Twenty years ago, a tragedy occurred when a cyclist was killed while riding along the La Conchita corridor. Thanks to Caltrans, riders there are now safe from errant drivers. Of course, there is a price to be paid for the modicum of safety provided by the barrier. The cost of putting the double-fence bike path through that stretch of coast was estimated in 2010 at over $7 million per mile. Nice if you’re one of the handful of cyclists who use it.
But there is a far greater cost that cannot be measured in dollars. And it will be borne by the thousands of beach goers who for generations parked on the highway and climbed down the riprap to enjoy the beach. Gone are the halcyon days with the families from Santa Barbara to Ojai to Camarillo frolicked in the surf at La Conchita. Thanks to Caltrans, the entire two-mile stretch of sandy La Conchita beach has forever been effectively put off limits.
Caltrans supervisor Mark Archuleta boasted about “convenient access to one of our greatest California resources … ” However, for those fortunate enough to capture one of the 20 or so spaces available at La Conchita, the average distance to a place on the beach and back is now over a mile! Carrying an umbrella, beach chairs, surfboard, ice chest, with kids in tow? Doesn’t that sound convenient?
How about the 211 spaces along the riprap that Caltrans removed and claimed would be relocated near Punta Gorda? Whopee! From there the walk to La Conchita beach and back is well over four miles! Try that in flip-flops while carrying an ice chest and your kid’s boogie boards. If you can peek through the new fences that obscure the previously beautiful ocean view, you will see not a soul on the beach. Now you know why. Don’t you just love it when unaccountable bureaucrats boast after destroying something beautiful?