Long Beach potential. Development. Shot in the arm. Something… something…

Here is a cute article from the LB Herald regarding the LB Chamber of Commerce: Tannenbaum works to make chamber more ‘merchant-friendly’.

The chambers job is to further the interests of local businesses and advocate for them, etc. I just think Long Beach needs a big shot in the arm when it comes to boosting local businesses. Do you remember this from last November? SATURDAY NIGHT IN LONG BEACH!!! WOOHOO!!! (HOW CAN WE MAKE CENTRAL LB MORE OF A NIGHTTIME DESTINATION?)

Read the comments. Many residents are begging for a change!IMG_0519

I keep reading all these articles about local municipalities working with developers to re-envision their downtowns with smart & walkable development, transient-oriented (we do have a LIRR), etc. I realize that is not the chambers job, but so many of us residents are so anxious, sitting here dreaming up Long Beach future.

In Long Beach, whenever a vacant store is rented, it’s like playing the lottery: Do we win with an amazing restaurant like Lost & Found? Or do we lose with the same old use that we don’t necessary want or need? It’s just so hard when I see our two other Long Island communities taking so many steps forward.

Since I started this blog in 2008, the same old topics keep coming up with what we want in Long Beach: (Hospital, aside), So many people here want a music venue, performing arts center, arts space, work/live type housing, a redesigned Waldbaums & types of businesses and restaurants which we lack. We tried Imagine Long Beach, but uhh.. that was a bit of a power struggle… (or so it appeared)… and it unfortunately went nowhere. Trees and the new Art Council will help, but is it enough?

Rather than working on ways on how to attract new members, our chamber needs to look at the overall pitcher. Do everything you can to better our downtowns & attract new businesses and the new members will come to you. Perhaps we should have some sort of summit hosted by the chamber or city. Have it similar to the boardwalk redevelopment meetings where us residents can discuss what direction we’d like LB to go, what businesses we would like to see and what’s feasibility. I just think the best way to further the interests of local businesses is to give our downtown a real shot in the arm. Step out of the box, try to figure out what the people in Long Beach want and come up with a plan how to get it.

I know, I’m just babbling.

17 Replies to “Long Beach potential. Development. Shot in the arm. Something… something…”

  1. A lot of people go out of town to shop……..But there still is hope for Long Beach to have more success with their businesses…….It may not be like
    it was years ago but they can try………..

  2. There just seems to be more of an effort with other municipalities to keep people from leaving … so many projects are happening across the island which strengthen downtowns. I would love to see that effort here in LB.

  3. A simple start would be cleaning up the main drag in the central part of town. It is always filthy and the the sidewalks and curbs are cracked and there is no beautification. These seem to be simple, inexpensive fixes that year after year are simply ignored.

  4. Live music – blues/rock perhaps – at a sight like the park. It’s right across or the LIRR.

    Maybe a pedestrian walk over form the LIRR over Park Ave. Keep the Pedestrians off the street to keep traffic flowing in the summer.

  5. I think the city lacks a long-term vision. It seems as though new ideas are pitched, but nobody looks at the bigger picture. What type of city do we want? Do want a boardwalk busy with concessions, activities, etc? Or do we prefer the quiet and serene boardwalk? What can we do long term to beautify the city? (Such as remove those horrible advertisement trash cans. Plant trees along Broadway. Or clean up LB Road. Or create restrictions for merchants and how they keep their store fronts.).

    We have a gem here- but sometimes it seems as though our City officials don’t realize it.

  6. Pedestrian bridges are great for highways. Park Ave – despite how people drive- is not a hghway. It is a pedestrian-heavy downtown strip with the bulk of business, government and mass transit.

    That traffic circlng around? Those are pedestrians, too!! They need to park their car at some point and walk to their destination.

    Pedestrians need to be in the street and their belonging there is as important as motor vehicles and bicyclists.

  7. Anthony the picture you posted shows a sad downtown. A portable bike rack with a fallen over bicycle. The city placed bike racks years ago in the center parking malls which is a terrible place, adding to the amount of pedestrians at intersections, making it more difficult to navigate Park Ave for anyone. The placement of city bike racks demonstrates how little the city cares and would actually prefer to make Park more difficult so you just leave the bike at home. Thats backwards thinking and I had hoped we would have seen better bicycle infrastructure inplace with this new, more progressive city manager and smarter team in city hall. So far there has been zero change for cyclists. The pattern of dangerous streets continues, the Densest parking for bicyclists (transit hub) is as neglected as ever.

    The bike racks the city has purchased and provided themselves are problematic. They allow one point of contact with a bike frame which is NOT smart, and if you have a U-lock you have to use the end of the rack. The racks require you to lift the bike up into place which is horribly unstable- take a look at the bus station and you see fallen over bikes. All wheels must remain on the ground. These things matter.

