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November 2005 Recap

Victory at Ten Mile

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 decision.

Caltrans' Proposed 54" High Railing - ST-20

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.