Long Beach Wins Grant to Study Removing Freeway on Westside

California Department of Transportation awards a quarter million dollar Environmental Justice Transportation Planning Grant to City of Long Beach to develop community-based, Terminal Island Freeway Transition Plan on Westside.

Long Beach – The City of Long Beach announced that they have been awarded a quarter million dollar Environmental Justice Transportation Planning grant through the California Department of Transportation [Caltrans] to develop the Terminal Islang Freeway Transition Plan.

The California Department of Transportation Environmental Justice Grant Program:

“promotes the involvement of low-income and minority communities, and Native American tribal governments in the planning for transportation projects. EJ grants have a clear focus on transportation and community development issues to prevent or mitigate disproportionate, negative impacts while improving mobility, access, safety, and opportunities for affordable housing an economic development.”

Based on the Caltrans Award Listing the plan is to:

“The Terminal Island (TI) Freeway Transition Plan will provide planning and conceptual design services to develop a vision for transforming the TI Freeway into an 88-acre greenbelt and local roads that will directly benefit a disproportionately impacted environmental justice community in West Long Beach. This plan presents a rare opportunity to coordinate replacing an underutilized freeway while mitigating pollution impacts to address long-standing community health concerns.”

From the City of Long Beach press release:

“This grant presents a unique opportunity to work with the community on a plan to replace the underutilized freeway while mitigating pollution impacts to address long-standing community health concerns,” Mayor Bob Foster said.

The transformation of the TI Freeway would constitute one of the largest freeway removal projects in Southern California history, and has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for West Long Beach residents.

“The transition of the TI Freeway into a local-serving road would enable better circulation between the neighborhoods and schools that are consistently exposed to visual, air quality and noise impacts,” said Councilmember James Johnson, who represents the 7th District. “The community would benefit from improved public health and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

The landscape buffer would separate port and industrial uses from the residential and neighborhood uses, between Pacific Coast Highway and West Willow Street. For decades, the Terminal Island (TI) Freeway in West Long Beach has been a conduit for the nation’s cargo, carrying trucks loaded with goods from the Port of Long Beach on their way to distribution yards and the rest of the United States. This traffic had an impact on the community’s health.

Freeways have been removed in numerous other communities across the nation, most notably, the Central Freeway and Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco which together carried 150,000 vehicles daily. The concept for replacing the last mile of the Terminal Island Freeway was initiated to proactively address land-use conflicts and transportation impacts in West Long Beach.

Brian Ulaszewski, Executive Director of City Fabrick explains:

“Replacing the Terminal Island Freeway has been a collaborative effort between various city departments and officials, other government agencies, local stakeholders and community groups. The multitude of benefits including improving local traffic conditions and reducing public health impacts, all while creating a mile long park provides a solid foundation for everyone to build from as this community-based planning effort moves forward.”

The Terminal Island Freeway Transition Plan community process is projected to take place in 2014.

For Additional Information

City Fabrick: The Yards

CNU: Highways to Boulevards Blog: Long Beach, Part 2

Curbed LA: Long Beach Considering Tearing Out Terminal Island Freeway

LA Streetsblog: Terminal Island Freeway Removal Attempts to Find Funding for Study

City of Long Beach: Long Beach Wins Grant to Begin Visioning Terminal Island Freeway Transformation

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