Walk long beach HISTORY
The conversation about walkability in Long Beach began at the YMCA Pioneering Healthy Communities summit in Washington, D.C. in December 2009. The YMCA of Greater Long Beach, through its Pioneering Healthy Communities program, facilitated the establishment of Walk Long Beach as a collaborative effort among several organizations. These organizations included the Long Beach Community Foundation, the City’s public health department, the City’s long-range policy planning staff, the Long Beach Alliance for Food and Fitness, and others.
In 2012, there was a host of active bicycle advocacy organizations that were promoting an active transportation agenda for a wide range of cycling interests. A growing group of City staff and the public recognized that the pedestrian environment was being increasingly ignored.
In effort to expand on the pedestrian side of the active transportation equation, the ProWalk/ProBike/ProPlace conference at the Long Beach Convention Center in September 2012, was augmented with a walk audit for Central Long Beach. This effort was coordinated with the Project for Public Spaces and America Walks.
Walk Long Beach operated as a collaborative of the following organizations from 2012 to 2016:
Since its establishment, the WLB collaborative began meeting and organizing community events beginning in 2009, and expanded into policy advocacy work through the adoption of the City’s Mobility Element in October 2013. WLB successfully pushed for the adoption of the Vision Zero Policy by the Long Beach City Council in 2016.
Members have attended the New Partners for Smart Growth conferences in Seattle in February 2010, San Diego in February 2012, Portland, OR, in 2016, and St. Louis in 2017. WLB participated in the California Walks walking advocacy summit in October 2014 in Oakland, California, attended the 2nd Annual National Walking Summit October 28-30, 2015 in Washington, D.C. and 3rd National Walking Summit in Minneapolis in 2017, and the first national complete streets conference, NCSI/SGA Street Lights, in November 2016 in Sacramento.
WLB was the local host for the biennial PedestriansCount! conference for California Walks in June 2016, held in Long Beach, and recently attended the 2018 PedestriansCount! conference in San Jose. WLB participates annually in National Walk to School Day and has created LB Walk to School Week to augment the programs goals. WLB co hosted the Inaugural Ranchos Walk, a 9.4-mile walk through Long Beach history and neighborhoods, in September 2018. WLB has focused its efforts on shaping a robust policy.
In April 2016, Walk Long Beach became a stand alone non-profit organization, a project of Community Partners, its fiscal sponsor. Our relationship with our fiscal sponsor and other active transportation advocacy groups in Long Beach, and across the state help us to further our efforts to improve walkability and community health.
Since gaining fiscal sponsorship, WLB has secured a variety grants and provided fee-for-service consulting on walking safety to help support and further its efforts. Funders have included The California Endowment Building Healthy Communities-Long Beach, AARP Community Challenge, Port of Long Beach, Just Transit, and others.