De-Coupling Done; 6th and 7th Streets to Allow Two-Way Traffic Beginning Sunday
2015-11-20 · By Editor
Beginning November 22 at 7:00 am, 6th and 7th Streets will allow two-way traffic in the area between Alamitos and Atlantic Avenues, as the City of Long Beach reaches a milestone in the process to improve a dangerous intersection and build a new park in Downtown Long Beach. This marks the first time in recent memory that the City has converted one-way streets into two-way streets, a process known as “de-coupling.”
Eastbound traffic will be continuous between Alamitos and Atlantic Avenues on both streets, as will westbound traffic on 7th Street. However, during construction of the park, the westbound lane of 6th Street between Alamitos Avenue and Mars Court will be closed. Westbound traffic will flow from Mars Court to Atlantic Avenue. Mars Court is the alley one-half block west of Alamitos Avenue.
“This is a momentous occasion as we change one of the most dangerous intersections in the City to a thriving green space,” said Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez. “The street improvements will drastically improve pedestrian and motorist safety.”
The public is encouraged to drive safely, follow signage and allow plenty of time while driving, especially through this area, where Long Beach Police motorcycle officers will help monitor and guide traffic.
The City will soon begin the construction of Robert Gumbiner Park, adding almost one acre of green space to the dense neighborhood. The park will be built between 6th and 7th Streets where Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Avenue used to be; the southern terminus of MLK now ends at 7th Street.
Robert Gumbiner Park will include a performance area, children’s play areas, skate plaza, shade structures and gathering spaces. The park also incorporates sustainability design features that include reuse of recycled pavement, natural stormwater retention and filtration system, large canopied trees and a new green space in a fully built-out area. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
Street improvements also incorporated additional landscaping, improved drainage systems, new bus stops, and new sidewalks that meet current disabled access regulations. New diagonal parking spaces on MLK and on Sixth Street will replace some parallel parking spaces that were removed for the de-coupling.
On June 9, 2015, the Long Beach City Council agreed with recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Housing and Neighborhoods Committee, and voted unanimously to name the park in honor of Dr. Robert Gumbiner, a health care pioneer and philanthropist who opened the nearby Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in 1996.
Dr. Gumbiner guided the growth of his small medical practice into one of the largest HMO’s in the country, FHP International. He made additional contributions to Long Beach’s cultural and artistic legacy by founding the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, which opened in October 2010, 21 months after he died in January 2009 at the age of 85.
In total, the project costs $6.2 million, of which $3.4 million funded the street rehabilitation and $2.8 million for Robert Gumbiner Park. The Gas Tax, Proposition A and C, and federal funds supported the street rehabilitation. California voter approved Proposition 84 provided the funding for the park.
For more information about the project, please contact Meredith T. Elguira at 562.570.6293 or Pat Castro at 714.833.8530.