City council members were eager to approve funding for the Orange Avenue Backbone Bikeway. The project has received a lot of support because its makes Long Beach’s streets safe, accessible and time efficient for cyclists.
The bikeway will run throughout Orange Avenue from Signal Hill, all the way down to East Ocean Blvd. The estimated total cost for the Orange Avenue Backbone Bikeway is around $13 million.
The money will be used for design, construction, construction management, inspection, labor compliance and project oversight.
Evan Goldin, Co-founder of Parkade, wrote a letter to the council districts saying, “We need to create a safer north-south bike/ped/scooter/wheelchair route that is safe for people of all ages. It’s also important that the WHOLE route be safe and protected, not just parts of it,” in support of the project.
Kurt Canfield, a corrosion engineer, also wrote a letter to the city clerk also in support of the project.
He said in his letter that the Backbone Bikeway being located throughout Orange Avenue will incentivize more people to ride their bikes.
According to City Manager Tom Modica, some of the enhancements that can be expected from the project are, “intersections, curb extensions, bus islands, safety enhancements, pedestrian improvement, pavement resurfacing and lighting as well.” He said, “We are looking at a classical protected bike way.”
During the city council meeting on Oct. 17, many council members made their own statements in support of the project before approving it minutes later.
“I think we know that it’s really important we make it as safe and easy as possible for people who ride bikes to be able to get from one side of our town to the next. Which also includes making it safer to reduce traffic fatality, related fatalities and injuries as well.” said Councilwoman Suely Saro.
Reducing Traffic fatalities has been a concern for the city council for a long time. According to the Long Beach Post, seven years ago the city council made a goal to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by 2026.
“I am so happy to see this corridor will be connecting Downtown to North Long Beach and North Long Beach to downtown. I am also happy to know that there will be lighting improvements among other enhancements made as part of this project.” said Councilwoman Mary Zendejas.
“I think I have been pretty consistent through my time in the council supporting particularly active transportation projects like this. I am a big proponent of bike infrastructure in our city.” said Councilman Al Austin.
Before everyone made their votes, Councilman Austin asked Modica if the project would include improving street conditions in areas that are not smooth.
Modica explained that the project will include improvements of street conditions in areas that are not smooth.
He acknowledged the big investment and said, “Some areas of Orange have had treatments in the past and others do not have any treatment at all so that’s also making sure that we do those all the way together, so it is seamless and it goes all the way from Ocean all the way through Signal Hill all the way up to the very top of Long Beach.”
Councilman Austin said he wants to maintain consistency throughout the project so as to not confuse citizens and leave them feeling like the program was changed on them.
There is no start date or estimated completion date for the construction yet.