Downtown Long Beach, A Familiar Sight

Last evening during our Friday Night Gathering, Jean Nitzel mentioned that she had tried (years ago) to get the City Fathers of Long Beach to convert the main street of Long Beach to a Pedestrians Only Zone — just from Bolstad to Sid Snyder Drive and just in the summer. It didn’t get anywhere back then — a gazillion excuses were given beginning with “that stretch is part of the State Highway System…”  But they didn’t even try, Jean said.

And, I must say, there wasn’t much discussion about it last night.  I’m not sure why.  I thought it was a great idea, myself, and was reminded of the many streets in Europe that are “pedestrians only”– in the Latin Quarter of Paris, Carnaby Street in London, Strøget in Copenhagen — and many others throughout the world — even in Seattle!  Somehow, I was saddened that the city of Long Beach wouldn’t give the idea the time of day.

There are also streets called woonerfs — a street or square where cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and other local residents travel together without traditional safety infrastructure to guide them. Also sometimes called a “shared street,” a woonerf is generally free of traffic lights, stop signs, curbs, painted lines, and the “usual” guides to travel behavior.  The idea behind them is to reduce accidents and, amazingly, the statistics prove that this has happened.

While I can’t quite imagine the main drag in Long Beach becoming a woonerf, I must say that on many days in the summer, Territory Road in Oysterville comes close.  And my observation is that everyone is more observant and courteous and many of our visitors really take time to enjoy the village.  Not the usual speed-through at 40 mph…

Steamers Shamrock and Reliable — One Hundred Years Ago on Willapa Bay

All of which reminds me of the last part of the Observer article this week on the county’s housing future. It concerned a possible Willapa Bay Ferry which would connect a pedestrian and bike ferry from the Port of Peninsula in Nahcotta to the Tokeland Marina as well as, possibly, Bay Center or South Bend.  Somehow, I feel a little balky about that, imagining all the current rules and regs about parking facilities, docking facilities etc. etc. and thinking about the vast acres of cement at the ferry approaches in the Puget Sound area.  All I can think of is… “Bye bye Nahcotta…”  But, realistically?  Not to worry… probably not in my lifetime.