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'Parklet' Mysteriously Emerges on Second Street

In the street in front of George's Greek Cafe, the primary business interested in using parking spaces to extend dining, the City of Long Beach Sustainability office reportedly set up the parklet. But why?

Plopped in front of George's Greek Cafe Friday was what looked like a day camp that wandered from the Bay Shore beach and set up in parking spaces on Second Street.

Readers called or e-mailed Patch asking what the chairs in the street were for. We were reporting on the Endeavour and hadn't seen the encampment. But a reader sent in this photo from before noon, and the Press Telegram reports that the City of Long Beach's Office of Sustainability installed the temporary "parklet."

The story just doesn't say why it was done. Patch will follow up Monday, but in the meantime, did you see the makeshift "parklet" in the street, and what did you think?

When last we reported Aug. 15 on the Parklet concept--which has been done on Fourth Street and in other cities such as San Francisco as a way to add a micro pocket park--Patch learned of Naples businesses starting a petition drive to oppose the concept. One of the Naples merchants said businesses there were feeling pressured to support the idea. Click here to read that story and reaction.

 Opposition has been more vocal than support on the idea. Even other Second Street businesses oppose the idea, because parking is already impacted in Belmont Shore, they say.

In fact, parking's at such a premium that the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Advisory Commission has used public funds to pay 50 cents a ride, or up to $15,000 a month, through February, 2013 to bus Shore employees for free.

The Grunion Gazette quoted Parking Commission Chair Bill Lorbeer on Long Beach Transit's report on the program's use: 800 employees signed up for free passes, and there had been 442 unique riders between Memorial Day weekend and July 25, 2012.

Of the free pass program, Lorbeer told the Grunion, “the purpose of this is to create the effect of an employee parking lot at a fraction of the cost.”

 

 

