I left the Comprehensive Plan/LWRP meeting at the MLK Center last night feeling hopeful, excited and anxious about Long Beach future. I don’t even know where to begin….
QUICK NOTE: Haters are going to hate, but I suggest you don’t comment, unless you’ve actually attended one of the meetings, read the literature and took the survey. It was a very impressive presentation.
Along with Sustainable Long Island, Long Beach has been collecting resident feedback on basically the future of Long Beach. In a nutshell: We give them our feedback via survey and meetings. They crunch the information, present a comprehensive plan and then look for grant money to actually bring some of these ideas to fruition. ( I asked three people and that’s the answer I got).
Via the presentation, Long Beach was basically divided into four sections: East End, Central, West End & North Park. Last night was the last Public Participation Meeting, which concentrated mostly on North Park, but the other sections were still presented as well.
Some of the typical ideas included:
- Parking improvements
- Storm protection
- Better “Welcome to Long Beach” signs (something with substance, that makes a statement. I told them I don’t want something a plow truck can knock down).
- Maintaining and enhancing community character.
- Art Space-type housing
- Safe pedestrian passage across Park Avenue.
- Complete streets (bike lanes, safer pedestrian passages)
- Narrowing the lanes on Park Avenue and adding bike lanes (Each lane is currently 12 feet wide, which is highway length. They should be 10 feet wide, which would calm the traffic and Park Avenue travel a whole lot safer for everybody.)
And some of the crazier dreams:
- Transforming the Foundation Block into a grassy field/amphitheater with multiple level parking underneath (see photos below)
- Moving City Hall & Kennedy Plaza to the Waldbaums shopping Center property, which would give us a larger city square. Redeveloping the current property they are on. Mixed use.
- Moving/removing utilities on the bayside waterfront (recycling, sewage treatment plant, etc) to redevelop the waterfront with either: a marina, restaurants, housing, job incubators, etc.
- Installing a pedestrian bridge over the LIRR to connect the Rec Center to North Park, along with a continued promenade to Long Beach Blvd.
There were a lot of words being thrown around, such as sustainability, resiliency, harmony, healthy, livability, etc. It was a lot to swallow; very ambitious, but damn, I’ve been smiling all night. This is the crap I’ve been blogging about since 2008! If Long Beach manages to pull any of this off, I will publicly eat my hat in front of City Hall (preferably at the new Kennedy Plaza).
The one idea I didn’t care for was installing parking underneath a raised Pacific Park playground. Sure, parking is needed in the West End, but a levitated playground just seems so disconnected and awkward. I am alone on this, as you can see in the photo below: so many thumbtacks covering the playground as a potential future parking location.
There was just a wealth of information being presented. Too much to comprehend or even blog about. You can visit the presentation online at: Comprehensive Plan/LWRP if you want to know more. You really should (and need to) take the survey, if you want your voice to be counted: City of Long Beach CPU/LWRP Survey
What am I missing? I would love some feedback from those who attended one of these meetings! Thoughts? Concerns? Ideas?