Local stakeholders tasked with identifying preferred development alternatives for 43 acres of property surrounding the Queen Mary discussed connectivity from the historic ship to Downtown Long Beach, adjoining bike path projects and an aerial tram concept this month.
The 12-member Queen Mary Land Development Task Force received several presentations on mobility and transportation issues at its meeting on March 2.
This rendering shows a proposal by the Port of Long Beach to create a bike and pedestrian path extension on the south waterfront around the Maya Hotel, the Queen Mary site, the dome and the Long Beach Carnival Cruise Line terminal, ending at Pier J. (Rendering provided by the Port of Long Beach)
Task force members heard various reports on ongoing infrastructure projects, including the state’s I-710 Freeway project, the Port of Long Beach’s Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement project and the city’s bike master plan, all of which may eventually become factors in possible development at the Queen Mary site.
The task force also received presentations from Long Beach Transit about public transportation options, including the Aqualink and Aquabus water taxis, and public parking availability in the downtown area.
During the task force’s previous meeting in February, city officials said prior demand analyses have indicated that development surrounding the ship could include new outdoor entertainment venues with supporting retail, a boutique hotel, a mega-yacht marina and possibly residential units.
Economic feasibility for such development, however, would largely depend on resolving various “development impediments,” including tidelands land-use restrictions, parking restraints and public access issues, city officials stated.
Los Angeles-based Urban Commons, which replaced Garrison Investment Group as the ship’s master leaseholder last year, has expressed interest in a “unique entertainment and boutique hotel development” at the property, according to Michael Conway, the city’s director of economic and property development.
This month, the task force received presentations on proposed bike paths being built in and around the Port of Long Beach and neighboring the Queen Mary property.
Along with adding bike and pedestrian access to the new Gerald Desmond Bridge, the port is working on a project to extend an existing bike path to provide a continous route around the Maya Hotel, the Queen Mary site, the Spruce Goose dome and the Long Beach Carnival Cruise Line terminal, ending at Pier J.
Allison Yoh, transportation policy manager for the Port of Long Beach, said the port is proposing to turn a vehicle roadway into a dedicated two-directional bicycle path along Queensway Drive to increase public access on the waterfront while adding new streetscape and sidewalk elements.
The task force, meanwhile, also received a presentation on an aerial tram concept.
Alex Bellehumeur, owner of Statewide Developers, Inc. and a former Long Beach harbor commissioner, briefly discussed a proposal for an aerial cable car system that he had brought forward years ago before the Queen Mary’s former master leaseholder, “Save the Queen,” defaulted on loans following the bankruptcy of the ship’s past operator QSDI.
He said the aerial tram system, similar to a concept being proposed in San Diego, could become its own attraction in Long Beach, shuttling people in cable cars over the water from the Aquarium of the Pacific to the Maya Hotel to the Queen Mary site and then to the cruise line terminal.
Bellehumeur will provide a full presentation of his concept at the task force’s next meeting scheduled for April 6. The task force also plans to take a tour of the Queen Mary property on Saturday, April 2.