Hello Long Beach! Here are some of the latest local news highlights to kick off the week of May 22, 2023.
Long Beach is expanding Safe Passage Program to increase student safety
The City is aiming to increase the safety of youth walking to and from schools in North, West, and Central Long Beach as part of its violence prevention initiative. Long Beach is currently looking for three qualified organizations to expand the existing Safe Passage Program (SPP) to promote safety, increase community connectedness, and encourage student attendance in schools. The current Safe Passage Program operates at Washington Middle School in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and once the three organizations are selected they will be tasked with identifying more schools to participate in the program. Apart from increasing safe passage to and from schools, the program also aims to reduce the involvement of youth in gangs and develop a violence and pedestrian injury prevention model. Organizations interested in being a part of the Safe Passage Program can submit proposals through the City’s vendor portal, Long Beach Buys by 11 a.m. on June 21, 2023. For more information and to learn about organization requirements, read here.
City Council reviews sidewalk vending regulations
Last week the City Council discussed proposals for sidewalk vending laws that could impact street vendors who sell on parks and beaches. The City was prompted to look at existing vending regulations following the two new state laws that decriminalize street vending without a permit and simplify the process of getting said permit. While the new state laws decriminalize street vending, the specifics of regulations are left for cities to decide. Suggestions for new regulations at beaches, for example, call for merchants to keep a certain distance from brick-and-mortar concession booths, bike lanes, and lifeguard towers. The suggestions also restrict the time frame in which vendors can operate at certain places. The City intends to educate vendors on the new laws, but merchants found violating the rules after the city’s educational approach could face fines of up to $1,000. Although the City released a survey for the community to give input on street vending laws, only 1% (17 people) of individuals surveyed were actually street vendors themselves. Before any new regulations are officialized, they will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and brought back before the City Council. See the information flyer on sidewalk vending here. Learn more here.
Long Beach Public Works Department looks to fix pothole problems in the city
According to the Long Beach Public Works Department, there are approximately 20,000 potholes in the city that need to be fixed. Aside from the roads, there are many potholes in the parking lots of the city’s parks, with El Dorado Park having some of the biggest damage. The roads at El Dorado are so deteriorated that park officials say a full roadway rehab is needed. The potholes in the city have become a bigger issue since the recent winter storms, but according to a memo released by the Public Works Department, it would cost $9.3 million for repairs at in-need parks and another $10 million for repairs at El Dorado Regional Park specifically. The memo also states, however, that ” limited funding availability has not allowed the City to budget substantial funding for roadways within parks.” The Public Works Department has suggested an annual budget of $840,000 for the next five-to-seven years or adding a fourth pothole repair crew to work on the damages. Learn more here.
Wrigley Greenbelt officially opens
The City of Long Beach celebrated the opening of Wrigley Greenbelt which includes a one-mile walking trail, new picnic tables, drought-resistant native plants, a new irrigation system, and dry stream beds to improve stormwater runoff. Located at De Forest Avenue between 26th Way and 34th Street, this new open space is part of the initiative to provide restoration and green space to Long Beach’s Wrigley Neighborhood. Native trees have also been planted to improve the air quality in the area, seeing as the Wrigley Greenbelt is located along the I-710 freeway. These enhancements aim to provide the community with an elevated recreational experience while benefiting wildlife and the local ecosystem. The Wrigley Greenbelt is a $3.82 million grant-funded community project with funding supported in part by LA County Regional Park & Open Space District. Learn more here.