Introduction

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Introduction

What is Long Beach RiverLink Project?

Long Beach RiverLink: Connecting City to River provides a framework for the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation, and Marine to connect the neighborhoods of the westside of Long Beach, and greater Long Beach with the Los Angeles River.

A number of key issues currently face the westside of Long Beach. The increasing population has left the city deficient in parks and open space. Most Westside neighborhoods suffer from severed connections to downtown amenities and the Los Angeles River, as well as a lack of a strong sense of community identity. Residents lack a connection to the natural environment of the surrounding area, and the existing park spaces are viewed as unsafe. Finally, pollution from current and former industrial activities, as well as vehicular transportation, has resulted in some areas of contamination in the westside of Long Beach.

The RiverLink vision creates a network of gateways, pathways, connections, and destinations. Visitors to the RiverLink system will enter the system through a gateway announcing their arrival into the Los Angeles River system and will travel along a lively, tree-lined pathway. Transit connections will allow visitors to move between pathways on their way to vibrant destination parks lining the river channel, from the San Pedro Bay to the “top of the town."

Overview
Bird's Eye View of RiverLink System in the westside of Long Beach, California

This plan has great potential to link the residents of the Westside to open spaces along the river and the natural and cultural heritage of their neighborhoods. However, there is the significant opportunity to apply and expand the framework of this vision to the Eastside of Long Beach, as well as to other cities along both the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers, connecting cities to rivers across the Los Angeles basin. The study assesses the existing and potential park space in the Westside and proposes creative strategies for increasing open space to the citywide goal of eight acres per 1000 people.

What city policy documents support multi-purpose, open space land uses?

  • Recently updated and City Council approved Open Space Element of the General Plan
  • Long Beach 2010 Strategic Plan Environmental Goals

What are the key driving factors in Long Beach RiverLink?

As stated in the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine Strategic Plan, it is key to “create community and enhance the quality of life in Long Beach through people, places, programs and partnership”. This will be accomplished by:

  • Increasing ratio of parks and open space from 3.6 to 8 acres per 1,000 people
  • Strengthening Community Image and Sense of Place
  • Supporting Economic Development
  • Strengthening Safety and Security
  • Promoting Health and Wellness
  • Fostering Human Development
  • Increasing Cultural Unity
  • Protecting Environmental Resources
  • Facilitating Community Problem-solving
  • Providing Recreational Experiences

Who is involved?

  • City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine (Project Sponsor)
  • San Pedro Bay Estuary Project (Prime Contractor)
  • 606 Masters Project Studio – Environmental Design Team from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, College of Environmnental Design, Department of Landscape Architecture (Subconsultant engaged by San Pedro Bay Estuary Project)
  • Targhee, Inc. (Subconsultant engaged by San Pedro Bay Estuary Project)
  • Institutional Stakeholders such as other City Departments and Agencies interested in co-operative funding efforts in support of environmental improvement projects with broad social and economic benefits
  • Community Stakeholders
  • Neighborhood Stakeholders
  • Regional Stakeholders who are advocates of community-based, multi-purpose, open space projects consistent with the principles of Watershed Management

Who will ensure the quality of the Visioning Process?

  • Steering Committee to advise City policy-makers
  • Working Group to advise Steering Committee on technical and environmental issues and concerns

Why is multi-purpose, open space land use desirable?

  • Improves river and ocean water quality
  • Enhances flood protection
  • Provides low-impact recreational opportunities in the urban core
  • Encourages groundwater recharge
  • Reclaims habitat for native and migrating species
  • Connects greater Long Beach to the Los Angeles River and the San Pedro Bay

Where are initial (Phase I) efforts focused?

  • Connections from neighborhoods in Council Districts 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 to the Los Angeles River Greenway and its estuary in San Pedro Bay
  • Spotlight projects identified by the Project Team based on public input

What are RiverLink’s short-term goals?

  • Involve the Community from the beginning through extensive outreach, workshop efforts and media campaign
  • Include other grass roots and government-sponsored planning efforts
  • Map a wide range of future choices
  • Use a dynamic approach, relying on public involvement, to create the “Vision”
  • Hold two major public meetings (the first tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 14, 2003)
  • Collaborate with other City Departments and Agencies

Why is Long Beach RiverLink different?

  • Utilizes a Scenario Approach – explores many options
  • Considers economic and social benefits, too
  • Integrates other Feasibility Studies and Strategic Plans conducted by other government agencies completed or in-process (North Long Beach Strategic Plan, County Dominguez Gap Restoration Feasibility Study, City’s DeForest and Chavez Wetlands Feasibility Study)

What are some of the steps in the Process?

  • Collect Information
  • Work with Stakeholders at the local and regional level
  • Conduct Community Workshops to develop new ideas
  • Share and compare thoughts and ideas
  • Establish criteria for evaluating options
  • Publicize the “Vision”
  • Monitor on-going planning and project implementation activities

What are some of the upcoming Phase I events?

  • More District Workshops in April 2003
  • Public Meeting in June 2003 to Present 606 Studio Study Report and receive Community feedback
  • More Council District Workshops to Consider Additional Scenarios
  • Vision Document Available for Distribution in early October 2003
  • Final Phase I Report presented to Steering Committee in October 2003
  • Public Meeting in October 2003 to present Final Phase I Report to the Community

What happens after the Final Phase I Report is delivered to the Community?

@2003 "Long Beach RiverLink: Connecting city to river...envisioning possibilities" is a trademark of the San Pedro Bay Estuary Project.