At the Park Advisory Board’s January 15 meeting at the Palisades Recreation Center, several topics were discussed including Potrero Canyon Park, parking issues, Veterans’ Gardens/bocce; the proposed dog park and new PAB bylaws. Circling the News will address the dog park, the bocce courts and the bylaws and in separate stories.
POTRERO CANYON PARK:
Pedro Garcia, the Bureau of Engineering’s Potrero Park Manager, provided an update. “The design phase for landscaping is close to completion,” he said. “We hope to finish grading in late September, early October.”
Once the design plans are completed, they will be put out to bid, with contracts signed in August. Potrero Canyon Park is now projected to open to the public in April 2021.
Q. BIG PILE OF DIRT: What will be done with the big pile of dirt that is midway between Potrero and Temescal Canyon?
A. Garcia said that the dirt by the drains in Potrero Park that will recirculate the water has to be granular and that some of the soil in the pile is being used for that. Right now, there are no plans to remove the rest of the dirt after the park opens.
Q. Pedestrian Bridge over PCH: What about the status of the pedestrian bridge from Potrero to Will Rogers State Beach? Initially, officials hoped there would be money left over to build a pedestrian bridge across PCH, to prevent people running from the beach to the park or vice versa, across six lanes of traffic.
A. There’s no progress on plans for a bridge because of funding. “The bridge is on hold because of lack of funding,” Garcia said. (There was a $4 million grading overrun on this park in 2019.)
The bridge is estimated to cost $10 million for design and construction. “We put in a request for a bridge at the end of 2019,” Garcia said. “We don’t know if we will get the money.”
Q. PARKING SPACES:How many parking spaces for the new park will be added to the Rec Center parking lot?
A. At the meeting, Garcia said that 31 spaces are required by the Coastal Commission, and 28 will be added or repainted. That led board members to ask about the total number of eventual space because the parking lot, particularly during baseball season, is always packed.
Circling the News contacted Garcia about the parking in a January 17 email. He replied, “I misinformed you on the total number of new parking stalls. My apologies. The remodeled parking lot will have 28 new stalls, not 31. There will be 22 new stalls around the center island and 6 new stalls along the west perimeter.
“The conditions of our Coastal Permit require “no fewer than 10 and no more than 30” parking spaces. Therefore, we are in compliance with our Coastal Permit,” he said.
At the October PAB meeting, it was announced that when the parking spaces are added, only part of the overall parking lot will be repaved.
The Rec Center parking lot is in bad shape and the entire lot needs repaving. Garcia explained that the money in the Potrero Fund can only be used for Potrero Park, which means that only part of the parking lot can be repaved (given current and ongoing fiscal restraints within the Department of Recreation and Parks).
Unanswered question: What if a Potrero Park patron parks in the lot that is not repaved? Will certain spaces be reserved for Potrero only? Garcia was contacted by email on January 18 and Circling the News will update you once we receive a response.
Q. FENCE AROUND THE PARK:One resident asked, “When we bought our home on the rim of the park, developers said that we would have access to the canyon from our home. I know a fence is planned, but what if we paid for and put in our own gate?”
A. “No,” Garcia said.
Q. The rim resident then asked, “If we’re willing to fund the gate, I can’t understand why the City won’t let us.”
A. David Card, who is acting chair of the Community Council and has been an active member of the Potrero Canyon Citizen Advisory Committee since its inception in 2004, replied: “The fence around the perimeter will be four feet high and there will be no private gates.” The fence will be for security purposes and to mark the park’s boundary to prohibit encroachment. “There will be public access points with six-foot fences and trilogy locks that will automatically shut and open at sunrise and sunset,” Card added.
Q. POTRERO PARK TRASH:Where will the trash from Potrero Park go?
A. Garcia said that maintenance and trash would have to be addressed by Rec and Parks. A flat space is needed for the trash receptacles and the canyon, with its curved slopes, will not provide access. “It’s a passive park, so we’re not anticipating a lot of trash,” he said.
Most likely the trash will be picked up in Potrero and brought to the current maintenance yard at the Rec Center, adjacent to the bocce courts that are being constructed.
Several PAB members said this would be the time to close that yard and move trash and all maintenance to the base of Potrero Canyon, along PCH. This is not the first time the board has looked at different locations to move trash pickup and included by the tennis courts and then along Temescal Canyon Road. Both locations were soundly dismissed by a large number of residents.
Garcia said the flat land along Pacific Coast Highway belongs to Caltrans, and Rec and Parks would need permission from that state agency. The board was asked if PCH is considered a scenic highway, which might make it more difficult to put a maintenance yard along the highway. They acknowledged they might need to get Coastal Commission approval.
Bob Harter said he would consider a motion about the possibility of moving the park’s maintenance yard/trash closer to PCH, and that perhaps a more invisible area along PCH could be found.
Card said, “The bottom of the canyon at PCH would be the best place for the trash.”
Trash location will be discussed at the next PAB meeting in April.
Q. VIEW ENCROACHMENT:Would the board consider contacting the City about view encroachment in Potrero Canyon Park?
A. A large concrete pad, similar to a parking lot structure, was built on 15245 DePauw and destroys the view of the mile-long park that goes from Frontera to PCH and the ocean.
Veteran member Bob Benton, who has been on the board more than 12 years said, “This may not be our issue.”
Card said, “This pad will be your view walking up and down the park.”
Former Community Council president Maryam Zar, who joined the board last year, asked if the issue could at least be put to the board to see if they wanted to discuss it.
Benton, responded that although he was not on the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women, referencing Zar’s introduction about her accomplishments at the beginning of the meeting, said “I totally disagree. I have been on this board for a long time. We try to keep the park the park. We are a park advisory board, not a community council.”
Member Lynn Hylen asked to see more information and said, “Let’s put it to a vote.”
A special PAB meeting may be held to examine view encroachment further.