Some pretty ambitious and awesome ideas for Long Beach future

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.33.09 AMI 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.

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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:

  • Jobs
  • Parking improvements
  • Storm protection
  • Beautification
  • 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.

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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).
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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.  Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.13.55 AM

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?

39 Replies to “Some pretty ambitious and awesome ideas for Long Beach future”

  1. Having said all those IDEAS ! good or not good where is money coming from? And if I’m not mistaken isn’t there a Hugh lawsuit against the city of Long Beach?

  2. If you read my post, you’ll see that the money can and will come from grants. There is so much money available that Long Beach can use to improve our infrastructure via these grants. We just need to come up with a comprehensive plan before we ask for any.

  3. Sorry, I didn’t attend the meetings; but please remind anyone needing a bike route east and west to use one of our lovely side streets or boardwalk. With the amount of inconsiderate double parking – the bike lane wouldn’t work safely anyway. Crossing Park Avenue – please…..there’s enough traffic control already – do we need to educate people? Jobs? And some of these other pipe dreams – PLEASE….. The meeting must have been a hoot.
    I love Long Beach, and there’s a lot of room for improvement – but lets keep it real.

  4. I was there at the meeting and the presentation was great. Nobody’s a bigger critic of this administration than I, but there were indeed some great ideas thrown around.

    Let’s hope a few of them take root and can be funded.

    Meanwhile, let’s also direct some attention at containing costs so any new project doesn’t further drain the homeowners in future maintenance needs. This place will be a ghost town with neat concrete projects unless some measures are made to stem taxes and expenditures.

  5. I like the idea we are thinking of progress and improvement…as a community we never want to stand pat…think out of the box and figure out what and how. I like it!

  6. Here’s a great idea….get rid of the useless LBPD and bulldoze the entire north park area. 4 year old shot today!!!! Great job everybody!! How many photo op vigils have happened over there already this year????

    And no, this isn’t about race. It’s about class. If you can’t afford to live in a beach front community on your own dime….get the F out!! That’s city wide for people who don’t contribute sh!t to tax base or community but can afford iPhones, Jordan’s and plenty of ammo.

  7. I’m really annoyed by another shooting basically in the parking lot of the police station!

    We could have afforded a house w a yard in a town somewhere btwn merrick road and sunrise highway somewhere but we chose LB bc we THOUGHT it would be nice to raise a family in a beach community.

    I’d love to be in a house, on the bay or in the canals w a boat in my back yard but we can’t afford to so we live in a small apartment on Broadway that we PAY for! And some months it’s tough. We are both college educated and live within our means and don’t expect hand outs from anyone!

    Earn your keep or get out! Guess I’ll be exploring the market to get the hell out of here instead of looking to upgrade to a home.

  8. Deep Breaths…..
    In what world does millions and millions of dollars in GRANT money not cost money? The money has to come from somewhere, so just because they call it “free grant money” does not mean it is “free grant money”. Someone Somewhere has to foot the bill…. Like it or not, whatever you call it, it costs money and lots and lots of it….. Like they say, “nothing in life is free”…..

  9. Amen, the money does have to come from somewhere and then the tax payers have the burden of maintaining it. It the same as all those extreme home make over people who lost their houses cause they could not afford the taxes on their new fat mcmansions. Live within your means folks.

  10. You’re right – no improvements with tax money to LB. Just hold bake sales and car washes until you can pay for a park or a bike lane or whatever.

  11. “nothing to do with….politics.” Who do you think gives out the grants? When you apply for grants it is basically a politically connected network of grant writers, politicians and companies/contractors that have relationships with the politicians in charge of the “free” grant money. If you think grants don’t have anything to do with politics than you believe that the grant money is actually free. I posted when they announced the Local Economic Development Corporation, that that is usually a sign to regular unconnected business people to either get connected or go somewhere else to do business, well it is the same thing when people start announcing grant money. Get in line and bow to the government official who is doling out grant money or get out of the way of our “progress.” Are the rockaway shores booming with grant money? Is Williamsburg booming with grant money? NO it is natural business opportunity. Get the grant writers and the grant cheerleaders, who are ALL in to politics out of the way! Close the Long Beach Local Development Corporation, get a City Manager who is NOT a political hack and you will see many more projects from the private sector, without the politics involved. Once grants are being lauded it is a sign of desperation. Private equity being invested without huge PILOTs ARE FREE to the taxpayers, grants cost EVERYONE money……

