A cruise along a contiguous Paseo Del Mar was one of the best attributes of living in San Pedro and has left so many memories for each of us. For me personally, the vivid memories transcend my lifetime.
For example, as a kid my parents would take us for Sunday afternoon drives around the hill to stop for ice cream and on our way home would conclude the drive along Paseo. As a young adult, I would back my 4×4 Toyota truck against the rail just above Royal Palms, drop the tail gate to enjoy a pizza, chips and a beverage with my buddies late into the evening while we bantered back and forth on just about any topic with the sound of waves crashing the shoreline. It was also the place where I asked my best friend if I could kiss her for the first time while sitting in her uncle’s old white Dodge pickup truck.
This October, my best friend and I will be celebrating our 20th year of marriage. As parents, we would pack our three boys in the Suburban and enjoy various stops along Paseo. You’ve heard the phrase “staycation,” but a trip along Paseo was our “daycation.” If we entered Paseo from Western Avenue, we’d first stop at the swings and jungle gym adjacent to Fromhold Field and after an hour or so we might head further down Paseo to the park and walk down to the beach.
Our favorite stop, though, is at The Corner Store to get some old school candy and try a different root beer from the last time we were there. Our daycation would end at the Korean Bell to enjoy the beautiful ocean view and fly a kite. If we entered from Gaffey, we might stop at Point Fermin Park or the Korean Bell first and do the rest in reverse order. It is these types of stories that we all share in some way or another and the reason that we must stop nothing short of restoring Paseo Del Mar back to its original state.
Paseo Del Mar is just a small portion of California’s scenic coastline and was one of the best-kept secrets in Los Angeles until November 20, 2011 when 600 feet of the hillside spanning some 120 feet slid into the Pacific Ocean. The landslide made the news and brought to light what we all knew regarding the instability of our local coastline. Our immediate knowledge and experience of this has been the Portuguese Bend landslide. For decades, the land along Portuguese Bend has been sliding into the ocean and for years the road has had to be maintained and repaired. The degradation is so severe that today a clear view of the Portuguese Bend Beach Club can be seen while driving over the sliding roadway when just 10 to 20 years ago it was not. If not done correctly, this could be the future and experience while driving along Paseo Del Mar.
There appears to be three options being considered to repair the Paseo landslide, ranging in cost from $6.7 to $51.3 million dollars. The cheapest solution is a graded sloping of the hill that would require constant maintenance throughout the year and for decades to come. In other words, this would be the Portuguese Landslide model for Paseo Del Mar. The most expensive option, which I support, is to shore up the hillside and build a bridge to reconnect Paseo Del Mar. This option would ensure a safe and accessible roadway for generations to come.
In today’s economy, it’s easy to state that the bridge option is too expensive to restore the roadway back to its original state and entice us to select the cheapest route. As the last palm tree stands proud on the remaining bluff of Paseo, it’s a symbolic gesture that we too must do the same and work diligently to reconnect and restore Paseo Del Mar to its original glory.
Just as Paseo has connected us for generations, we must connect it for future generations to come. We owe it to ourselves to restore this historic scenic roadway that in many ways defines who we are as San Pedrans. spt