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Ramps possible at Marine Street, Horseshoe beach

This narrow access to Horseshoe Beach at 100 Coast Blvd. is being considered for an ADA access ramp before re-instating the stairs can take place.
This narrow access to Horseshoe Beach at 100 Coast Blvd. is being considered for an ADA access ramp before re-instating the stairs can take place.
Ashley Mackin

Before progress can be made on re-instating the stairs between 100-202 Coast Boulevard that lead to the beach known as The Horseshoe, the city must evaluate the possibility of an ADA-access ramp at that location. And that’s not the only beach access being considered for such a ramp.

As announced at the May 23 La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) meeting, Marine Street Beach is also being considered for an ADA access ramp to the beach.

During the non-agenda public comment part of the meeting, resident Cynthia Chasan said the week prior, she spotted city engineers at the foot of Marine Street, measuring for an ADA access ramp.

“They said they would like to put in a zigzag ramp down to the beach,” she said. “I explained to them the sand level fluctuates during the winter by about four feet, so they’d have to engineer that project very well because during some of the year the sand would be above the end of the ramp and some of the year it would be below.”

She added the area would not likely be appealing to those with disabilities because the shore-break is aggressive, the area does not have full-time lifeguards and there are not beach-friendly wheelchairs such as those available in La Jolla Shores, which is 2.9 miles away. Engineers would also have to figure on extensive work on the street to accommodate the ramp.

“It totally shocked me,” she said.

Commiserating, those hoping to see the broken stairway at 100 Coast Blvd. promptly replaced, said they, too, have heard this beach-access point might need an ADA access ramp, which could add years and permits to the project. Broken down by winter storms in early 2016 to the extent that the city fenced off access, residents would like the city to expedite the process. If it is carried out as a “replacement,” it would require extensive permitting and consideration of an ADA ramp. If it was called a “maintenance” or “repair” project, the process might be quicker and could be carried out privately.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches chair Dan Allen
La Jolla Parks & Beaches chair Dan Allen
Ashley Mackin

Horseshoe-area resident John Alexander said, “I spoke to someone in Public Works and she said that the stairs are beyond repair, so they are doing preliminary engineering on them … and developing cost estimates for new construction. So we are back to square one. They are looking at Environmental Impact right now, Coastal Commission permits and ADA issues. It sounds like it’s going to be one of those gigantic projects.”

San Diego City Council District 1 representative Justin Garver, in attendance at the meeting, explained that several beach-access points were being considered for the feasibility of adding a ramp. “By Federal ADA laws, they have to do an evaluation and right now, and that’s what this is. The determination will show whether something is feasible or not.” He said he would report back with future details.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit is underway to establish better ADA access to the Children’s Pool. With the construction of the new lifeguard tower there, an ADA accessible ramp was installed to the restroom facilities, but not to the beach itself. Citing the gentle waves and easy transition into the water at Children’s Pool, paraplegic swimmer Jack Robertson is suing the city to get an access ramp to the sand.

In other LJP&B news:

Cove Pavilion progress: Representing the project to replace the restroom facility at La Jolla Cove, LJP&B member Patrick Ahern said the details were in negotiation at the city level, and could take up to four more years. “It’s going a little slower than we expected … so we’re putting a little pressure on the city,” he said. “It will be a spectacular amount of work and a beautiful place when it’s finished.”

WindanSea Shack: The famed WindanSea Shack that was destroyed during the winter El Nino storms, is gradually being replaced on the bluffs at the end of Playa Del Norte. Friends of WindanSea co-founder Melinda Merryweather said, “The main poles are in and (soon) we hope the rest of it will go up, and the last thing will be to add the palm fronds roof. We’re getting closer all the time.”

The Shack is privately cared for under Friends of WindanSea, after it was designated historic.

Taste at the Cove: Because LJP&B reviews uses of Scripps Park, the planned Taste at the Cove event was presented for review and approved. A fundraiser for San Diego Sports Medicine Foundation, the event is set for Aug. 25.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets 4 p.m. Monday, June 27 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollaparksandbeaches.org