  12. When these meetings take place, the ideas presented sound amazing and we all wish that some if not all will actually take shape over the next few years. But when you have a shooting like what happened yesterday, when an innocent child playing gets hit by a bullet, you realize that before we can put any of these grand ideas into place, we need to work on what is going on in our city right now. I’m one of the people who can benefit from artist housing as I am an artist and in my early 30’s, but am I going to want to live in a neighborhood where there is gun violence? We can hold vigils, we can stand up at rallies and say no more, but then a few months later it happens again. When a child cannot safely play in their own home, that is when it becomes too much and we need to take a look at what is going on in our city right now and take steps to better it for the greater good of the current residents. We can revitalize the area with new buildings, more trees and playgrounds, but until we take steps and demand from our city council and our police department for more education about illegal guns, more buyback programs and more patrols, people aren’t going to want to live in an area that multiple shootings have happened in.

    We fight for our firefighters at city hall, we fight for our Sandy money, why are we not fighting to turn our city around and say no more to violence? We elect our city council members and with an election coming up in November, we need to say to them that if they want our vote, than they need to do more to protect our city from violence and drugs, so every child can play safe and every single resident can walk around the streets and feel safe.

  13. @LTC – except, the type of development your stumping for is for profit, the list is not. You want a private developer to build a bike lane? Storm protection? Pedestrian passage ways? That’s not going to happen, and that is not the point – unless you want to pay a toll to use a bike lane while you listen to Ron Paul books on tape.

  14. Can someone expound on the “typical ideas included” mentioned above? Not just snarky responses either. I think it would be beneficial if an individual, who had some knowledge of the subject, can explain how a passage over Park Ave would be economically feasible, what purpose it would serve (do we even need it). And jobs, what does that mean? Are we talking wait staff or a google campus? I know what “art-space type housing” is, I’ve seen it, but how does that fit in to Long Beach? How does it compete with other areas? Has the ship already sailed on trying to turn Long Beach into something it is not. We don’t have vast area for paid parking, we don’t have thing to do on the boardwalk and maybe the majority of residents don’t want it. A lot of people who work in NYC just want to cruise the boardwalk in peace. No crowds, no people in the bike lane, no having to stop and walk my bike past some half-assed function, and don’t forget we will soon have a dune system that partially obscures the view of the ocean. I went to one of the meetings and I saw the pretty posters and diagrams, etc. I saw Sustainable Long Island questionnaires again. Aren’t these meetings just more of a jobs program like NY Rising for political insiders? Where are the complaints about Long Beach coming from? Dirty streets, parking, noisy overcrowded bars, boardwalk bike lanes, section 8, shootings, nail salons, lots more illegal rentals, etc. Eliminate non-residents from the equation, enforce some codes and what do have? Or better yet, what do we get back?

  15. I totally understand the cynicism, but this is grant money that will go to another community if we don’t act fast and smart. It’s worth a try and I am glad our city is doing it. Many of the projects are for making our city safer – from storms and from ourselves.

    Yes, I agree gun violence is an issue, but if you pick up the news you’ll see it’s an issue all over America. We can’t fixed it all here by stopping everything we need to do to move forward.

  16. Bike lanes work safely elsewhere so what make Long Beach and its main street with highway-dimension lanes immune to common sense?

    Thanks for the concern for my safety however I will continue to take my bicycle on Park Ave to go to the bank, market, library, doctors appointment, to work, to school, to eat, soon to the movies, to the gym, to CVS, to the Farmers Market, to City Hall, to pick up beer, to get coffee or whatever random shit I do on a daily basis because these things are not on the boardwalk, are not on side streets and I didn’t move here to have to drive everywhere. Everything needed is in biking distance for me and for enough others that to safely navigate our daily lives, we could use bike lane protection. When I say others I do not mean a few dozen. There’s a lot of us, danny boy.

    Suggesting – for our safety- to reroute due to double parkers is asking people to go out of their way so that others can break the law, is asking people to give up their right to bicycle on a street so that someone with a revokable privilege can have the convenience of grabbing their takeout food … ? No.

