Long Beach always seems to have a difficult time dealing openly with residents. It often talks of transparency, then makes its actions as opaque as possible when doing something it believes might face opposition.
Take the additional traffic signal proposed for Wardlow Road at Pacific Avenue as part of a new Pacific Avenue Bike Corridor. Residents of Wrigley Heights have had an increasingly difficult time getting out of our neighborhood onto Wardlow Road since the Blue Line was built because there is only one exit (Magnolia Avenue). Eastbound traffic often backs up for blocks, and the City has known about the problem for many years.
So when Long Beach held meetings about the design of the bike path and the additional traffic signal that will cause even longer delays, did our 7th District councilmember, James Johnson, notify any of us? No.
In 1993, the MTA was considering relocating the Wardlow Blue Line station to the north, near Los Cerritos Park. Then-City Traffic Engineer Richard Backus sent a March 12, 1993 memo to then-City Environmental Planning Officer Gerhardt Felgemaker regarding the possible effect on the intersection of Pacific Place and Wardlow Road. (Pacific Place is just a few hundred feet west of Pacific Avenue and already has a traffic signal.)
Backus said, “The subject intersection is already operating at an unacceptable level of service (Level E or worse) during the afternoon peak period.” Level E is defined: Severe congestion with some long-standing lines on critical approaches. Level F: Total breakdown with stop-and-go operation.
Remember this was in 1993. Blue Line trains, already three cars long, then averaged 36,553 riders each weekday. By September, 2012, that average had climbed to 92,120, requiring more frequent trains. Still Long Beach insists on another traffic signal when bike riders could easily cross at Pacific Place.