LB Council takes on Streetcar study, feasibility review

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streetcarsOn Tuesday, November 17, 3:30 p.m., City Council Members will receive a presentation and review a limited feasibility study on how streetcar service could integrate with the public transportation system already in place in Long Beach. The study was prepared by Henningson, Durham & Richardson, Inc. (HDR), in partnership with the Department of Public Works.

In May 2007, Councilmember Suja Lowenthal authored a motion requesting a study to determine the estimated cost of and funding sources for a streetcar service with linkages from downtown to vital points of interest in Long Beach that may include CSULB, LBCC, East Village Arts District, Bixby Knolls, Belmont Shore, Long Beach Memorial, St. Mary’s Hospital and the City’s small business corridors.

As part of Lowenthal’s motion, the City would examine ways the streetcars could complement other transportation options offered by Long Beach Transit; provide a green transportation alternative for moving people between City landmarks; determine the physical and financial viability of establishing a streetcar line; fit the scale and traffic patterns of existing neighborhoods; and reduce short inner-city auto trips, parking demand and traffic congestion.

In terms of her interest in this idea, Lowenthal said, “Street car systems are part of a growing urban renewal trend focused on bringing more homeowners, tourists and private business investment into downtown and its arterials — so it’s an economic engine.  They reduce traffic congestion, ease parking, and entice riders who wouldn’t normally use public transportation.  They are a catalyst for change and helping communities maximize their public/private investment.”


3 Responses to “LB Council takes on Streetcar study, feasibility review”
  1. Mark says:

    I don’t know if it makes sense where there is light rail, but if there could be a street car system to to connect spokes where the light rail hub doesn’t reach (such as Wardlow Station with the shopping/restaurant corridor along Atlantic in Bixby Knolls. that would make sense. Right now the Atlantic Corridor as a whole could use a transit system.

  2. There are far better ideas for a fixed guideway transit system in Long Beach that would also include the Queen Mary (encouraging its redevelopment) as a destination which streetcars can not likely reach. An elevated Personal Rapid Transit system would be less expensive and not compete with surface traffic. It could be funded via Measure R and attract private investments as hotels and apartment/condo complexes could be encouraged to invest in station portals on the system.

    There’s much more at or

  3. William R. Cousert says:

    I think this is a GREAT idea. Streetcar lines can be built for as little as $2 million per mile (Kenosha, WI). I think it’s cheap enough that private companies could afford to get back into the streetcar business and make a profit at it.

    I’d like to see a line on 7th street connecting Downtown to CSULB., a short stub connecting the Blue Line to Long Beach Airport and another to the Queen Mary/cruise ship terminals. A circulator system wandering around much of Downtown would be nice too.