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Cities team up to highlight Beach Boulevard improvements

Beach Blvd.
Beach Boulevard spans multiple cities and unincorporated communities in Orange County between La Habra and Huntington Beach (pictured). “Meet on Beach,” a 21-mile-long block party planned for Nov. 17, encourages residents to re-imagine the historic street.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer )

Since opening in 1934, Beach Boulevard has been one of Orange County’s most iconic and heavily traveled streets, cutting north-south through multiple communities, including La Habra, Westminster, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Stanton, Anaheim and Huntington Beach.

Officials from some of these cities, as part of the Renew Beach Boulevard Coalition, are collaborating with the Southern California Assn. of Governments for a 21-mile-long block party called “Meet on Beach” on Nov. 17.

“The overall reason for the event is to showcase the opportunities on Beach Boulevard, the businesses on it and how it could be a better place for people, not just cars,” said Joel Rosen, Buena Park’s community development director.

Beach Boulevard, also known as State Route 39, accommodates 26,000 to 83,000 vehicle trips a day, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority.

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Meet on Beach is part of SCAG’s Go Human campaign, an outreach effort aimed at reducing traffic accidents by encouraging people to walk and bike.

Hannah Brunelle, assistant regional planner for SCAG, says the goal is to make Beach “a more walkable and bikeable active street for a day.”

Buena Park’s Beach Blvd.
A drone image of Beach Boulevard in Buena Park, which includes Knott's Berry Farm.
(Courtesy of Meet on Beach)

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Buena Park, Anaheim and Stanton are among the cities to actively invest in Beach Boulevard, which had become dilapidated in recent years.

Buena Park, for example, has been among the most ambitious when it comes to revitalizing the roadway, which includes Knott’s Berry Farm.

Rundown motels, which had become havens for drugs and prostitution were purchased and razed, replaced with restaurants, hotels and attractions.

The Anaheim City Council recently approved 39 Commons, a 30-acre mixed-use development on the northeast corner of Lincoln Avenue and Beach that will feature shopping, dining, a hotel, housing and a community center. Work is scheduled to begin in early 2020.

“Beach Boulevard certainly has gone through some changes in recent years,” said Lauren Gold, an Anaheim spokeswoman. “We’ve been in constant searches to make uses along Beach Boulevard more appropriate.”

Beach Blvd. in La Habra
The 21-mile stretch of Beach Boulevard starts near La Habra (in background) and runs all the way to Pacific Coast Highway.
(Lou Ponsi)

While some details for November’s event are not finalized, Huntington Beach will host a food festival in the parking lot where Beach meets Pacific Coast Highway, said Julie Toledo, the city’s spokeswoman. And there will be instructors promoting surfing, skating and other active sports programs.

A bike safety rodeo is planned for Alamitos Intermediate School in Garden Grove, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and the Police Department.

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Stanton is hosting a “Walkable Streets Lab,” which will include workshops on their pedestrian routes.

La Habra will promote its “Move More Eat Healthy” campaign.

And Buena Park will host food trucks and close a 1.5-mile section of Beach to vehicles, allowing pedestrians and bicyclists unfettered access to the road.

For more information, go to meetonbeach.com.

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