Is it time to kiss those grass medians goodbye? (Open Space vs Parking)

Have you heard the news? Parking is a problem in Long Beach. Can you believe it?

No, this isn’t going to be another one of those “PARKING SUCKS AROUND HERE” articles hoping to generate some angry comments. Instead, it’s a “LET’S GET RID OF OPEN SPACE IN THE NAME OF PARKING” article – hoping to generate some angry comments…

Actually, getting rid of open space goes against everything I believe in. I don’t want to turn Long Beach into a giant parking lot. But, still.. we have all these grass medians around town (see picture above). Is it worth sacrificing what little grassy space we have left for more parking- an issue that the majority of you complain about?

Before we get to that, how many of these grass medians are there and just how many potential parking spots are we talking about? I’m just going to concentrate on all the ones south of Park Avenue, between Grand Blvd to Roosevelt Blvd.

On the maps below, GREEN represents all the grassy medians that could potentially be turned into a parking lots. While there are more of them around town, some are just too narrow to supply parking on both sides of the street.

 (click on enlarge)



(I counted how many cars fit around a few of these existing medians and took the average. The actual numbers may vary.)

There are 17 grass medians in the East and 29 in the West for a total of 46 more potential parking lots.

Each of these 46 (example: top image on the right) currently parellel park an average 24 cars (12 per side). As of now, these grass medians park a total of around 1104 cars (24 cars x 46 medians = 1104 total cars).

Each parking lot (example: bottom image on the right) can hold an average 40 cars.  40 cars x 46 medians = 1840, which means these new parking lots could potentially park 736 more cars than what we have now (1840 – 1104 = 736).

736 more cars would be able to park in Long Beach if we convert all these GREEN medians in PARKING lots.

Why would we do this? Well, for one thing, it would definitely ease the parking situation. Existing trees would be replaced with tree lined parking, so that’s not a real issue. And these grassy medians aren’t parks; I barely see kids playing on them and they shouldn’t because they’re dangerous. Also, think of all the tax dollars that would be saved – between the mowing, gas and labor costs. More parking would be a boom to all the local businesses parking; making Long Beach a more inviting place to visit.

I originally was going to call this article GREEN SPACE vs. PARKING, but these medians are hardly green. Any true environmentalist will tell you that grass does nothing, but suck up water. In fact, there is a movement called The Front Yard Garden where people are eliminating their grass altogether. Besides, think of all the fossil fuels that are being burned with all the weekly mowing!  If these medians housed native plants or were community gardens, then it would be a different story, I wouldn’t even be writing this article. But as of right now, I would hardly call the majority of these medians GREEN.

Am I advocating that we do this? No. Even though it makes sense, I don’t want to see Long Beach turned into a giant parking lot. I like the open breathable space these medians offer. They remind me that I’m still living in a peaceful neighborhood that isn’t 100% developed.

So what do you guys think? Open Space or Parking?


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17 thoughts on “Is it time to kiss those grass medians goodbye? (Open Space vs Parking)”

  1. I think it’s a dumb and stupid idea, leave the grass alone. Enough of this crapola already, if they enforce the laws maybe that would help. Maybe if they didn’t give special favors to the “selects and the elites” it would help. Do you hear that Allegria Hotel ?

  2. Leslie, I agree with you. I was just curious to see how many parking spots these medians would bring. Like I said in the post, I dont want to see Long Beach turned into a parking lot,

    But there are many people out there who would gladly welcome 736 more spots.

  3. Very interesting – it lays out both sides of it. I’m going to stick with the grass though. The day after they do this, those spots will fill up, and then we’ll start talking about the next thing that needs to get leveled for more parking. Parking sucks, fact of life around here. And it’s just going to get worse – especially with Long Beach on an upward trajectory.

  4. why not alleviate parking needs by promoting alternative means of transportation- walking, taking the bus or biking? I think we can set more ambitious goals for increasing safety and quality of life for our city than more parking spaces.

  5. Well that would be the best thing to do. I recently wrote about putting bike lanes on the Long Beach Bridge. So instead of driving and taking up our parking spots, the folks from Island Park can safely ride their bikes here.

  6. More parking + more cars = same problem.

    I hated living in Los Angeles but they did one thing right: permit parking for residents between the hours of 6pm and 6am. I lived in Hollywood one block south of Sunset and Vine which is a HUGE tourist area. I did have a gated parking spot but I had a permit for visiting friends.

    Think about the hours. From 6am to 6pm the tourists could park wherever they wanted but after business hours they were kicked out of the residential streets (where I was) and were forced to fight for metered parking on Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd and the side streets north of the residential area.

    My part of town in Long Beach has 2 businesses within what most consider walking distance. No bars, restaurants, shops, etc. The bulk of our problem comes from beach goers and neighbors with 5-6 cars per household and they don’t use their driveways (which is stupid).

    Leave the grass alone. It’s pretty. I’ll keep my position that we need permit parking after 6pm.

  7. Leave the grass alone. They are mostly in residential areas. Turn the two superblocks into permanent parking. During the peak season have an attendant checking beach passes. Those with Seasonal passes park for free. Those buying daily passes park for a fee. They can get their beach passes when they pay for parking.

    This way it guarantees that the space will be available for the next SURFPOCALYPSE.

  8. When I look at all those potential parking spaces it makes me salivate!! Why were those medians built in the first place? Like you said they aren’t playgrounds for children–the only thing I ever see them being used for is people walking their dogs.

  9. Why not use the Edwards block for parking and charge of it. It’s better than a pile of snow or free parking for the ALLEGRIA’s valets to use and then charge the people $15.00 for it and getting a tip besides. That means someone going to the restaurant in the hotel has to pay $17.00 or more just to park to have dinner there. That’s really a rip off.

  10. Can’t for the life of me figure out what all the complaining is about. I have yet to see what the fuss is all about and I leave off national

  11. leave the grass!! if you remove it you will never get it back, and it will just create a “black hole effect” where as now more people will buy cars who didnt have them in the past, and whamo the spots are taken again. for example, if you put another lane on the LIE you may think this solves traffic. but in reality then train goers will say hey look another lane, and wham, the lane is clogged again. its called black hole. its a concept in city development we learned about in college. the parking is not as bad as people say. i parked on the street for 6 years before i got my spot in my building. i knew what i was in for, and i managed.

  12. Pave over the grass. The parking gets worse each and every year. While, I do like the grass, it is more pratical to gain the parking that we so badly need.

    Money savings also from not having to maintain the grass.

  13. No one uses the Grassy median for anything except, letting their dogs poop on it. Would you walk barefoot on the grass ?

    Let the City workers fill potholes instead of mowing the grass on the medians.

  14. I agree with Tideline, mostly. It’s not like the grass is impeccably maintained. I would vote for a compromise. Leave enough of the median at the ends for planting beds for color: perrenials, Hydrangeas rose bushes. Leave a 30″ wide strip for planting trees. brick between the trees and use grates around the base of the trees. Then let cars park on either side of the tree strip.

  15. A bike lane starting in Oceanside straight down Long Beach Road through Austin Blvd and over the bridge to the boardwalk. Residents of LB could ride their bikes to the Oceanside stores and Oside, IP residents could ride to the beach.

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