More parking headed to Alamitos Beach but no parking structure

A city-funded report said Long Beach should add street parking on Shoreline Drive and expand multi-modal options rather than spend millions on a new structure.

More parking headed to Alamitos Beach but no parking structure
A city-funded report determined that building a new parking structure at the Alamitos Beach parking lot would cost between $6 million and $8.8 million just for construction. Photo by Jason Ruiz

Alamitos Beach could get new parking spaces but they won’t be coming in the form of a new parking structure, which was determined to be too expensive by a city consultant’s report published last week.

The Long Beach City Council in 2021 asked city staff to look into expanding the beach parking lot located between the historic Villa Riviera residential building and the recently opened Gaucho Beach concession stand.

The projected price tag to build a structure, however, would be between $6 million and $8.8 million for either 73 or 134 spaces, with permits, soil reinforcement and other costs likely driving the price higher, according to a memo from Public Works Director Eric Lopez.

A report from Walker Parking Consultants, the firm the city hired to look at the Alamitos Beach parking situation, considered two structure designs. One would fit in the same footprint as the existing 146-space lot, add 73 spaces and cost about $6 million for construction.

The second design would be larger and would require expanding into the sloped area leading into the existing lot to add ramps that would provide better circulation for vehicles without having to exit the structure. At $8.8 million, it would be more expensive but add nearly twice as many spaces, bringing the total lot size to 280.

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Both designs could require soil strengthening, something that could cost $5,000 per stall, and would be subject to California Coastal Commission approval, which would add to the projected cost.

“Building a parking structure at Alamitos Beach would be challenging and should be considered only as a last resort, and even then, would likely be cost prohibitive,” the report states.

What could come instead is a series of improvements to make it more enticing for residents and visitors to use different modes of travel to get to the area in addition to cars, including bikes and scooters.

The largest change recommended in the Walker report is the redesign of Shoreline Drive to make the road four lanes throughout, down from six lanes in some spots, including the stretch near the Alamitos Beach parking lot.

The move could net 134 street parking spaces, according to the report, while also achieving other pedestrian safety measures that come with “road diets” such as slower vehicle speeds and a complete sidewalk on the south side of Shoreline.

The alterations are not expected to to affect the annual Grand Prix, the city’s largest event, if implemented, according to the report.

Long Beach City Council members already approved $600,000 for a redesign of a portion of Shoreline Drive that would include adding diagonal parking spaces. Lopez said in the memo that the plan could be implemented over the next year.

The report recommended condensing Shoreline Drive to a uniform four-lane street, a move that could net 134 street parking spaces. Photo by Jason Ruiz

The Walker report also suggested the city look at adding a bike-share hub, an e-scooter drop zone and an electric bicycle charging station, all of which could boost ridership. The installation of solar-powered lockers, meanwhile, could encourage people to use the bus system or bikes to visit the beach and still have a place to store their belongings.

Lopez’s memo said the city would develop a plan for introducing an e-scooter parking zone and a bike-share hub near the Alamitos Beach lot by the end of September when the city’s fiscal year ends.

Adding an e-scooter drop spot could require the council to approve letting scooters onto the beach bike path, something that is currently not allowed. The council, however, asked Public Works earlier this month to present options for council consideration related to allowing scooters on the path as early as next month.

The city could also look into the feasibility of adding an electric bike charging station near Gaucho Beach, but the report noted this was the “lowest priority” of the options given the higher cost of installing the necessary infrastructure.

Lopez said the city would continue to promote the use of the LB Circuit free electric shuttle service that was launched in the area in November 2022.

Earlier this year, the city said it would expand the service to connect riders between Downtown and the 2ND & PCH-Belmont Shore areas Previously, riders could ride for free within each zone but not between the two zones.