Nancy Wride (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I just interviewed one of the organizers of PARK(ing) Day 2012, which was a Cal State Long student effort responsible for the park encampment outside George's Greek Cafe. It was a complete and total COINCIDENCE that it was built in front of the very business seeking a parklet. The student said George's never mentioned the parklet and the college students knew nothing about it. They wanted to be close to The Beach store. I will do a short story later, but case closed.:D
John B. Greet September 24, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Thanks very much for the follow-up, Nancy. It's refreshing to know that in this day and age of dark, evil plots and conspiracies all along 2nd Street, there are still such things as simple happenstance and honest-to-goodness plain old coincidence.
Jon Cicchetti September 24, 2012 at 08:21 AM
I am an instructor at CSULB. I teach rec and liesure students about park design and open space. For the last 3 years I've utilized the PARKing Day, global event as a teaching tool.The students are taught about the methodology of planning and implementation of park projects. This year I expanded the scope to include onsite and offsite locations. The students also had to identify a bike route connecting the two.The 2nd st site was selected for its proximity to The CSULB "Beach" store and the bus stop that makes a direct link to the University. Our goal was to include the notion of "green" circ. in the discussion of Pday. We have no budget for this event nor do we want one. Our intention is to recycle, re-purpose, and borrow components we can construct into a pocket park for part of a day then remove it all with a minimum of "trash in the can" from our efforts. It is all done on a very short timeline. I'm glad to See that our efforts have initiated (although for the wrong reasons) discussion in the community about such things. Our purpose was not to promote or cast a shadow on Parkletts (which can also be mobile units btw). It is one of many ideas being explored in the hopes of adding to open space in the urban environment. ( FYI I emphasize with my students that when they find themselves in a community setting, to be good listeners and maintain civility in the room. Also they're taught the most effective arguments are based on research and facts. =O)
Nancy Wride (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 08:53 AM
Thanks, instructor Cicchetti. I spoke with your intern Erin earlier tonight, and she told me the planning that went into the location scouting, and the complete coincidence. I will share details of your program Monday. It sounds cool, and please e-mail me more flattering photos that readers submitted. nancy.wride@patch.com
Bobby Bluehouse September 24, 2012 at 03:00 PM
John, your concepts of a Park Project at first blush seem reasonable and green, but in choosing a Belmont Shore 2nd Street restaurant location over less impacted areas, bypassing all the normal approvals needed; is it responsible? Did you encourage the students to take all the required planning and implementation steps to clear all those hurdles? This is a very impacted parking area where parking is at a premium to say the least. You may also want to consider this area is full of regulated licensed food facilities with a specific food print and everyone including the businesses and residents must work together. There are also issues such as 2nd hand smoke, car exhaust, pedestrian egress, vehicle safety, setbacks, zoning, and planning, fair process to other businesses to have parkletts, ADA access, alcohol service, government and community approvals that should have been part of that process. Anyone who has opened a restaurant or expanded one typically knows this. There are a few restaurants, businesses owners or residents who may actually want a Parklett on 2nd Street but this installation has not done their cause any great favors bypassing what appears to be virtually all of the required approval processes. If the goal was to get people discussing it you have succeeded.
tiny September 24, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I personally think we have too many cars and not workable enough public transportation systems for the majority of people to effectively use. But curious on this teaching of Pday if other teachers in the US are doing it, or if you picked it up on your own and teaching it independently? Good stuff Nancy.
Mike Ruehle September 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Parking Commission Vice Chairman Kurt Schneiter's non-response is deafening.
Mike Ruehle September 24, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Lisa, How can there be "extra parking" now that the city bought the public parking lot from Frank Colonna for $1.4 million of TAXPAYER'S MONEY. It's still the same public parking lot, only now its owned by the city at an enourmous price and has fewer parking spaces then when Frank Colonna owned it. How is that "extra parking?" And I suppose you don't think a purchase price of $1.4 million was a gift of taxpayers money to a former councilman and your landlord during an economic time when similar lots with homes on them were selling for under $600,000? So what if I got the number of parking spaces wrong. The point was that it cost us taxpayers $58,000 per parking space for the city to purchase that lot and now those VERY EXPENSIVE parking spaces are being turned into parklets. Owning a nearby restaurant, of course you would thing that money was well spent. However, that is not my opinion. Moreover, don't give me that crap about me about how you have "always treated me with respect and kindness." Apparently, your memory has faded. I say that because I still have your amazing emails from before you received your amazing woman award when you were NOT so repectful and kind to me. Just because you received an award does not erase your behavior before then. In my opinion, a major part of WHY you received that award is because you kowtowed to DeLong, Lorbeer, Schnieter and Rotondo by writing those emails about me when I was BSRA President.
Mike Ruehle September 24, 2012 at 04:19 PM
So WHO selected the specific location in front of George's? Are you saying the Cal State students selected that very spot and not someone from the city? If so, how has that specific location selected and WHO granted that selection in light of the previous reporting and discussion of parklets in front of George's?
Mike Ruehle September 24, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Good luck trying to convince me Lorbeer or the Parking Commission was not involved in this parklets specific location. Despite what you infer, NOTHING happens regarding 2nd street parking without the involvement of the Parking Commission and most probably, Councilman DeLong's office.
J G September 24, 2012 at 04:56 PM
