Community members got their first glimpse of the City’s Beach Greening Project for the southern section of the 2030 Ocean Avenue beach parking lot. The location is just north of the playground at the terminus of Ocean Park Boulevard, between Fraser and Wadsworth avenues.
The goal of the project is to take an underutilized parking lot and convert a small section of it to natural turf. According to City documents, the turf “will be built to allow automobile parking on it during peak periods (such as holidays and summer weekends),” but the rest of the year both the turf portion and part of the asphalt area will be closed to autos and available for recreational use. This concept is similar to how natural turf is used at the Rose Bowl.
At the May 3 meeting held at the Ocean Park Library, Parks and Community Facility Planning Senior Analyst Brett Horner explained that the Ocean Avenue parking lot was chosen for this project because a five-year parking study done between 2002 and 2006 showed that this lot was only “needed for parking for four days” of the year. He then mentioned that the City can’t just close the lot because the California Coastal Commission wants “to maintain available parking at the beach.”
The City has obtained a $700,000 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board to help pay for the project. The rest of the funding will come from the City’s stormwater fees collected during Fiscal Year 2006-07. Due to the nature of the grant, construction on the project will have to begin after Labor Day and be completed by the end of the year.
Another grant condition that the City must comply with is having stations to monitor the quality of stormwater runoff that flows from the parking lot into Santa Monica Bay. Both the turf and the asphalt will be permeable in order to allow runoff to infiltrate so the soil can filter pollutants.
Residents who live nearby expressed concerns about trash and noise and wondered what activities would be permitted. They also questioned how the area will be monitored and if residents could park in the lot when the area is closed to recreation. Currently, a small number of residents park in the lot after hours. They were also concerned about balls going into the adjacent bike path since green barriers rather than a fence will be used to separate the park from the bike path. Lastly, they mentioned that the proposed landscaping with New Zealand Christmas trees would cause excess mess and would block the view to the ocean.
The City’s Parks and Recreation Commission will review the project on Thursday, May 17. A California Coastal Commission permit is currently pending for the project.