Robert Fox on Broadway 12/17/19

Posted by Robert Fox for Long Beach on Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Broadway Road Diet is a disaster. This is the most onerous example of Jeannine Pearce’s lack of oversight and planning.   Narrowing a street in opposition to our Fire Department is borderline criminal.  The Police officers who serve this area have stated their dislike of the design.  Backed up traffic, lack of parking, idiotic designs on the street, NO notice to citizens before the project was put in place.  This is a mess.  

Now a “little too late” the Councilmember of the 2nd District has finally walked Broadway with Craig Beck, head of planning, who audaciously declares Broadway is not a business corridor.   We have been organized since 1992.  I guess we just don’t have restaurants, hair salons, bars, wine bars, nail salons, health spas or any other business on this busy corridor.   Insulting as his statements are, it is Councilmember Pearce who is totally at fault here for not doing the due diligence it takes to review the plans, make adjustments, reject inappropriate design ideas, and to notify her constituents. 

Here are the glaring issues of the Road Diet. 

  • Broadway now is reduced to 10-foot lanes (one lane either direction) down from the 12-foot lanes we had before (two lanes both ways). This narrowing of the Street was to slow traffic, however the unintended consequences are that cars are being “sideswiped” as there is not enough space to drive by safely. Buses are in fact 10 feet wide inclusive of mirrors, so when two are coming from opposite directions there is little wiggle room to pass. Fire Trucks are also more than 10 feet wide with mirrors.
  • Parking has been moved from the sidewalks into the middle of the street. This blocks the line of sight for motorists coming from or entering any side street, business or driveway along the Corridor.  Many front-end collisions have happened due to this lack of line of sight.
  • The Bike lanes are bound by wheel anchors which make it difficult to enter or exit cars. Just try to get a wheelchair out of a trunk.  These create a restriction of access for anyone with a disability. We have already had many people trip and fall into the street due to these wheel anchors.  They are black upon a black asphalt and are not readily visible at night.
  • The Corridor is so tight and the bollards are placed so irrationally that one cannot open a passenger-side door due to their placement. There is a 2-inch leeway to open the driver’s side door. Mirrors and doors of cars have been clipped off, and some people have been injured.
  • It is more than difficult to parallel park into these inside parking spaces. It backs up traffic while you struggle to find the right angle in the parking spot.  Cars impatient for movement have gone around parking cars only to hit head oncoming traffic.  When Delivery trucks or fire trucks are in the lanes, going around them can cause serious accidents, and we have had many.
  • No right turn outlines on the corridor have cause cars to flip over as other cars do not know what is expected ( Cherry and Broadway).
  • Red Zones have increased from 25 feet to 106 feet and above. Loading zones disappeared for our businesses so semis park in the middle of the street.

All of this might have been avoided if the Councilmember Pearce had held community meetings and gotten input from all affected by this change.  Her lack of engagement, which has become legendary, has caused injury and harm to a great number of residents and businesses in the 2nd District and beyond. 

How to solve this corridor.

  • We need to go back to the beginning and have community meetings. We need to engage with the people of the 2nd District (not just the COO of Peddle Movement, who was just awarded a $142,8000 contract for bike lanes etc.)  We need real conversations with real people.  Have a draftsman at the meeting to record ideas and designs.   Then come back together after working out the designs and see what the people want and will accept.
  • We simply can not use a “Template” designed for 2050 slapped on a historic city. Perhaps if you were designing a new city, a template might work.   It is insulting to think we were damaged by a traffic engineer who never even came out of the Broadway corridor but used Google Maps instead.

As your Councilmember, I will fight for the removal of all of these impediments on Broadway and restore common sense traffic design and movement for cars, bikes, and e-scooters that is safe, compatible with our business corridor, that will not harm businesses and will not harm residents.

Together we can create a safe, viable and amenable business Corridor as the minor arterial it is.