Huge News for Long Beach — not bad for a Monday!
The City of Long Beach is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a generous grant from the New York State Department of Transportation, in the amount of $1,063,851, for “Downtown to the Boardwalk: Resilient Connectivity.”
The proposed project, covered by this grant, will transform one of the major boulevards in the City of Long Beach, Edwards Boulevard, into a more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly thoroughfare that includes elements of resiliency and green infrastructure. Edwards Boulevard is the gateway to the beach from the Long Beach multimodal transportation hub.
Earlier this year, the City invited residents along Edwards Blvd. to participate in a community engagement session to provide information for the grant application. The City has regularly requested resident feedback to help formulate plans for significant projects such as the Long Beach Boardwalk. Now that funding has been obtained for this project, residents will be brought into the process again to determine the future of this project.
“In 2013, the City Council approved the Complete Streets Policy, and this grant money gives us a great opportunity to implement that very policy while incorporating resiliency into infrastructure projects,” stated City Council President Scott J. Mandel. “The City’s Department of Economic Development and Planning applied for this grant earlier this year, and we sincerely thank Governor Cuomo for assisting us with this award.”
“This project is a prime example of Long Beach Listens in action,” said City Council Vice President Fran Adelson. “We invited community members to participate in a public session to provide input for the grant, and the end result is a grant for more than a million dollars to help us embark on a tremendous project. We have an incredibly connected and involved community that plays an integral role in moving Long Beach forward, and we look forward to working with them at future community-engagement meetings to ensure that this project is designed based on the needs of our residents.”
“Cornerstones of this administration include building green infrastructure, improving traffic safety, and enhancing our downtown,” said City Councilwoman Eileen J. Goggin. “These types of grants help beautify the neighborhood, improving the quality of life for our residents, and increase safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists, alike.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that projects like the one Long Beach will be taking on “will help communities become more walkable and bicycle friendly, as well as show off the natural beauty that exists in every corner of this state.
“When applying to the Department of Transportation, municipalities typically do not receive funding in their first year due to the complexity of the application and the amount of competition,” said Economic Development Director Patricia Bourne. “Receiving this award the first time we applied for it is quite special – only three municipalities in Nassau County received an award.”
The projects receiving awards throughout the State were chosen through a competitive solicitation process and rated on established criteria that included public benefit and community support for the project; connectivity to an existing transportation system; how well the proposed improvements benefit walking and bicycling; impact on local or regional economies; availability of matching funds; and ability to deliver the project within federally required timeframes. The funds are made available to the State through the Federal Highway Administration and are administered by the State Department of Transportation. The program provides up to 80 percent of the cost of each project, with the remaining share coming from the project sponsor. In the City’s case, the remaining 20 percent is covered by the Public Works Department’s Capital Budget. The funds are dedicated for strategic investments in transportation alternatives and with a local sponsor match of more than $33.6 million, support a total investment of nearly $103.7 million. [LINK]