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$3.1M project to add pedestrian medians, restrict left turns along most of 7th Street

By Jason Ruiz,


Most of Seventh Street in Long Beach could see pedestrian improvements like refuge islands that will help people safely cross the street and restrict vehicles from making left turns at various points on the street between the Los Angeles River and Recreation Park.

Long Beach was awarded $3.1 million in grant money from Caltrans this month to fund the improvements as part of the agency’s Local Roadways Safety program. The funds are coming from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Joy Contreras, a spokesperson for the Public Works Department, said that construction could start as soon as next year, but first the City Council will have to vote to accept the funds, and then the department will have to put the project out to bid. Contreras said that could happen by the end of the year.

The city had applied for $4.5 million from Caltrans with the intention of putting the medians along the entire stretch between Downtown and Recreation Park, but getting less money will now require the city to examine which intersections need the medians the most. Traffic deaths have spiked in recent years with the city seeing 45 traffic deaths in 2022 , 60% of whom were pedestrians.

Similar islands have been added on Ocean Boulevard, and the city plans to add more Downtown .

How many will actually end up being installed will also be affected by the pricing of the contractor that the city selects during the bidding process, Contreras said. The city will hold outreach meetings with the community before construction starts, she said.

The city has received a total of $8.5 million in grants from Caltrans in this recent funding cycle for a variety of safety improvements to its street network, including the money for the Seventh Street improvements.

A $4.2 million grant will allow the city to install things like new signal backplates, LED safety lighting and pedestrian countdown signs at 140 intersections across the city.

Contreras said a $225,000 grant that the city received will help it re-stripe 168 crosswalks near school zones with broader, more visible “continental” crosswalk stripes.

The city also received nearly $1 million for new traffic signals at two intersections, Atlantic Avenue and Atlantic Place as well as at Pacific Avenue and Burnett Street.

Long Beach has recently broken ground on big corridor projects that include pedestrian safety improvements like the Market Street and the “Great Boulevard” project on Artesia Boulevard in North Long Beach. It has plans to remake other roads like Anaheim Street and Studebaker Road in East Long Beach in the coming years.

City breaks ground on Artesia corridor project that could overhaul ‘spine’ of North Long Beach

Traffic deaths have spiked in recent years, with 45 in 2022

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