    I showed pictures of our bike racks to 2 suppliers (designers bike racks, stations) this week and both were utterly confused, one asking me to email her a pic so she could post it in the office as an example of what never to design.

    Back to the picture- that crosswalk is too narrow and. Look how close that car is allowed to park next to it, creating a blnd spot. The bulk of car to pedestrian crashes in LB happen at intersections and crosswalks. You are safer crossing outside a crosswalk – if thats not indicative of poorly planned crosswalks then I dont know what is.

    The sidewalks are tragically narrow.

  8. “Now, the specifics of the picture notwithstanding, there is clearly much that can be done to improve the operating climate for both businesses and residents alike. Most obvious among these is making parking more available.”

    I disagree with you unless you want to want to install parking meters to make parking more available. That would actually turn parking spaces over and price them more appropriately than free. But I doubt that is what you have in mind?

    We simply cannot create more parking (if that is what you are suggesting) for motorized vehicles because A. The memo went out that parking-centric planning is not smart. Long Beach is not a shopping mall / Robert Moses is dead (and as much as Cuomo thinks he is Moses-reincarnated, he ain’t) 2. No rational, forward-thinking city OR SUBURB in 2015 is banking on parking improvement as a shot in the arm for economic development when the existing population is multi-modal, access is abundant between bus & train, our geography is tight (hello, we are tiny) and walkability/bikability is more enviro friendly, equitable, safe and increases vibrancy. Oh, and parking requirements across the board are decreasing or eliminated for a reason. TOD is the hottest concept since sliced bread in planning. C. Why give away free parking for outsiders to come in when the current space could be better managed while spending more focus on attracting people who want to walk or commute and be immersed in the community and CBD? Not for nothing but someone coming here not in a car is more likely to walk around or do something else here before/after dinner other than just jumping in the car and leaving. No, you don’t want people to come here for one quick stop when you can persuade them to come here and stay for awhile.

    Better parking management? Absolutely because cars are necessary but in modern day America its the bike and pedestrian that has a larger return in investment than parking spaces. You want businesses to thrive? Keep pushing LIRR packages, invest in safer biking infrastructure and campaign that bus to be sexy. At the very least if someone drives here they will have incentive NOT to drive from shop to shop to beach to restaurant, but to leave the car in a space and use other means. I mean, would’t you rather have one less car on the street whenever possible?

    “parking improvements will greatly enhance the prospects for local businesses to thrive.” Yeah, like a long time ago. Like I said, TOD and parking minimums being cut or eliminated are not just buzz words from 2012 but reality in planning and moving forward.

  9. I’d actually be interested in knowing the business data / shopping & spending behavior of drivers vs nondrivers in LB. In a place like the East Village it wouldn’t be surprising to know that non-drivers account for 95% of all retail spending due to lack of car ownership and availability of mass transit. In Portland, nondriver spend less on grocery’s but more at restaurants and bars. And that’s year round. You know what the weather is like in Portland?
    Oh- Seattle, Washington is not the most weather friendly place YET business sales were compared before & after bike lanes were installed ( absorbing 12 parking spaces in the process ) and the sales index skyrocketed.
    I can give you 9 other very recent examples but I’m lazy so go read CityLab for yourself.

    There is no reason why we – a tiny, little, very active and very healthy beach city cannot embrace the economic reactions to increased bicycling infrastructure which in turn only makes environments safer for existing automobiles and pedestrians.

    Just a thought.

  10. The bike concept is very cool and very popular amongst the environmental crowd, but it may help save some parking and some gas, but in the end dense, suburban locations cannot see significant impact from this. It’s just a fact. Check Miami Beach as an example of the abject failure of the bike project. In cities, because of the close proximity of the business districts and the alternate public transportation, it makes more sense. Sadly, Long Beach has an administration that lacks the wherewithal to roll up their sleeves and make the tough decisions in order to add parking. This would mean adding head-in parking to some of the business district boulevard blocks. It simply ads a block on the north and south sides of Park Ave, but it will add parking as it has in the East end north of Broadway.
    I would prefer the bike concept, but our business sidewalks are simply too narrow for the bike racks as it is and the chaotic enforcement of biking laws in the City is just asking for a disaster.
    Seattle, Portland, yeah they are cool cities with smart, experienced people running their cities.
    Again, sadly, not here.

  11. LB chamber sucks! They are a bunch of “Do nothing dolts” who only care about their own interests. Kick them all out and get some fresh blood in there.

  12. Dear…, pretty strong words against the Chamber. Quite contrary to my experience.

    The Chamber is actively supporting a Long Beach Hospital, is recommending parking improvements, recently had the Nassau County Comptroller present the County’s Health Care strategy, is sponsoring downtown cleanliness etc. etc.

    Those actions are worthy of support and commendation.

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