State Senator Ben Allen confirmed at the July 8 Community Council meeting that the state will budget $11 million to build a pedestrian bridge over PCH that connects Will Rogers State Beach with the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon.
PPCC President David Card thanked Allen and Assemblymember Richard Bloom for finding the funding. “This will save lives,” Card said. “People would hike down Potrero Canyon and see the ocean and then would jump the fence and try to run across PCH.”
The late George Wolfberg, who had worked with the City to complete the park for many years, sought safe public access to and from the beach with the building of a pedestrian bridge over Pacific Coast Highway.
In the two-mile stretch of PCH from Chautauqua to Temescal Canyon Road, there is no pedestrian access to the beach from the inland side of the highway.
While chair of the PPCC in 2019, Wolfberg wrote to state officials: “The new park will have trails from the Palisades Recreation Center to the inland edge of Pacific Coast Highway. We will need access at trail’s end to assure safe passage to Will Rogers State Beach.
“This is not only a recreation access issue for beach goers, walkers, runners, swimmers, surfers and bicyclists, but also primarily a safety issue. People die regularly trying to jaywalk across six lanes of high-speed Pacific Coast Highway traffic.
“The danger will only increase exponentially once the park is open and the trail ends so tantalizingly close, yet so dangerously far across the highway to the sand.”
In 2019, CTN wrote: “A transient was struck by a car and killed in the northbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway, near the Potrero Canyon construction entrance on January 15 around 10 p.m.”
At the Community Council meeting, Allen said: “My staff will be here to make sure the bridge gets done in a timely fashion.”
Most likely the money will go to the City’s Bureau of Engineering for construction, but a follow-up on the initial request (probably mid-September) will specify.
Some people expressed concern that Councilman Mike Bonin’s plan to erect a tiny homes village on the Will Rogers Beach parking lot, coupled with a completed bridge, would make it a “highway of homeless” between the beach and the Palisades.
One board member asked Allen, “Can you intercede and say ‘no’ to putting the homeless housing on a state beach?”
“Much about this proposal leaves me scratching my head,” Allen replied. “I’ve expressed my concerns about the proposal. I’m under the assumption that Coastal . . .
Allen was interrupted and told that the State Coastal Commission had already been drawn into the conversation to allow the homes.
A second PPCC executive member asked, “Can we count on you to publicly state that Will Rogers Beach should not be used for the homeless; that beaches should remain open for all residents?”
Allen, like many officials, was under the assumption that Bonin’s proposal is subject to a feasibility study. According to emails uncovered by the PPCC during a public records request, the number of tiny homes and the utilities needed to run them as pallet shelters on Will Rogers, Dockweiler and Marina del Rey has already been discussed by City and County officials.
Allen asked for and was sent a copy of CTN’s July 8 story (“Beach Parking Lots Have Already Been Analyzed for Housing for the Homeless”).
“Let me circle up with Richard Bloom,” he said.
Card also announced that landscaping on the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero would start after July 12 and take about 10 months to complete. “Sometime next summer, we will be able to walk down the canyon,” he said.