November 16, 2005, Los Angeles. The
California Coastal Commission rejected Caltrans proposal to replace scenic
Ten Mile Bridge with an urban-expressway bridge.
On a 7-4 vote, the Commission conditioned its
approval of the bridge replacement on narrowing of the shoulders to 4' for
8' and the inclusion of a separated pedestrian sidewalk.
The vote followed
a lengthy debate, with Commission
staff and Caltrans defending the lack of any sidewalk, 8' shoulders, and an
industrial-looking 54" high railing. Commissioner after Commissioner stated
their desire for a protected sidewalk and narrower shoulder. Caltrans and
staff proposed to approve the project with the 8' shoulders and an
"assurance" they would consider adding a sidewalk at a later date. The
Commission would not buy it. The staff then favored putting off the
Caltrans' Proposed 54" High Railing
Commissioner Mary Shallenberger crystallized
the discussion, stating, "A strong majority appear to want a separated
pathway... it is a huge mistake and a disservice to Caltrans not to state
that fact now and to incorporate it now. It isn't going to get any easier
later to redesign the bridge."
The Commission then moved to condition
approval on narrower shoulders and a separated walkway. Despite Caltrans
saying this would "kill the project," the Commission approved the motion.
Caltrans will now have to decide whether to
scrap the project (which will be difficult, given that it is an "urgent
seismic safety project") or accept the conditions.
Great thanks are due to the almost 900
people who wrote the Commission opposing the Caltrans design. The Commission
listened. An especially egregious effort to degrade our beautiful coast
has been defeated.