Star Wars-themed mural is underway in the West End!!

Another mural is currently being painted over at West End Automotive & Auto Body on W. Beech Street and Vermont Street.  As a Star Wars nerd since the very beginning, words cannot describe how happy I am to see this.

Photos courtesy of Peter Scherer, who tells me more murals will be coming to Long Beach in the near future.

West End Parking Idea: Put parking in middle of wide streets at curb divider. Thoughts?

westendparkingThis would be for wide streets. Move all parking to center median. It would take the same amount of room.  Excuse my bad photoshop, but this interesting idea came from a reader named Sam in the comments, who wrote:

‘What has to happen on the wide blocks in the west end – the parking has to move to the center of the street. Put a narrow divider in to separate north/south traffic, and shift the parking to be along that median. No parking/standing/stopping along the curbsides where the new mega-driveway aprons are. All parking in the middle, all spots now available to everyone, no “exclusive driveway” spots available to just the owners of the raised homes. No more issues with people taking parking spots that block people’s driveways. The travel lanes would be more narrow with this, but so what.

What do you folks think for the wide blocks? It would bring more parking, right?

Nasty letters, slashed tires, death threats. Is parking really this insane in the West End?

The following is from a concerned resident who would like some action to be taken regarding parking in the West End:

“Hello, I have been living in the West End of Long Beach for 15 years and never before has the parking been so atrocious. After Sandy, they have been building single family houses and two family houses which each have one spot but anywhere from one to what I have seen, five to six cars in some houses. Now with each establishment selling day passes to the beach, the excess amount of cars on the street from all the new houses, and the number or people driving to the bars every weekend, parking is worse then it has ever been. Over the years, the parking has been getting gradually worse, but as of last year it has dramatically decreased with the residents appearing to get more agitated with the complete lack of parking or the apparent disregard Long Beach has with the parking situation. Why does Long Beach City council refuse to address this issue?

Is there a way to post something on the blog regarding this matter? My tires have been slashed, and i have received multiple death threats and nasty letters when forced to park in front of other houses or on neighboring blocks.


What businesses would you like to see in those vacant West End spots? What is the West End lacking food-wise?

From a reader,  who wishes to remain anonymous:

Regarding the West End, I am wondering what types of businesses will take over the now vacant-Paninis & Bikinis + Joe’s Pizza next door. While we do have a ton of Chinese food, pizza and nail salons, I would love for you to ask your readers what they would like to see.

Here are some of my suggestions. Just to be easy, I used some of my favorite spots in Williamsburg:

  1. Oyster & wine bar: Maybe thought of as seasonal but no where to be found locally and Maison Premiere  (  ( in williamsburg thrives all year round with a ever rotating menu offering a selection of 30+ types of oysters and it’s charming atmosphere.
  2. Comfort Food:  Gourmet grilled cheese’s w/ DIY mac & cheese and mashed potato bar.
  3. French tea room:
  4. Meatball shop:
  5. Argentinian Steakhouse:
  6. Mexican Seafood:


‘When the Beach Met The Bay’ Bottlecap Mural [Photos by Robin Cembalest of ARTnews]

bottlecapRobin Cembalest, executive editor of ARTnews and director of the Gallery Club for Cre8tive YouTH*ink loves art (obviously) and lion statues. She has a tumbr where she occasionally shares various hidden treasures of Long Beach, such as the Magnolia Park Mural and Long Beach Lions. Her latest is local-artist Lisa Be’s bottlecap mural ‘When the Beach Met The Bay’ (See tumbr post here:

‘When the Beach Met The Bay’ can be found at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Beech Street in the West End of Long Beach, NY. When I look at this mural, I see a sunset over the ocean. The name suggests it might be a reference to what the West End experienced during Hurricane Sandy, when the beach did indeed meet the bay. It’s art, so you can interpret it anyway you want. Either way, I love this mural and the exposure Long Beach is getting, as we continue to rebuild, evolve and grow.

Check out Robin’s tumblr on this mural here:

Amazing Mural coming to the West End [24,000 Bottle Caps!!!]

photoAfter months of displacement due to Hurricane Sandy, Lisa Be returned home to Long Beach, feeling personally responsible to breathe the city back to life. CAPS for KIDS began in March with a few kids collecting plastic caps. Three months later, Lisa has mobilized the Long Beach region to collect over 50,000 plastic caps and has founded L.B. KIDS as a platform to organize CAPS and future public participatory art projects in the area.

On June 24th, L.B. KIDS will install CAPS for KIDS, a public mosaic composed of 24,000 plastic caps on the cement wall at the corner of Maryland Ave. and Beech Street in the West End.

Before & After images of the mural are posted below, but they are just digital renderings. Lisa promises that the final wall will blow these images away. For more information, please check out: L.B. KIDS & Project Vortex.

For years I’ve been bitching on this blog how we need more public art in Long Beach, so I am thrilled about this project. But let’s not stop here! There are plenty of ugly walls in Long Beach; let’s cover them all with art!  That being said, I cannot wait to see what Lisa & L.B. KIDS has planned next.



