Walk Long Beach was originally formed as a collaborative effort among several organizations, by YMCA of Greater Long Beach, through its Pioneering Healthy Communities program funded by the CDC through the YMCA of the USA. These organizations included the Long Beach Community Foundation, the City’s public health department (one of three such city programs in the State), the City’s long-range policy planning staff, the Long Beach Alliance for Food and Fitness (LBAFF), and others.
At that time, there was a host of active bicycle advocacy organizations at that time, that were promoting an active transportation agenda for a wide range of cycling interests, from commuters to racers to recreational cycling. As the City of Long Beach focused on securing grant funding for bicycle facilities, a growing contingent of City staff and the public felt that the pedestrian environment was being increasingly ignored.
In anticipation of the ProWalk/ProBike/ProPlace biennial conference coming to the Long Beach Convention Center in September 10-13, 2012, the need for the effort to expand on the pedestrian side of the active transportation equation became more apparent.
From this effort, a walk audit was conducted for Central Long Beach in September 2012. This effort was coordinated with the Project for Public Spaces and America Walks to serve as the origination of the Walk Long Beach collaborative.
Walk Long Beach operated as a collaborative of the following organizations from 2012 to 2016:
Members of the WLB collaborative attended the YMCA Pioneering Healthy Communities summit in Washington, D.C. in December 2009, which began the conversation about walkability in Long Beach.
The collaborative was meeting and organizing community events since 2009, and expanded into policy advocacy work through the adoption of the City’s Mobility Element in October 2013.
Since then, 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, and attended the 2nd Annual National Walking Summit October 28-30, 2015 in Washington, D.C. 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.
In April 2016, Walk Long Beach became a stand alone non-profit organization, a project of Community Partners, its fiscal sponsor.