Redevelopment on Long Beach waterfront leads to parking concerns

The city of Long Beach has been working with experts and Alamitos Bay Marina stakeholders, including boaters, to analyze and develop a parking and circulation plan to address concerns as the waterfront finds new growth.

LONG BEACH—Redevelopment in Long Beach’s Alamitos Bay – like many Southern California waterfronts – has brought changes and, in turn, growth and more visitors. As the waterfront reshapes, the city of Long Beach has been working to balance parking in the area with growth.

Over the past couple of years, the Long Beach Economic Development Department has been gathering input and working with a consulting group to study parking in order to develop an Alamitos Bay Marina Parking & Circulation Plan. A draft of recommendations is expected in March; although any changes are likely years away as funding and Coastal Commission approval would be needed.

“The area right across form Alamitos Bay has already gone through and is going through a significant revitalization,” said Sergio Ramirez, Deputy Director of Economic & Property Development.

Two of the latest developments include San Pedro Fish Market, which opened at 6550 E. Marina Drive in February, and 2nd & PCH, a 215,000-square-foot retail center in front of Alamitos Bay. The 2nd & PCH project opened in October 2019. Boaters raised concerns 2nd & PCH would affect parking in the Basin 3 lot. The Economic Development Department held a series of meetings with Alamitos Bay Marina boat slip holders to address parking concerns with 2nd & PCH. The department has also held a series of meetings to get input from boaters on the parking and circulation plan.

“I think they really have come out and it’s made it really clear that this area is important to them and it’s special to them and the city really understands and we really have taken it to heart as we’ve been exploring all the different ideas,” Ramirez said.

Boaters who have slips and use the marina have concerns about how their parking and guest parking would be changed with the new parking and circulation plan.

“Since we’re already paying slip fees, our parking is included, we don’t want to lose any parking allocated to us,” said Long Beach Marina Boat Owners Association President Tom Mayes.

Currently, the first two rows are allocated to boaters with permits and the rest is free public marina parking. The parking lots are owned by the city. One specific concern for boaters is the possibility of the city adding metered parking to the lots and what the money collected from the meters would be allocated to.

“The boaters’ position is if we’re paying for the lot we should get the proceeds from any parking funds,” Mayes said.

Ramirez confirmed metered parking is an option being studied but said at this point they do not know what the collected funds would be used for.

“I think that’s the one thing we’ve identified as an opportunity,” Ramirez said.

He noted redoing the asphalt and striping in the lots would likely be the first priority before adding meters.

Mayes said another concern for boaters has been traffic flow and accessibility to the basin parking lots.

“It’s becoming more of a pedestrian experience and so what I think is naturally happening is people are slowing down,” Ramirez said.

Adding pedestrian walkways and bike lanes are other changes being looked into. Ramirez said ultimately they hope to come up with recommendations which will benefit every stakeholder group in some way. Ramirez said they have identified 40 different stakeholder groups including boaters, cyclists, anglers, business owners, residents and visitors.

“I think what we ultimately want to try to do is how can we raise the experience for everybody,” Ramirez said.

Mayes said boaters are waiting to see what the city’s recommendations are and if they took their input into consideration. Once the draft of recommendations is ready, it will be presented to the Marine Advisory Commission for input then taken to the California Coastal Commission for approval.

For now and the foreseeable future, the recommendations would remain conceptual; Ramirez said they currently do not have funding allocated for the parking and circulation plan.

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