Isometric government: Malibu beach paths

Speaking as I was in the Times farm-bill symposium of what I call isometric government, in which different subsidies or regulations tend to cancel out each others’ effect, reminds me of this L.A. Times story recently blogged by Gideon Kanner: government has required that public beaches be carved out of prime Malibu coastline, but then keeps those beaches mostly inaccessible to the public: “In fact, officials discourage visitors from trying to reach the shore from the highway above out of concern that they will be injured scrambling down the 20-foot bluff,” in the words of reporter Tony Barboza.


  • I would think a set of stairs would solve that massive problem.

  • @mojo – in California? Wouldn’t a set of stairs lead to an ADA lawsuit?

  • Oh no, that won’t work mojo. In my little beachside community, crossovers for dunes to get to the beach have to be ADA compliant. (The ADA com pliancy adds some costs, but it is a cost the community is willing to pay.) A “simple stairs” won’t do. You have to build ramps. The problem with the ramps is that because the ramps cross over to the sea of a dune, and there are times in a storm when the water from the ocean will come up to the ramps, the ramps have to be built to specifications of new docks. New docks require core samples of the earth in which you are going to drive support pilings. To drive the pilings into the ground a certain depth, you have to have a large pile driver. This is normally done for docks by the driver being on a barge. But to cross a dune. there may not be enough water to support a barge. So you need a piling driver that works on land.

    But wait! Pile drivers “reach out” only 4 or 5 feet. That is far too short of a distance to stay on the land side of the dune and reach over the dune. You can’t bring the equipment onto the dune, because the dunes are protected and merely disturbing them is a federal crime. So you have to get a pile driver that can reach 30, 40, or 50 feet so it can drive the pilings.

    That assumes, of course, you have submitted your plans to the EPA for approval and have conducted an environmental impact study on how the ramp, the pilings, the boards, etc will affect the dunes and the surrounding area.

    After that, you might be able to build a ramp, if and only if the state or federal government does not make a change in the law requiring docks (and therefore ramps) be able to stand a Cat4 hurricane as opposed to the previous standard of a Cat 3 hurricane. If that happens, you have to re-engineer the who thing, re-do the impact studies, submit new plans to the EPA, etc.

    My little beachside town had a crossover blow away in a storm about 10 years ago. The crossover itself was about 4 feet wide and spanned about 20 feet. Two years ago, the new crossover was finally finished. It is now about 10 feet wide, which is nice. The final cost was over a quarter of a million dollars.

    The “massive problem” is in the solution.

  • Dude,
    you are living in the wrong state. Here in Florida, there are many beaches where you can drive your car right onto the beach. Of course, this does occasionally create submarine commanders of those people who park near the pretty waves, and don’t know how to read a tide chart.