CAR WARS: The West End Parking Study from August 27th, 2008 [Strikes Back]

The next episode of Car Wars…..

In Mary Ellen’s article on West End parking, there was a link to the parking study in question, which was overlooked by most (including myself). With that, I decided to give the parking study its own post.

For your convenience, I extracted all the text from the PDF and pasted it below. The whole idea is this: We had this parking study made, why aren’t we even using it? Please read the entire study before you comment here or at the original Car Wars post. I guess, if you are too lazy to read the entire study, at least skip to the end and read the summery.


By Level G Associates


Phase One – West End

August 27, 2008



Purpose of Study

“To develop new parking management strategies designed to improve the Long Beach parking experience by changing current parking patterns that often leave residents, shoppers, visitors, and workplace employees with limited or undesirable parking alternatives”

Phase One – West End

Key Issues

  • Successful commercial corridor pits businesses, beach goers, and residents against each other in a battle for parking spaces
  • Parking demand exceeds supply
  • Residents are unable to find parking near their homes
  • Motorists searching for parking circle the streets creating unnecessary traffic volume [estimated to reach 40% at peak (15-100K-47K-700)]

Four Point Strategy

  1. Increase the parking supply
  2. Enhance and encourage off site parking/ Shuttle bus use
  3. Promote and facilitate expanded bicycle use
  4. Change parking regulations


1. Increase Parking Supply

  • Build new parking lots (Connecticut = 30; Bank of America = 19)
  • Re-configure existing lots (Vermont +8)
  • Seek leasing or “shared parking” opportunities with private landowners (i.e.,Temple = 22 spaces)
  • Increase on street supply via bus stop – fire hydrant coordination (+5)


2. Off-Site Parking / Shuttle Service

  • Loop from Rail Station to Nevada Avenue turnaround and back – 4.2 miles
  • 5AM to Midnight = 44 loops (avg.2.3 per hour)
  • Parking is available at Rail Station during West End Parking Peaks (evenings + weekends)
  • Marketing Campaign/WestEnd “Shuttle”
  • “Park without stress….use the West End Express”
  • Encourage off-site Employee Parking

3. Promote Bicycle Use

  • The lack of secure bicycle parking keeps many people from using their bikes for basic transportation
  • Create bicycle parking areas where possible
  • Consider a “Bicycle Parking Ordinance” that would require off-street bicycle parking spaces for all new developments, expansions, or change of use applications.

4. Change Parking Regulations

  • Establish Residential Parking Zones (RPZs) – Effective strategy to combat the problem of residents not being able to find a parking space near their home
  • Establish fee-based general parking along Beech Street – Discourages long term parking in spaces intended for shoppers, visitors, restaurant / bar patrons – Allows capture of visitor capital to offset cost of additional services required – Helps finance improvements / beautification / parking expansion in the district

RPZ’s (Residential Parking Zones)

  • West End Residential Streets – Assuming cars park in front of their own driveways the ratio of on-street parking spaces to houses is just over 1.5 to 1
  • Add beachgoers, visitors, and spillover parking from Beech Street and the low ratio is stressed further. – reducing the number of cars searching for parking in residential areas – reducing the number of bar / restaurant patrons walking through residential areas
  • Limits to be determined (East to Lindell Blvd?)

Recommended Phase One RPZ Permit Distribution

  • Up to 2 per legal household (free or modest fee). Two Family homes get 4. Requires copy of tax bill and vehicle registration (vehicles must be registered to an address in the RPZ)
  • 1 per legal apartment. Requires copy of lease, gas or electric bill, and vehicle registration
  • Special situations will be considered on a case by case basis
  • After careful observation of parking utilization in the RPZ, additional permits may be made available

Fee-Based Parking. Who’s Charging?

  • 25¢ per hour  – Huntington, Lynbrook, Westbury, New Hyde Park, Hempstead, Manhasset, Port Washington, Floral Park, Great Neck
  • 50¢ per hour – Rockville Centre, Mineola, Roslyn, Port Jefferson
  • “The High Cost of Free Parking” (Shoup, 2005)

Fee Collection

  • New Generation multi space meters (recommended)
  • Vandal resistant, multiple payment options, better internal controls, measurement, aesthetics, easier collection
  • Traditional single space meters are not recommended: aesthetics; maintenance; labor intensive collections

Multi-Space Meters – How They Work

  • Pay & Display – spaces are not numbered; – customer parks car and proceeds to a nearby pay station; – customer purchases desired amount of parking time; – customer takes receipt and displays receipt on car dashboard as proof of payment – Very similar to NYC (muni-meters)

Pros & Cons

  • Pros – easy to enforce  – customers can move car to a new location if receipt still has available time – maximizes parking supply – reduced cash handling – multiple payment options
  • Cons – learning curve – queuing at machines

Preliminary Operating Program

  • 50¢ per hour / 25¢ in off-season • 3 hour limit
  • In effect from 10AM to 10PM; 7 days / week (summer); 6 days /week (off-season)
  • Beech Street from Nevada to May Walk (no side streets)
  • Total metered parking = 340; on-street = 230; off-street = 110.


