California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom joined Councilman Mike Bonin and Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair David Card for a tour of Potrero Canyon Park last week.
The 46-acre park, which will have riparian habitat and a hiking trail from the Palisades Recreation Center down to PCH, is in the final stages of grading. The destruction of the original canyon began in 1989.
Bids will go out for landscaping once L.A. County signs off on the recirculating pump station design and once the State and City agree on an encroachment permit for the pump station on the Pacific Coast Highway right away. (The area immediately next to PCH belongs to Caltrans, a state agency.)
If all goes well, landscaping will start in early 2021, with the park’s completion scheduled for late 2021.
Card was asked why State Assemblyman Bloom went on the tour. Perhaps it was part of an effort to secure additional funding to build a pedestrian bridge from the base of Potrero to Will Rogers State Beach?
The bridge over PCH was recommended years ago by the Potrero Canyon Citizen Oversight Committee, and was strongly supported by committee chair George Wolfberg, who died early this year.
He envisioned the bridge as the safest and most practical solution for people who want to either access the beach or the canyon, a half mile south of Temescal Canyon Road. Initially there were funds for a bridge in the Potrero Canyon Trust Fund, but a $6 million cost overrun with grading will leave almost no money after the landscaping is completed.
(Editor’s note: Caltrans Office Chief Abdi Saghafi had discussed a bridge with L.A. City’s Bureau of Engineering Potrero Project manager. In an October 15 Circling the News story, “Soap Opera of Potrero Canyon Park,” we reported:
“We were looking at a crossing that might be compatible with other PCH crossings,” Saghafi said. “We met with encroachment folks and we heard the bridge might cost $10 million.”
He added, “Frankly I don’t think that will be enough.”
Saghafi said that Caltrans is still waiting for a preliminary bridge design from BOE.)
Card told CTN that he wanted Bloom to see the need for a bridge, and also for “the possible title transfer from state to city of enough PCH right of way to improve the existing rough dirt maintenance road into a public trail from Potrero Canyon to the Temescal Canyon crossing signal for beach access.
“It’s a quick and cheap solution to beach access, in addition to the slower and more costly bridge,” Card said, “but bridge is the best solution for safe beach access.”
Wolfberg had long maintained that people coming down through Potrero Canyon would risk dashing across PCH to reach the beach, instead of walking an extra half mile to use the light at Temescal.
Councilman Bonin was also able to view a possible site for a Recreation and Parks maintenance yard next to PCH, which some are pushing, in order to close the current maintenance yard at the Palisades Rec Center.
“It is much easier for Bonin and Bloom to understand the project and the safe means of access to the beach when they see it in person,” Card said.
Once completed, the half-mile long Potrero Canyon Park — which Bonin wants to be named after Wolfberg — will be limited to passive recreation such as hiking and picnics. The pathway will be ADA-accessible.