At its April 21 meeting, the Long Beach City Council discussed ending the freeze on street-parking enforcement, the yearly budget and a proposal for a new Shoemaker Bridge. The meeting was held through teleconference due to the safer-at-home mandate issued by Governor Gavin Newsom.
During the meeting, the City Council voted to end the freeze on street-sweeping tickets and slowly begin enforcement again.
Ticketing will not begin immediately but will coincide to the end of the City’s public health order, which ends on Friday, May 15.
Street-sweeping services will begin on May 4, but parking enforcement will begin on May 18– the Monday after the health order ends.
The council also decided to move forward with warnings after sweeping begins on May 4, and will not be issuing citations until May 18. The notices will serve to remind people to move their vehicles and why.
On March 17, the council initially decided to suspend parking enforcement to lessen the burden on residents who are currently self-isolating at home and are having trouble moving their vehicles.
Under the suspension, members of the community were not required to move their cars but were encouraged to be aware of street-sweeping days and find alternative parking spots.
However, according to Craig Beck, of the Long Beach Public Works Department, residents are not voluntarily moving their cars on cleaning days.
“Since we’ve been operating under this program, one of the challenges we’ve been experiencing is that people are now not moving their cars,” Beck said. “In the beginning, we did see that people would move their cars on their designated street sweeping day, but now that is not happening.”
Beck also mentioned that even though the City started a free parking program, most residents are not taking advantage of the service.
Overall, the City has opened 4,370 free parking spaces, but Becks says only 1,200 residents have applied for the program.
Shoemaker Bridge Project
The City Council voted to move onto the next phase of the Shoemaker Bridge Replacement Project.
The council voted to accept a recommendation that would receive the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and supporting documents, and conclude final public hearings for the project.
The goal of this project is to rebuild the bridge so that we have a new facility that’s current with highway safety standards,” Alvin Papa, the Long Beach City engineer, said.
“In addition, the new [bridge] will enhance the regional connections to our downtown by providing better access to the 710 freeway.”
Papa also explained that the current bridge, which was built in 1954, has structural and operational deficiencies– and has a high accident and fatality rate.
The approval of the EIR allows the project to move forward into the “Design Phase,” where the type of bridge is selected before the final design begins.
In their presentation, City staff explained that they are currently considering two designs for the bridge. One includes the traditional “Y” intersection and a roundabout.
In the EIR, staff also include three options, such as “no build,” but state that the structural issues means the current bridge will not meet safety standards and the high accident rate will continue.
The second option includes building a new bridge and repurposing the old Shoemaker Bridge for walking, jogging or biking.
However, the recommended option is to remove the former bridge and build a new one with an elevated roundabout– the first of its kind in California.
According to the presentation, the design is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2022.
Construction is set to begin in Winter 2023, pending funding, and be completed at the end of 2025.
2020 Fiscal Budget
The city council voted to receive and file the Fiscal Year 2020 First Budget Performance Report.
During a presentation, city staff explained how the current health pandemic has severely impacted the Long Beach’s finances and that at least five of the City’s funds have been affected.
The funds include the General Fund, Measure A, Special Advertising and Promotion Fund, Tidelands Operating Fund and the Airport Fund.
City Manager Tom Modica stated that the City will continue to implement the best budgeting methods while continuing to protect the City during the pandemic, but that Long Beach may need to dip into emergency reserves in the future.
“The bottom line is that the pandemic is having a significant and severe impact on our finances,” Modica said.
The Long Beach City Council meetings are held on Tuesday, except for the last Tuesday of the month. Council meetings are held in council chambers in the civic center plaza, 411. W. Ocean Blvd.