  • Required to insure compliance with new regulations
  • Minimum 3 PEOs required to cover West End
  • Need to enforce meters, extended time / meter feeding (via chalking), and RPZs
  • Recommend bicycle patrols – weather permitting
  • Equipment – hand held computers
  • PEOs as district “ambassadors” – hand helds can print out directions; coupons; warnings

Summary – Program Benefits

  1. Residential Parking Zones (RPZs) will create reserved parking areas intended to enable West End residents to park near their homes.
  2. The new program will introduce a total of 35 additional usable parking spaces into the area.
  3. A renewed shuttle service will offer a stress free parking alternative for West End visitors and employees.
  4. Expanded bicycle parking areas will increase bicycle trip rates.
  5. Paid parking along the Beech Street corridor will improve parking space turnover – opening spaces at a greater rate.
  6. Additional revenue can be used to finance improvements, beautification, and parking expansion in the West End. Also allows capture of visitor capital…..reduces taxpayer subsidy of “free parking”
  7. The volume of traffic circling for open parking spaces will be reduced, thus improving safety and reducing energy consumption.

[SIGN THE PETITION] Tired of the West End summer parking nightmare?


Please join us in asking the city council to re-visit the West End resident parking proposal recommended by consultants in 2007 and 2008.

The signers of this petition call on the City Council of Long Beach to re-examine the recommendations of the 2008 West End Parking Study and the 2007 City of Long Beach Comprehensive Plan (Part III page 28), both of which support the implementation of resident parking permits in the West End of Long Beach.

We suggest that the city council form a West End Resident Parking Committee. This Committee would consist of West End homeowners, City Council members and business owners. It is our goal that the committee would jointly address solutions to the worsening parking conditions for residents in our community and come up with a Pilot Resident Parking Plan for the start of the summer of 2013.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE: Tired of the West End summer parking nightmare?


West End Car Wars

By Mary Ellen of the West End Beautification Association

If you ask a West End resident what scenario would impel him to abandon his parking spot on a summer weekend, you’re likely to get a looooong pause, a guffaw, or an answer akin to “A funeral. Maybe. If it was a very close relative.”

In 2007, the City of Long Beach commissioned a Comprehensive Plan to create a blueprint for the next 15 years.

One of the proposals in the Plan was to “Design and implement a Residential Permit Parking Program to address the parking problems in the West End”.

In 2008, the City of Long Beach and Level G Associates (an independent consulting group specializing in parking studies) conducted an evaluation of the West End parking situation, “to develop new parking management strategies designed to improve the Long Beach parking experience by changing current parking patterns that often leave residents, shoppers, visitors and workplace employees with limited or undesirable parking alternatives.”

Only a West End resident can truly understand how dramatically parking impacts the tapestry of living in our community. To hear us talk about it, you’d think we were discussing the political ramifications of social ecosystems…and not the frustrations of finding a parking spot.

Only true sports fans know that it’s never “just a game,” and only true West Enders know that it’s never “just a parking spot.” It’s 50 square feet that are worth their weight in gold.

And the battle for and protection of these spots, at best, is a spirited show of neighborly cooperation, jockeying cars and leaving keys so that there will be a spot available when someone has to, well, go to a funeral. At worst, it can cause simmering frustration that leads to hard feelings among long time neighbors.

So four years ago, when the parking study was conducted, residents anxiously awaited the executive summary.

Surely this market analysis would find a solution to what sometimes seems to be the biggest pitfall to living in the West End.

The output was a Four-Point Strategy:

  1. Increase the parking supply.
  2. Enhance and encourage off-site parking and shuttle bus use.
  3. Promote and facilitate expanded bicycle use.
  4. Change parking regulations.(Establish Residential Parking Zones and fee-based general parking along Beech Street)

But like many well-intentioned plans, the devil was in the details. Muni-meters will hurt commercial business. What about guest parking? What about the home health aid, the housekeeper, the plumber? The plan simply said, “Special situations will be considered on a case by case basis.” Residents demurred from the idea and the study was shelved.

Which means I am still holding on to my parking spot with the Jaws of Life, not unlike the way an environmentalist zealot might chain herself to a tree in protest. Meanwhile, parking is getting worse and worse.

To date, the only implementation of the 2008 Plan has been in private parking lot sharing and coordinating bus stop-fire hydrant placement to increase parking supply on Beech St. I give credit for the efforts put forth, but unfortunately, it’s not enough.

Residents are still held hostage in their homes during the busy weekends, and I don’t think I’m alone when I say that it’s time for something to be done. It’s time for a meeting of minds to solve this problem.

It’s time for a committee of residents, business owners, the City Manager and City Council to develop a pilot parking plan for 2013. If all the stakeholders in this problem have a forum in which to assert their concerns and needs, then I’m confident that we’ll be able to find the elusive space in between all of them, where the parking solution exists.

Let’s not wait until another summer season is upon us and the parking madness once again chains us to our homes. Let’s spend this fall and winter ironing out the details of a peace treaty to once and for all end the notorious West End Car Wars.