Could an Activated Corner Be the Catalyst for Revitalization on Pine?
2015-06-01 · By Editor
Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilmember Lena Gonzalez see great potential in a critical but almost forgotten corner in Downtown Long Beach. Both representatives in the Downtown wish to see the southeast portion of Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard come alive with pop-up retail, tourist wayfinding, historical, art or other type of activity similar to what is being done in New York, San Francisco and San Diego. Lowenthal and her co-sponsor are asking city staff to work with the Downtown Long Beach Associates to temporarily activate the corner of an intersection seen as the linchpin between upper and lower Pine Avenue. They are also asking the City and DLBA to explore temporary uses for the surface lot located at Seaside Way and Pine Avenue. The item is #15 on the agenda of City Council’s regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 2nd.
“An activated corner could serve as a transitional focal point for conventioneers and tourists, while giving the city and business district a creative and evolving space that captures Long Beach’s spirit of innovation,” said Lowenthal.
Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard are the convergence point for Long Beach’s unofficial main street and its most well known scenic drive. Unfortunately, the steep slope and lack of development or activity on the southeast side of the intersection has created a visual and psychological barrier to conventioneers, tourists and workers. Similar to the rest of Ocean Boulevard in Downtown, park space occupies the southeast corner of this intersection. However, this portion of Victory Park has been behind a wall with painted murals for several years, since the adjacent Jergins Trust Building was demolished in anticipation of new development, which never materialized.
“The area’s revisioning is such a large piece of the renaissance currently happening along Ocean and Pine. A smooth transition into our convention center and nightlife is vital for tourists, employees and locals who benefit greatly from continued growth in Downtown,” said Gonzalez.
In their agenda item, Lowenthal and Gonzalez draw from discussions and a report generated by the Urban Land Institute’s Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) commissioned last summer by the Downtown Long Beach Associates to study and make recommendations on improving connections between the Downtown core and the waterfront. Their motion is also supported by observations and recommendations coming from another DLBA-commissioned report describing different methods used by cities to activate and revitalize pocket parks. The report, Revitalizing the Southeast Corner of Ocean and Pine: Activating Victory Park, contends that “this corner offers a large, untapped opportunity to bring social and economic value to Downtown…[and] has the opportunity to become a ‘porch’ for this stretch of Ocean Boulevard – a place to meet up with friends and a place to sit and watch people come and go.”
“The DLBA applauds the vision exercised by Vice mayor Lowenthal and Councilperson Gonzalez for recognizing the importance of this issue and extending the opportunity to work with us,” said Kraig Kojian, DLBA President and CEO. “We look forward to collaborating with the city to evaluate the various activation programs and recommendations presented to us, as well as identifying best practices executed in other major cities leading us to temporary solutions.”
See attached motion: Pine Ocean Corner Activation
Connecting Downtown to the Waterfront (ULI – TAP) (http://www.downtownlongbeach.org/downtown-waterfront-study)
Revitalizing the Southeast Corner of Ocean and Pine: Activating Victory Park
(April Economides, Green Octopus Consulting & DLBA)