FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM: 012017
City of Long Beach Receives California’s Highest Environmental Honor for Downtown Plan
The City of Long Beach has received a Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for "Sustainable Practices, Communities or Facilities" for the Downtown Plan, including successes with the new Civic Center, Mobility Element and LED streetlight conversation.
“The Downtown Plan has established development and design standards that promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and a vibrant urban core,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Since its adoption, several major developments demonstrate how economic growth and environmental consciousness can work hand-in-hand. We are honored to be recognized and awarded California's highest environmental honor.”
The award, issued Thursday night in Sacramento through the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), “recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable, voluntary contributions in conserving California's precious resources, protecting and enhancing our environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the state's economy.”
“This prestigious award reflects our strong commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainable design practices, and thoughtful development that enhances the public realm,” said Amy Bodek, Director of Long Beach Development Services. “The Downtown Plan provides a supportive regulatory framework and continuing guidance to achieve significant, long-lasting environmental and economic benefits by facilitating new transit-oriented residential and commercial development opportunities, promoting open space and greater connectivity, and encouraging multi-modal transportation options in the City’s core. With a forward-thinking vision and unified approach for improving urban livability, the Downtown Plan serves as a strong model for other diverse communities.”
The Downtown Plan has proved to be a key catalyst in the ongoing development and revitalization of Downtown Long Beach and connecting neighborhoods.
Adopted by the Long Beach City Council in January 2012, the Downtown Plan encourages a proactive planning process and refined standards that mandate high-quality, context-sensitive building designs that contribute to defining and activating the Downtown. In addition to providing a streamlined permitting and entitlement process, the Downtown Plan includes a Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), reducing the cost and time associated with entitling a development project.
The Downtown Plan received a Comprehensive Planning Award, Large Jurisdiction, Award of Merit at the 2013 American Planning Association (APA) California Conference.
Construction is underway for the new Civic Center, which is being developed under an innovative public-private partnership. The Civic Center will include a new City Hall, Port Headquarters and Main Library, along with a re-activated Lincoln Park and new residential, retail and hotel commercial development.
Located on the site of the former Long Beach Courthouse, the new City Hall and Port Headquarters will highlight governmental consolidation, shared use and functional synergy; the design will promote more openness and inclusiveness with the community.
The development will be seismically safe and sustainably built, utilizing solar power and rain water storage systems, and is targeted to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard for environmental efficiency.
The Long Beach City Council adopted the Mobility Element in October 2013, after more than six years of community outreach and preparation. The Mobility Element provides a 20-year guide for future decision making by establishing a vision with goals, strategies, and implementation measures that support and encourage all roadway users.
Replacing the 1991 Transportation Element, the Mobility Element takes a balanced approach to improving the way people, goods, and resources should move throughout the City. The Mobility Element addresses all modes of travel, including walking, bicycling, riding transit, driving; and discusses other topics such as land use, parking, and environmental impacts to create a stable mobility system of complete streets and corridors for Long Beach residents and workers, students, shoppers and visitors alike.
The Mobility Element received a Transportation Planning Award of Excellence at the 2014 APA California Conference.
LED streetlight conversation
The City of Long Beach is replacing tens of thousands of high-pressure sodium streetlights with LED streetlights, to save money and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The retrofit is expected to save about 9.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, reducing Long Beach’s overall energy consumption by almost 10 percent. Reduced carbon emissions associated with the savings are the equivalent to taking 21,000 cars off the road.
The conversion is funded in part by a $659,000 Port of Long Beach Community Mitigation Grant. The additional $6.1 million cost will be fully offset in four years by energy savings, along with $3.2 million in utility rebates from Southern California Edison. The City also partnered with City Light and Power for this project.