OB Rag Readers Choice Awards: Public Infrastructure

by on April 20, 2017 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

Here Are the Winners and Losers – the “Best” and the “Worst”

Two weeks ago, we asked our readers to join in on our OB Rag Readers Choice Nominations for “Best” and “Worst” of Public Infrastructure in Ocean Beach. It was a chance for OBceans to weigh in on their favorite or not-so-favorite element of our public landscape here in the Village of OB.

We asked readers to give opinions on everything from the best neighborhood park to the worst intersection – and they did. Some gave their view of the overall “best” and “worst” of OB, which we include at the end.

So, here they are, the “Best” and “Worst” of OB’s public infrastructure:

Benches – public (not bus benches)

Best: OB Library, Santa Monica and Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Installed in memory of Byrna Bicknell and Bryan Collier, and in honor of George Murphy and the Ocean Beach Town Council. It has a great origin story.

Runner-up: skate deck bench that sits outside OB Surf and Skate

Worst: (although technically outside the category, we had to include this:) “any bus stop featuring Catrina Russell with a mustache.”


Best: Tie – between (1) middle of Newport between Bacon & Cable and (2) Santa Monica Avenue, between OB Elementary main campus and kindergarten annex

Worst: Tiebetween (1) Voltaire and Cable. Chaos and (2) No Crosswalk at Newport and Abbot.

Fire Hydrant

Best : Abbot & Long Branch (closest to some readers)

Runner-up: undisclosed location in northeast OB where there is no painted red curb.


Best: Newport and Bacon

Runner-up: Bacon & Niagara

Worst: Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire

Worst Runners-up:

(1) Santa Monica and Sunset Cliffs because of the giant pothole that you have to drive around.
(2) Sunset Cliffs and Niagara
(3) Voltaire and Ebers
(4) Sunset Cliffs and Orchard Ave.

Lifeguard Station

Best: Santa Monica but needs help;


Even though murals in Ocean Beach are mostly on private property, they are still part of the visual public infrastructure and thus worthy of our considerations.

Best: Tie between (1)  The Octopus on south side of OB Surf Lodge (former Shades) building and (2) west side of Teeter

Best Runners-up:

(1) the wave behind Hodad’s.

(2) Appletree/CVS mural (a collaborative effort of six Ocean Beach artists and is a historic landmark)

(3) Psychedelic joy -Newport Avenue, optical and AZUCAR building.

Honorable Mentions:

Joy of bikes.
The joy of Rock ‘N Roll.

Worst: North side of 76 station entering OB with the steroid surfer bro and girl with a broken arm.

Worst Runner-up: On the side of Winston’s

Neighborhood Park

Best: Collier Neighborhood Park, Soto and Greene

Runner-up: Sunset Cliffs Park

Worst: Ocean Beach (Saratoga) park.

Worst Runners-up:

(1) OB Gateway park
(2) The loss of Voltaire Park own by World Oil

Public Encroachment

Best: Tie between (1) NewBreak on Abbott and (2) Hungry Lu’s Kip’s artwork
(One reader had a point, “best public encroachment” is an “oxymoron”.)

Worst: The Joint

Worst Runner-up: OB Brewery

Restrooms – public

Best: Tie between (1) Starbucks (where one reader wrote: “I hear anyone can use their bathroom at any time for free”) and (2) Brighton Ave. on beach

Worst: Lifeguard Station (is it even a question?)

Street Light

No one made any nominations in this category.

Sunset Cliffs Pocket Park

Best: Tie between (1) end of Santa Cruz

and (2) End of Bermuda St.

Surveillance camera – public

There were no nominations for “best” surveillance cameras.

Worst: Cameras on Police Shack in OB Pier parking lot


Best :  Torrey Pine named Esperanza, on the 4600 block of Saratoga, cut down by City.

Worst: Tie between (1) any Brazilian Pepper Tree (invasive) and (2) neglect of California live oaks in Robb Field.

Utility Box – painted

Best: Cable Street, by Union Bank. Gotta love the OB parrots

2nd Best Place to Smoke Weed and Watch Sunset

2nd Best: at the end of Coronado & Bacon.

Over-all “Best” and “Worst” of Ocean Beach


(1) Editordude quotes worked into the north beach Brighton Ave bathroom walls.

(2) the cliffs from the pier on south to the Navy fence and beyond

(3) OB Pier, hands down!

(4) Sunset Cliffs Park

(5) Dog Beach

(6) pleasant beach climate, laid back mentality


(1) Every McMansion along the 5100 block of W. Pt. Loma

(2) the gentrification and crowding of our beloved hamlet

(3) the restrooms and the cameras

(4)  Plans at the beach with the veteran’s memorial, the adult workout stations, and the new playground.

(5) crowded parking, tourists, dog poop everywhere

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Witt April 21, 2017 at 8:10 am

Frank, thanks so much for your wonderful summary of OB. You took a lot of your time to do this, and your heart is certainly in OB. I love the area also and was lucky to land here back in ’71, leaving the Midwest when wanted to move to CA. Didn’t know where to live in SD, so looked in the paper back then and steered into a realtor office that had a huge map of SD on the wall. The realtor pointed to OB on the map and said it was where the “now generation” lives, and that was enough for me and then-spouse to check it out. We found a rental on Greene St. and made a couple more moves since then in OB and won’t ever move again.


South OB Girl April 21, 2017 at 12:09 pm

The bathrooms at the beach have doors and toilet paper these days!! That’s pretty good.

I didn’t vote for it for a candidate of “worst.” I’m really grateful for how the bathrooms at the beach are these days — I remember when there were no doors. Bathrooms in general are a problem, as there aren’t many options for finding a loo on Newport unless a business lets you use theirs or unless you go to the public beach bathroom. As for some of the issues with homeless (and non-homeless) using the streets (or people’s yards) to relieve themselves — openly and in public — that is for sure a “worst of OB.”


Suzi More April 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I agree with Nancy and commend you for all of the work you did on this. I love the pictures that you included. I wish I had checked my email sooner so that I could nominate the monthly dog beach cleanups done by Dog Beach Dog Wash owners Jane and Mindy as well as the giant Dog Beach cleanups that they sponsor .


Frank Gormlie April 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Thanks to Judy Collier for her great photos of most of the murals and of the OB Library bench.


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