bobby bluehouse, you are spot on and...there are no coincidences! the parklet issue is really simple in that the city council needs to follow the rules like all the rest of us do. we all want to have our voices heard and are sick and tired of people in power running over us. community pressure is the only thing that will give us the result we want so perhaps we should gather.
Panglonymous September 24, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Omg, Bobby Bluehouse, can you say 'buzzkill?' Maybe the spindly naifs (aka students) should limit themselves to pastel chalk *representations* of open space projects applied ephemerally to The Shore's dingy sidewalks. This would be the ultimate "no trash in the can" venture and a natural partner to a PETA Water Day event: http://belmontshore.patch.com/articles/bare-naked-ladies-from-peta-shower-on-second-street One hand washes the other, yeah? - and while they're at it, the sidewalks, too! Win-win-win!
Nancy Wride (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Folks, student organizers said the proper permits and authorization were obtained, and the businesses--including Fern's Garden--fully supported the temporary four-hour park promotion.
Charles Beckman September 25, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Perspective people. This is hardly similar to "The Bridge To Nowhere." Breathe, relax. Get over it.
Jon Cicchetti September 25, 2012 at 06:37 AM
If anyone would like to understand the actual content of our Pday 2012 program I'll be wrapping up this class project with students this Friday. please RSVP if you want to attend 12 to 1ish on campus at CSULB or we can organize a presentation by my students for your business association sometime. You can email me at cicchettij@yahoo.com.\ Our main goal was to raise awareness of the importance of open space thru out our community. Lets keep the dialogue going. There are always reasonable answers .........do we have the ability to hear them........do we have respect for all members of our community.......do we recognize others opinions and views. " Honest speaking is great, transparency is great, however if it is not exchanged in a spirit of collaboration then we will likely not succeed to the fullest extent possible".
Panglonymous September 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM
How many members do BSRA (Belmont Shore Residents' Association) and BSBA (Belmont Shore Business Association) currently have in common? Serious question, don't know the answer.
John B. Greet September 25, 2012 at 04:18 PM
This cannot possibly be true, Nancy. Ruehle says otherwise. He was once a BSRA President, dontcha know? Nothing happens on 2nd Street without Lorbeer's manipulations or without DeLong's approval. Ruehle has letters, dontcha know? Ruehle has links! Don't try to contradict Ruehle, he knows everything about everything to do with 2nd Street and he is never, ever wrong.
John B. Greet September 25, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I think your question is a perceptive one, Pan. I think there are more common interests than divergent interests among the stakeholders along and near 2nd Street than some eternal complainers would have us believe. Still, I have long advocated for re-structuring and simplifying the current Parking Commission. This is a quasi-governmental entity and, because of this, it should be small, limited in scope and authority and, perhaps most importantly fully *balanced* in its composition. Right now I do not believe it is not composed in a balanced manner. Right now I think only a minority of members need to be residents and I think at least half should have to be. In fact, I think a member should be able to serve as a "business" representative, a "residence" representative, but not both, unless that person is the sole tie-breaking member (the Chairperson) and has been approved for membership and appointment to the Chairpersonship by *both* stakeholder groups. I don't think the Parking Commission needs seven members. I think three or five members should more than suffice. This would keep the meetings shorter and a strict adherence to Roberts Rules of Order would keep these meetings a lot more efficient and civil.
John B. Greet September 25, 2012 at 05:03 PM
It must be a sad, petty, and bitter person, indeed, who feels he must denigrate the well-deserved recognition of another.
John B. Greet September 25, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Yes, because the facts are not important, right? It is only important to convince habitual whining complainers of those facts. Right?
Nancy Wride (Editor) September 25, 2012 at 09:12 PM
As to meetings, just fyi, the Residents Assn. meeting and the Parking Commission meeting neither goes very long. Both have to clear out due to library use and hours. Just on that point.
Panglonymous September 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Thanks, John, interesting points. Sooooo.... there is no overlap, eh? Not a single individual with a foot in both camps? How about Deukmejian, he's a pro-business resident, right? Or did he move? Or renounce Capitalism? (I'm far too old to be a spindly naif, but a chamber of my heart still beats as one...)
Panglonymous September 26, 2012 at 03:47 AM
The irony is that if approximately 70% of Belmont Shore residents are renters, and one may qualify as a member of the Belmont Shore Residents' Association as a *non-resident* property owner, and if a primary concern of many *resident* owners is their property's market value and appreciation potential, then the BSRA and the BSBA might *both* be considered primarily *business* associations. What percentage of BS residents are single-family-homeowners intending to stay indefinitely? Those who know don't say. -Lao Tzu (cracked in half and repurposed.)
Lisa Ramelow September 27, 2012 at 07:53 AM
Mr. Schneiter is not the Parking Commission Vice Chairman
Lisa Ramelow September 27, 2012 at 08:01 AM
Mike, There isn’t “extra parking”, there is just “now-utilized” parking. It wasn’t used when private, now it is. And of course, YES, owning a restaurant nearby, I think that it was money well spent. But I would have supported this transaction anywhere in the Shore. Thank you so much for acknowledging my Amazing Woman award. It was such an honor for me, especially knowing that I was nominated by over 40 citizens in the community, many of whom assisted me in signing calendars for the troops in 2010. If you research the award, you will find it is through the Press-Telegram, & has nothing to do with politicians. Rich Archbald at the PT can explain it to you. And, speaking of the gentlemen that you mentioned: Mr. De Long, Mr. Lorbeer, Mr. Schnieter, & Mr. Rotondo - you will not find my thoughts on any of them published anywhere because I keep those to myself. And, I don’t kowtow; I don’t find that necessary. Regarding my mention of kindness and respect towards you: I attended many many meetings with you, and I observed you saying, in my opinion, many unfair, untrue, and mostly unproductive statements about others, both verbally and in writing. And yet, I never criticized you; instead, I secretly wished that that you had tried a different approach. You are obviously an intelligent man, and it was my hope that you would use this gift in a different way, a way to help, rather than trying to denigrate those around you. Keeping quiet was kind, to me.
