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Press Release: Long Beach Approves Plastic Bag Ban

May 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I just saw a Tuesday press release from healthebay.org which explains a Long Beach City Council vote to ban single-use plastic bags beginning this August.
Hopefully, City residents will be receptive to the ban, which at first might seem like it creates an enormous inconvenience. But let’s not forget, we survived without the plastic bag before, so I think we’ll be just fine without it.

From Heal The Bay:

SANTA MONICA, CA (Tuesday, May 18, 2011) – The Long Beach City Council tonight approved a ban on the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags at grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and farmers’ markets in the City beginning in August.

With the vote, Long Beach becomes the largest city in Los Angeles County to ban plastic bags and is expected to motivate similar actions by other local governments throughout the region, including the City of Los Angeles and City of Pasadena.

In a phased rollout beginning in August, plastic carryout bags will no longer be available in supermarkets, large retail pharmacies, liquor stores, food marts and farmers’ markets in the city, which encompasses nearly 500,000 residents.

The measure seeks to end the environmental and fiscal waste created by the use of 6 billion single-use plastic shopping bags each year in Los Angeles County alone.

California municipalities spend nearly $25 million each year just to collect and dispose of plastic bag waste. Less than 5% of plastic grocery bags are recycled each year statewide, so the remainder clogs precious landfill, litters public spaces and harms animal life when the bags infiltrate waterways.

Long Beach is disproportionally plagued by plastic pollution, as it sits at the terminus of the Los Angeles River. Long Beach spends approximately $2.2 million per year in maintenance costs associated with marine debris such as plastic bags. Suja Lowenthal, Vice Mayor of Long Beach, introduced and championed the bag ordinance and is a board member of Heal the Bay.

“Long Beach has taken control of its own destiny by banning plastic bags from its litter stream and setting an example for cities along the Los Angeles River,” said Vice Mayor Lowenthal.

Environmental group Heal the Bay has led the legislative fight to enact a bag ban for more than five years as part of its ongoing efforts to tackle plastic pollution in California seas and neighborhoods.

“Today Long Beach took a stand against both environmental pollution and fiscal waste,” said Kirsten James, Water Quality Director of Heal the Bay. “This action is yet another signal to the plastics industry that cities are fed up with paying the huge price tag of cleaning up plastic pollution.

Long Beach’s action marks the 11th municipality in California to ban plastic carryout bags. Many others are posed to follow suit. Stakeholders continue to look to Sacramento legislators to move forward a uniform, statewide approach to curb plastic bag pollution.

Retailers in Long Beach will still be able to distribute paper bags, so long as they contain at least 40% post-consumer content. Shoppers who forget their reusable bags have the option of purchasing paper bags at checkout for 10 cents each. Heavy-duty reusable bags are convenient, environmentally friendly alternatives that have been embraced by hundreds of millions of consumers around the world.

Long Beach joins a long list of governments that have enacted progressive curbs on single-use plastic bags, including China, Bangladesh, San Francisco and Mexico City.

About Heal the Bay

Heal the Bay is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean. We use research, education, community action and advocacy to pursue our mission.

Contact: Kirsten James, Heal the Bay, (310) 451-1500, x 162 or (310) 713-3091 cell

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City of Long Beach Press Releases Invite Public Input on Restaurants, Bikes

March 4, 2011 2 comments

Two recent press releases from The City of Long Beach invite public opinion on development projects. Yesterday, March 3, the city invited North Long Beach residents to a public forum to be held this Saturday March 5, at Jordan High School, concerning the planning and design of a new restaurant project at Atlantic Ave. and Artesia Blvd.

Today, the city issued another press release detling four upcoming workshops on Long Beach’s Bicycle Master Plan.

Both have been reprinted below.

3/4/2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE #CM: 030411
Subject : Public Invited to Attend Bicycle Master Plan Update Community Workshops and Bike Rides
Contact : Sumire Gant, Transportation Programs Officer    562.570.6618
sumire.gant@longbeach.gov
Want to help make Long Beach more livable and bike-friendly?  Participate in one of the four final Bicycle Master Plan Update community workshops being hosted during March. The Department of Public Works is completing an update of the City’s Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). Since the adoption of the current BMP in 2001, the City has been successful in completing and/or funding virtually all of the short-term projects identified within the BMP, including:

  • Bicycle Signage Program;
  • Bicycle Parking Program;
  • Bike Safety Awareness Program; and
  • Nine of ten identified priority bike lanes and routes.

Through Bicycle Master Plan workshops, community members will have the opportunity to both learn about and experience innovative bicycle facility treatments, including bike boulevards and sharrows, while participating in the planning of an innovative alternative transportation system that serves users of all ages and skill levels.

The Saturday workshops will feature optional neighborhood bike ride designed for cyclists of all skill levels. They will also include a bicycle rodeo for children to learn bike safety skills, and bike valet services.

For more information, please contact Courtney Aguirre at 562.570.6667 or courtney.aguirre@longbeach.gov.

Workshop Schedule

Saturday, March 5
El Dorado Park West Senior Center
2800 Studebaker Road
Bike Ride
1:00 – 2:30 pm
Community Workshop
2:30 – 4:00pm

Saturday, March 12
Expo Center (Bixby Knolls)
4321 Atlantic Ave.
Bike Ride
10:00 – 11:30 am
Community Workshop
11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Saturday, March 19
Bixby Park
130 Cherry Ave.
Bike Ride
10:00 – 11:30am
Community Workshop
11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Wednesday, March 23
Mark Twain Library
1401 E. Anaheim St.
6:00 – 8:00 pm

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3/3/2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE #CM: 030311
Subject : Residents Invited to Provide Input on Atlantic & Artesia Restaurant Project, March 5
Contact : Jacqueline Medina, Communications, Department of Development Services    562.570.3827
jacqueline.medina@longbeach.gov
The City has developed a vision for North Long Beach that includes the transformation of the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Artesia Boulevard into an important commercial gateway. To further this vision, The Long Beach Redevelopment Agency acquired a 2.2-acre site located at the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Artesia Boulevard for the development of a full-service, sit-down restaurant, as preferred by the community.On Saturday, March 5, Councilmember Steven Neal, 9th District and the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, together with Primestor Development, Inc. will host a community discussion on the site planning and design of a full-service restaurant. The discussion will be held from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the Jordan High School Cafeteria, 6500 Atlantic Ave. Free parking is available in the Jordan High School staff parking lot off Atlantic Avenue. Light breakfast will be served.

“This is an opportunity for residents to provide input on the selection and design of their new neighborhood restaurant,” said Councilmember Steven Neal. “With improvement projects of all types and sizes being planned and implemented in North Long Beach, we are making sure everyone plays a part in shaping this corridor to help stimulate economic development and build a more vibrant neighborhood for all of us.”

Close to $5.5 million in extensive streetscape and façade improvements have already taken place along Atlantic Avenue, and just south of the restaurant site is the North Village Center, a mixed-used development that will include a new state-of-the-art public library and community center.

For more information, please contact Tony Foster, North Redevelopment Project Officer, at tony.foster@longbeach.gov or at 562.570.6393.

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The original press releases can be found here: http://longbeach.gov/news/default.asp

Both events should be interesting, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to either. I’d like to see what other residents are saying about the Bicycle Master Plan’s progress thus far. I don’t make it up to North Long Beach very often, but the new restaurant project, as well as the coming North Village Center, might bring more people into the area.