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Beach Protection Advocates Blast Long Beach City Hall Application To Coastal Comm'n To Build Second Paved Path Along Belmont Shore Beach: Separated Pedestrian & Bike Paths Draw Fire From LB Chapter Surfrider Foundation + Kajer + Cotton

(May 28, 2013, 11:40 a.m., add'l graphics added 7:25 p.m.) -- Two veteran beach and shoreline protection advocates along with the Long Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation oppose City Hall plans -- embedded as a line item in the Sept. 2012 City Council-approved budget and now scheduled for Coastal Commission consideration -- to create two paved separated pathways stretching 3.1 miles along Long Beach's remaining sand beach: one paved for pedestrians plus one paced for bicyclists separated by roughly 10 feet of sand. For the past quarter century, pedestrians and bicyclists have shared a single paved path.

The City of Long Beach's application states in pertinent part, "A new pedestrian bike path is proposed to be constructed approximately 10 feet seaward of the existing bicycle and pedestrian path. The new path will relieve overcrowding and reduce conflicts between user groups (walkers, runners and bicyclists) making it safer for the public..." In reconfiguring the paths around the Belmont Pier, City Hall also acknowledges 32 nearby parking spaces will be eliminated.

Unofficial rendering provided by Gordana Kajer, digitally created by Jennie Stockdale

On May 14, Gordana Kajer, speaking in her individual capacity (she separately chairs City Hall's Sustainable City [advisory] Commission and has a lengthy history of local coastal enhancement and environmental work) used the time allotted for public comment on non-agendized to bring the matter to the City Council's attention.

Ms. Kajer delivered a polished Power Point presentation that ignited a colloquy between Councilman Patrick O'Donnell and Assistant City Manager Suzanne Frick on the matter. For audio of Ms. Kajer's presentation and the ensuing discussion, click here. (Graphics below are screen saves from Council webcast video of Ms. Kajer's power point presentation,)

A week later on May 21, Melinda Cotton also used the period for public comment to criticize the proposed second paved pathway and urged that the City withdraw its application to the Coastal Commission. For audio of her presentation, and another ensuing Council colloquy involving Assistant City Manager Frick, click here.

To date, the matter has not appeared on a Long Beach City Council agenda in response to the issues raised by the citizens.

On May 26, the Long Beach branch of the Surfrider Foundation issued a dispatch on its website, headlined "Councilmember Lowenthal Wants To Pave Paradise."

[LB Surfrider website text] The City of Long Beach wants to pave 4.2 acres of our precious beach to add another pedestrian path next to the existing path. It's certainly true that there are conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists on the existing dual use pedestrian/bike path along our beach, but the solution that the City proposes, championed by Councilmember Lowenthal, is both too costly and wasteful of our precious resources.

There are other ways to pave less beach and spend less money for the same benefit. The proposed path is to go on the seaward side of the existing path, thus increasing the likelihood of costly shore protection and increased maintenance during winter storms. The Surfrider Foundation believes a solution is possible that widens the landward side of the existing path and adds a curb between the two...

Even more, to argue against the path, the issue goes before the California Coastal Commission on Thursday June 13 at Long Beach City Council Chambers...

Ms. Kajer has also launched an online petition in opposition to the dual paved paths for presentation to the Coastal Commission. To access it, click here.

As of dawn May 28, the item on the Coastal Commission's website agenda includes no backup documents. However, Ms. Cotton went to the Coastal Commission LB office and obtained copies of the City's initial application (filed in November 2012) and additional materials filed by the City on April 2 (amending its initial proposal in some respects). Ms. Cotton provided these documents to and we publish them below.

City of Long Beach Beach Pedestrian Path Application 11-16-12

Add'l Docs from City of Long Beach Re Beach Path for Coastal Commission (April 2013)

To see how City Hall presented its proposed project at meetings with community groups, we've linked to an October, 2012 city staff presentation to the Surfrider Foundation. To view city staff's Power Point presentation, click here. Some examples are illustrated below.

Source: City of LB staff presentation to Surfrider Foundation, Oct. 1, 2012

Source: City of LB staff presentation to Surfrider Foundation, Oct. 1, 2012

Source: City of LB staff presentation to Surfrider Foundation, Oct. 1, 2012

Source: City of LB staff presentation to Surfrider Foundation, Oct. 1, 2012

City staff;s presentation apparently didn't persuade the Long Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundaion. To read Surfrider's detailed arguments in opposition, submitted to the Coastal Commission in January 2013, see below.

Long Beach Chapter Surfrider Foundation submission to CA Coastal Comm in opposition to Belmont Shore Pedest...


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