrian lighting, etc.
- I would also convert all street lights on the side roads to pedestrian lights. This way, when I walk on the sidewalk at night, I feel safe from being mugged and stepping on dog poop. Cars already have headlights. They can see where they are going just fine.
- Have public hanging at Kennedy Plaza for anybody who doesn’t pick up dog poop or litters.
Now who can loan me a billion dollars?
Yes, I am sure some of these ideas are outlandish, but I’m having a bad day and need to vent. I’m not looking to turn Long Beach into a major metropolis, but I do think we can grow in a way that is smart and effective. There I said it. I kinda don’t care what you all write in the comments. I don’t plan on defending myself.