Final upgrades approved for WindanSea Beach


By Ashley Mackin

At its June 24 meeting, the la jolla Parks and Beaches (ljP&B) committee approved the final phase of the Design, Guidelines, Erosion Control and Maintenance Plan for WindanSea Beach; considered removal of the guardrail at the Cove, and discussed problems with peddlers at Scripps Park.

Upgrades for WindanSea

Landscape architect Jim Neri presented his plans for improving the area known as the S-Curve, from the south end of WindanSea parking lot to Playa del Sur, seeking LJP&B endorsement to proceed with construction documents.

Other completed installments of the project, which was approved in 1999, include improved beach access points at Winamar and Palomar avenues, a new stairway at Westbourne Avenue, and 19 new benches.

“This is the last remaining piece (of WindanSea) that I would consider to be dilapidated,” Neri said. There are currently older posts and rusty chainlink fencing, stairs to nowhere, a gap between the sidewalk and hillside, and other spots where improvements need to be made.

Neri said he plans to use leftover funds from previous installments to help upgrade the posts with new chains to better outline the trails and install new seating. He also plans to replace the stairs at Playa Del Sur, of which he said, “If you go to the end of them, you almost fall off the edge of the rocks.”

His plan for the sidewalk, which has gaps of varying widths that are considered a tripping hazard, is to fill in the space with decomposed granite that will drain easily and be ADA-compliant, and add between 8 and 18 inches of sidewalk width to the area.

The project will be privately contracted and labeled a “replacement project” to avoid unnecessary permits and the need for an Environmental Impact Report. A unanimous vote to approve the plans provided Neri with the go-ahead.

Cove guardrail conversation

Although San Diego lifeguards say the guardrail at the Cove is important to insuring public safety, the board continued discussion on the issue of its removal.

Some members contend that once the rocks at the Cove are cleaned from animal excrement, opening the guardrail to allow human access to the cliffs would deter the animals from coming back and minimize the need for future cleanup costs.

The board sent the suggestion to the city’s Park and Recreation department and received a response from lifeguards, which read, in part, “from a safety perspective, the lifeguard Division does not see a need to change the current configuration.”

From a logistic perspective, the board sees it differently.

LJP&B Chair Dan Allen said he researched the rules in place under Proposition 51 (which passed in 1986) that “changed the rules for liability for cities in cases where they get sued for negligence.”

“Since that proposition passed, the need to have a complete fence is no longer as strong because people cannot fall over and ... collect as much (from the city),” he said. The guardrail was installed in the late 1970s (or possibly the early ‘80s), when the city was highly susceptible to costly lawsuits.

Under Prop 51, the city would still be responsible for “economic damages,” such as medical expenses or earning loss, but less responsible for “non-economic damages,” such as pain and suffering. The amount of non-economic damages paid reflects the percentage of fault for which the victim is responsible.

“The law has changed so the city can open the fence without exposing itself to as much liability,” Allen concluded.

Peddling in the Park

LJP&B Chair Allen said he is coordinating a july presentation to the committee by various city department representatives to explain the rules and permits for operating vending tables at Scripps Park. The board next meets 4 p.m. July 22 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. For more information, visit