    As long as we still have traffic violence there is not enough traffic control (be it enforcement, engineering, education, etc). Going on as if car crashes are just “accidents” and business as usual is unacceptable.

  17. @Anthony, what is “moving forward”? We had a nice boardwalk with a bike lane. We have a nicer/smoother boardwalk without a true bike lane. Parking was an inconvenience only in the West End and only in season. Now, parking is damn near impossible. I rode my bike for years around Long Beach with hardly an issue, and even on the sidewalk. Now it’s becoming dangerous and restaurant’s illegal tables clog up even pedestrian traffic.I didn’t need nice signs to let me know I was home. I never thought I’d be hit by a car crossing Park for a train. Shops didn’t come and go and sit dormant for years. Taxes were manageable, CIty services were never great, but they functioned. The streets were not pot-hole ridden. Concerts on the beach were always something to look forward to. The Saloon, Chaunceys, The Inn, Beachhouse East, etc all had grit and character. Now relative newcomers, yourself included, want it to be more like Williamsburg and less like Long Beach. When you write “maintain” the character of Long Beach, do you actually remember the “character” of Long Beach?. I’m not talking about the old days of even more racial divide or that kid that got whooped for daring to wear his Baldwin Bombers jacket into a bar. I’m talking about the low-key neighborly beach neighborhood that it once was. The one that when you wanted to learn to surf someone’s big brother, uncle, cool guy on the block taught you for free. I actually think it was better back then. This promotion of Long Beach and these “amazing” projects magically paid for with grant money are not for most of us.

  18. @WET
    Not what I am saying at all. If the city of Long Beach didn’t support the iStar PIOLT that could bring in an additional $120,000,000 into the city paid for by a developer and the luxury tenants living in their development. Even if they only gave them 1/2 of what they wanted, which I and many others might support, that would bring in another $100,000,000 over the 25 years. Therefore giving the city the money to do bike lanes and other pie in the sky projects without grants or debt or bonding.
    They have a board they presented called “resilient economy” where one of the items read “lessen burden on residential taxpayers” It is unfathomable to have that on a board the same month they are giving away $120,000,000 in corporate welfare that can bring in so much money that we would not be having to discuss whether or not grants are political and/or free…..
    Increase your revenue, decrease your expenses, pay down debt, properly budget and you have your money to build bike lanes, storm protection and parks….

  19. I remember! The phrase “throwing good money after bad” comes to mind when I look at these plans. Why should a town that can not afford to maintain its current infrastructure add to the infrastructure? Being able to do a thing isn’t reason enough to do it.

  20. I seriously don’t get the obsession with traffic control that you people have. I ride my bike, everywhere. Whether I’m sober, buzzed or blacked out I have never had an issue going anywhere on a bike. There is a freaking stop sign or traffic light on every corner. If you don’t know how to avoid being struck by a car by now, you probably should be struck by a car and removed from the gene pool.

    Here’s a tip, don’t ride your bike on Park. Take Walnut. Problem solved.

  21. @Candy and ice cream, all free today..

    1) don’t blame all current issues on me, my blog or newcomers.
    2) we had a nice boardwalk, until Sandy destroyed it
    3) Population is actually less. If you are an old-timer, I guess you remember all the illegal housing issues Long Beach had. OR the fact that if you weren’t from teh West End and you were hanging out there, you would get beaten up or chased out?
    4) Was the city was better when it was loaded with rehab homes on the boardwalk?
    5) areas like the bayside north of North Park is embarrassing. It should be developed.

    6) many of these promotions of Long Beach are to make the city safer to walk, ride a bike and exist.
    7) Many of these promotions will also protect us from storm surge
    8) many of these promotions will create jobs that the residents here desparatnly need.

    It’s unfortunate how shortsighted folks like you are. perhaps this blog isn’t for you. I suggest you start your own blog because I am tired of all you Long Beach-lifers and your bullshit. We are not living in some midwestern town there everybody is inbreed, yet people like you constantly moan how that’s how you want it.

  22. Back the truck up… Did you just say “passage OVER Park Ave” for reals? Please clarify what this means before I literally have a cow.