Mike Ruehle September 27, 2012 at 08:04 AM
Lisa, You are the one, not I, who claimed the city purchase of Frank Colonna's parking lot for $1.4 million provided "EXTRA PARKING." You act like you never said there is now "EXTRA PARKING," yet take me to task for mistating the purchase price. The following is your quote from below. "Lisa Ramelow 5:17 pm on Sunday, September 23, 2012 Mike, My response was intended to make some corrections & to express my viewpoint of gratitude for the EXTRA PARKING at the west end of 2nd St. where my business, La Strada is located." And Rich Archbald isn't a butt kisser???? He's the Editor of the Press Telegram that published my picture on the front page of a Sunday edition with a headline story about a DUI I had 2-years earlier, all because I was putting heat on DeLong, Rotondo, Lorbeer & Schnieter for their actions that were negatively impacting residents quality of life. Archbald chooses to NOT publish stories about murders and city workers who molest children, yet somehow thinks a residents association president's 2-year old DUI was Sunday front page news. Don't tell me the Press Telegram's Archbald doesn't perform the bidding of Foster & DeLong. Sorry to burst your ballon, but you wouldn't have received the award if not for their thumbs up. You keep claiming you never critisized me. I don't recall you critisizing me when I was dining in your restaurant. Yet, that didn't prevent you from writing nasty emails to others about me which you seem to have forgotten.
John B. Greet September 27, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Ruehle, I get that you have little, if anything, good or truly constructive to say about much of anything or anyone, anymore, least of all of what goes on along or around 2nd Street. Still, I think you really stoop very low when you call into question and denigrate Lisa's truly deserving community recognition as a PT-sponsored "Amazing Woman." Every one of those recipients (and so many others who were only nominated) are hugely deserving of the awards they received. http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_18906606 Debate, discussion, and disagreement are all well and good, but your impugning of Lisa's entirely unsolicited recognition cheapens and insults all of the *other* very deserving recipients as well. It really is just classless and such tactics really are beneath you, or should be.
Mike Ruehle September 27, 2012 at 08:22 PM
First, Lisa tells me to get MY facts straight. Never mind her conflict of interest. So I research the "fact" further and find out it was actually worse than I had stated. Then LISA realizes SHE made a mistake, but doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to admit it. Nor does she respond to questions about whether her landlord and former Councilman Colonna received a $1.4 million gift of TAXPAYER MONEY. Award winning and unquestionable Lisa jumped in critisizing me and I'm not supposed to be able to defend my comments to HER???? Yeah right. A big part of the reason she won the award is because she kowtows to the big boys. Most people forget it is their constitutional responsibility to question their government's actions, but fail in this responsibility because they shy away from any sort of conflict. They don't have the intestinal fortitude to do so. Then there are others who critisize people who question their government's actions in attempt to garnish favor from those questioned. It's that pat on the head from their master they seek. I find it both comical and hypocritical when someone publicly complains about another person's comments that are not positive, as if they have a corner on free speech and the method it must be conducted. In a free world, if you don't like my comments, kindly not read them.
John B. Greet September 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Ruehle clearly never got the lesson that most folks got during their own childhood: "Just because you can say a thing, doesn't mean you always should." As mentioned, Ruehle, debate, discussion, and disagreement are all well and good, but your impugning of Lisa's entirely unsolicited recognition cheapens and insults all of the *other* very deserving recipients as well. It really is just classless and such tactics really are beneath you, or should be. There was no reason to bring up Lisa's award at all. She certainly didn't do so, and it seems clear that the only reason *you* chose to mention it was to use the point to offer insult where none was rightly deserved. Yes you are entitled to your freedom of speech, but with that freedom comes a certain degree of responsibility. You recurrently abuse your freedom in this regard and then complain that you have every right to say the many inaccurate and nasty things with which you routinely lash out at people who happen to disagree with you. Try to be just a little more responsible...more civil...for a change, will you, and stop so abusing that precious right to free speech you have been blessed with.
Lisa Ramelow September 28, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Mike, I never told you to “get your facts straight”, I simply pointed out that yours were incorrect. Nor did I take you “to task” for getting the price incorrect. I don’t care about the price; I actually think it was a good price for 2 lots, and a great way to spend taxpayer money. I don’t consider it a “gift” to anyone. It was a payment for a piece of property that one family was wise enough to purchase years earlier. I corrected your facts about the parking lot size, and about your determined opinion of my feelings on parklets, which happened to be 100 % incorrect. There was no criticism of you whatsoever; that is simply the way in which you chose to take it. Here is what a dignified response (in my opinion) would have looked like: “Thank you Lisa, for letting me know that the parking lot has helped you even though you and I disagree about it. And, I apologize for accusing you of supporting parklets when in fact you don’t.” It might be our constitutional right to question our government’s actions, but doing so in an undignified and unrefined way does not help one’s case. And, like I said previously, actually DOING something besides writing things to editorial forums, e.g., going out into the community to help is much more rewarding. Would you like to try volunteering with me? It does take a bit of intestinal fortitude to rappel off a building to raise money for Special Olympics. Let me know if you would like to join me.

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