Shaping planning decisions around community residents’ priorities may not seem groundbreaking, but it’s a new approach that is helping inform the drafting of a new Pedestrian Plan for Central and West Long Beach neighborhoods. Thanks to collaboration between BHC partner organizations City Fabrick and the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, the city’s document to guide walking improvements for the community will have a new perspective around safety, liability, and accessibility.
Beginning with initial community outreach in July 2013, members of the Healthy Active Long Beach program led the effort to hear from Central and West Long Beach residents about their experiences walking in the surrounding neighborhoods. Healthy Active Long Beach also sought input about what pedestrian projects should be prioritized over the next two to fifteen years. Some of the feedback from the community-driven process includes:
- 30% of all residents surveyed identified safety as their top priority for walking in Long Beach.
- The top three destinations for residents who walk are food stores, parks, and schools.
- The favorite pedestrian projects prioritized by residents include the West Long Beach Connectors project (within 2-4 years), The Poly High School Walking Loop and Green Terminal Island Freeway Removal (5-8 years), and the Pacific Coast Highway Complete Street project (8-15 years).
Combined with efforts between the city and community organizations like City Fabrick, capturing community voice became an essential piece to guiding the policy and planning recommendations that will soon be considered for adoption. In September 2016, the collaborators wrapped up the last round of community workshops and hosted study sessions with both the Board of Health and Human Services and the Planning Commission. The draft plan is now available online and will be on the agenda for approval at the Planning Commission within the next month.
For more information on the Pedestrian Plan, contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.