  23. I dont understand your obsession with giving vehicles priority over bicycles and pedestrians or you indifference to the people who have had their lives seriously altered after a totally preventable crash. Here’s a tip – show some freakin compassion for the readers here who have lost a loved one to stupid traffic violence. We r so happy you get to live your life without that pain.

  24. @lbesq – I’m glad you’re ok riding your bike buzzed and blacked out – you might want to consider how riding in that state effected drivers and others on the road

  25. The “character” of Long Beach has changed continuously since the 1880s,when the LB Hotel was built by railroad interests, and it will continue to change for as long as LB exists. To identify a moment in time and say it was “better back then” is purely arbitrary. Catholics were once discouraged from living here. Irish were domestics. Jews were prohibited from golfing in Lido. Italians were wounded and killed (their brains were crushed in their skulls) during construction projects and no one took the blame or gave a damn. Blacks had to leave the city by 5 pm. That’s what Long Beach used to be. I am glad it’s changed and moved forward. I hope it continues to change indefinitely and many of the ideas presented at the meetings promise positive forward changes. Rock on with your bad self, Anthony.

  26. @Anthony. I was not blaming the current state of affairs on you. If anything, among relative newcomers, you have some bright ideas that are in keeping with many long time residents. It’s also obvious by your blog posts that you care. What some of the long time residents still have over the newcomers, is insight into the way things are done, and in some cases, what works. Take for instance the example of a pedestrian passage over Park or en-route to the Rec. In theory, it might be nice. I can see it now, an architecturally timeless piece perhaps adorned with the City motto and Neptune and the Mermaid from our City logo. What will more than likely happen, is a contract given to a political hack, they will then sell ad space (a la black metal garbage cans) as they can not figure out how to get real sources of revenue, and instead of seeing all the way down Park at an amazing sunset, we will have to look at yet another oversized, 30 year old photograph of one of our illustrious real estate agents. And then we will wish we never got the grant money. Lets examine parking. In the east end. The City overpaid millions for lots to create residential parking. The construction went to political hacks, the apartment building dwellers saw no reason to pay for an expensive underground garage in their building when they can pay $10 annually for a spot across the street. Zero parking was created and the taxpayers are saddled with a million dollar bill. As for narrowing lanes on park, it seems very dicey. With all the txting and cell phone use while driving that I witness, I like a little swerve room. I’ve used it, I needed it. I happen to agree with another post on using Walnut, Olive, etc for biking. On the topic of storm protection, if you read the City’s proposal to spend $25 million of the Community Development Block Grant money on Bayside bulkheading, nothing is being done to address the canals and they conveniently left 1400 linear feet of the Lindell School bulkhead off the of the RFP. Why?To saddle the school district with the million dollar price tag? So what happens is the School district will have to bond it, programs get cut,or your school tax goes up yet again. Not to mention the fact that the HS was also left out and when the water overtops the bulkhead it will ruin the new (redundant) stadium field. As for jobs,I have yet to see a proposal for real job creation. What I did see was a City Council roll over and play dead when it came to the $150+ million in FEMA funds that was designated to restore the Hospital. Several hundred jobs were lost and now South Nassau has a construction bid out for a 60,000 square foot addition to be built in Oceanside with our money. This is the kind of sh%^ that makes us cynical if not skeptical. Come on, candle light vigils to “light the way home” for Sandy victims. It’s such crap. The City is crumbling, taxes are through the roof, and on and on.It’s hard to get excited about a Welcome to Long Beach Sign.

  27. @MAT, I think you are confusing a distant past and perhaps a national mindset with some of the more immediate, hyper-local concerns of those of us that have been in Long Beach even for the past 20 years. Personally, I don’t care if anyone from Astoria ever learns how to surf, and I don’t particularly see occupying an entire public beach to do so as progress. While the 3 or 4 story set back half-way houses that lined the boardwalk were horrible, I see 10 (and soon 18) story breeze blocking, sun inhibiting, railing rusting, squeezed against the boards apartment buildings a travesty as well. You call it progress, I call it a shame. We can go back and forth on this, but please don’t go back 135 years to show change. I think we can simple go back 20 years to see that a lot of the “change” as of late has cost the taxpayer dearly and we haven’t seen much in the way of value added.

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