When Completed, the Bridge Will Connect the Park and Beach Over PCH
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
The state will budget $11 million to build a pedestrian bridge over Pacific Coast Highway connecting the forthcoming George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon to Will Rogers State Beach, Senator Ben Allen reported at the most recent Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting on July 8.
“Due to the efforts of Senator Ben Allen and our Assemblymember Richard Bloom, the state legislature has approved funding in the amount of $11 million for construction of a pedestrian bridge to allow safe passage from the south end of the canyon to the beach,” PPCC wrote in an emailed summary of the meeting.
When complete, the 46-acre passive park—which has been decades in the making and developed by the city—will feature picnic areas and provide a pathway from Palisades Recreation Center down to Pacific Coast Highway. There will be riparian landscaping, scenic ocean views, further access to nearby hiking trails, as well as fences and gates to ensure adherence to park hours.
“There have been some terrible deaths, unfortunately, and some serious injuries that have really actually shocked me,” Allen said of PCH during the PPCC meeting, adding that he and Bloom serve on the PCH Safety Task Force. “So when we had the opportunity, we were able to get $11 million into the state budget to get that bridge built, and I’m just so thrilled.”
The idea of the pedestrian bridge dates back to 2004, when the PPCC Board voted unanimously to support several aspects of Potrero Canyon Park, including the addition of a bridge connecting it to the beach.
Allen thanked PPCC for its “years of steadfast support” for the project.
“I look forward to construction of the bridge commencing in the months ahead,” Allen added. “My staff and I will continue to be here as a resource to each and every one of you to help ensure that gets built in a timely manner.”
PPCC Chair David Card shared during the meeting that the bridge is “going to save lives” because people would have been tempted to run across the highway without it in place—“a temptation we don’t want.”
The ramps on either side of the bridge will be ADA compliant, with the end spot on the beach being placed in a “little triangle of dirt that’s right next to the bathroom, which is right next to the lifeguard station,” according to Card. He shared that it should not take away any parking spaces. On the park side, the bridge will be “not at exactly but near the mouth of the canyon.”
Which agency receives the funding, whether it’s Caltrans or the city of LA, will be clarified in a follow on bill with more specific information, Allen said.
The City of Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners voted during a virtual meeting on Thursday, January 21, to approve the naming of the forthcoming Potrero Canyon Park in honor of late community member and activist George Wolfberg.
Wolfberg, who died in February 2020, was chair of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, which was formed to help the city manage the design of the project.
During a May 20 meeting, the Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners voted to approve awarding the park landscaping contract to Ford Engineering & Construction, Inc.
“All of the grading has been done, some of the hardscape has been done, but this is the landscape contract that will do a bit more fine grading—a tiny bit—but also do some more hardscape and also, more importantly, do irrigation and planting, so it will actually look like a park in about 10 months,” Card shared on July 8.
The landscaping portion of the park was slated to begin after July 12, with the park to open in 2022.
“So sometime next summer—these things always take a little longer—sometime next summer but definitely next year, and I know, promises, promises, this is a 30-year project,” Card reported, “but sometime next summer, we should all be able to walk down to several trails that go all the way down the canyon.”
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