City Pushes Million Dollar Ramp to Nowhere onto Ocean Beach Against Community’s Will

by on November 7, 2019 · 9 comments

in Ocean Beach

The issue of the City’s million dollar ramp to nowhere at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach is heading to a full City Council vote later this month. Because of that, local mainstream media have picked up on the issue with headlines that emphasis “controversy in Ocean Beach” – always a head-turner for the television audiences.

It is true that the Ocean Beach Planning Board “is going toe-to-toe with the City of San Diego over the city’s plans to spend $1.1 million upgrading an accessibility ramp onto Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.” The OB Rag has been covering the issue since it appeared before OB planners in early August (see our report here) and was shot down with a 12-1-1 to vote, and our writer, Geoff Page, examined the issues involved and came up with this conclusion:

The important result of seeing the actual lawsuit is that the current city design does not have to happen – it can be changed as there is nothing legally preventing the city from doing something different.

What the city needs to do is provide the access along the top of the jetty, the path the plaintiff tried to follow.  The existing design leaves a wheelchair bound person stuck in the middle of the sand a hundred yards away from the ocean sitting on a bench.  Whoever designed this originally should have their head examined.  The city does not need to spend $1.1 million on a sidewalk to nowhere.

OB Planning Board chair Andrea Schlageter has gotten some press out of the issue as local TV stations have contacted her about the “toe-to-toe” “controversy”. And she’s done a stunningly excellent job of presenting the concerns of the volunteer neighborhood planners.

Here’s part of the report from 7SanDiego

“I don’t know what you’re supposed to do if you have a dog and a wheelchair. I guess not come to Dog Beach and enjoy it,” Ocean Beach Planning Board Chair Andrea Schlageter said.

Schlageter said the Board recently voted 12-1-1 to reject the city’s plan to spend $1.1 million upgrading the existing ramp. Schlageter argued the new design only makes the ramp a little better but doesn’t increase access to the water.

“We could spend it on actually getting people access to this beach,” Schlagether said. This was an example of government waste, she added.

“We’re not fighting improvements to the ramp,” Schlageter said. “We’re fighting because the ramp isn’t an improvement.”

She said the improvements come in the wake of a lawsuit the City of San Diego settled for $50,000. A man reportedly fell at Dog Beach but not because of the ramp.

But Schlagether said the ramp wasn’t even mentioned in the lawsuit or in the settlement.

“The Ocean Beach Planning Board’s opinion is that this is a waste of money,” she added.

Schlageter argued the city could save money and increase access to the OB Dog Beach by using a product like the Access Trax, an accessibility ramp that can be easily placed on the sand to give people access closer to the water.

Here’s 10News:

“Nobody asked for this; it’s way overpriced and it’s not contributing to greater access for people who are using mobility devices to get to the beach,” said Andrea Schlageter, Chair of the OB Planning Board.

Schlageter said the board has asked for new access ramps that will get people closer to the shoreline. She pointed to similar projects in Coronado as examples of what the board wants.

“They don’t listen to us. They don’t care, and they’re just shoving projects down our throat, and they tell us to eat it and take it,” said Schlageter.

Meanwhile, Schlageter said she believes the renovation is an overreaction by the city to a recent lawsuit.

The San Diego City Council is scheduled to hear the OB Planning Board’s arguments during its November 19th meeting.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar CARL ZANOLLI November 7, 2019 at 5:29 pm

Ramp or no ramp, I would never bring my dogs there. Too many irresponsible dog owners with aggressive dogs

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Avatar OBkid November 8, 2019 at 11:23 am

When was the last time you were there? Best Dog park/beach in SD – we take the kiddos there all the time – never any issues.

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Avatar CARL ZANOLLI November 8, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Around the last time another dog was killed by a pitbull. Sometime last year. The pitbull’s owner quickly put the dog into his pick up truck and fled the scene without disclosing any contact information

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Avatar Peter from South O November 8, 2019 at 3:18 am

Access Trax and the like are for temporary installations, and worked well at the various events that I have attended. I don’t think that is a valid solution. On the other hand, what the City wants to do is bananas. A better case for “back to the drawing board” I’ve yet to see.

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Avatar OBkid November 8, 2019 at 11:24 am

Weird the Planning Board is pushing a company’s product, okay Andrea.

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Avatar Geoff Page November 11, 2019 at 10:45 am

Providing information about a possible solution is not pushing a company’s product.

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Avatar OBkid November 8, 2019 at 11:22 am

Do the OB Planners ever NOT shoot something down? Did they provide an alternative solution? That’s the thing with government – you must bring them solutions, they don’t make them.

The Ocean Beach Planning Board’s opinion is that this is a waste of money,” – well how should the money be used??…Honestly, take the $1.1 million improve the boardwalk and access all in one fell swoop.

“I don’t know what you’re supposed to do if you have a dog and a wheelchair. I guess not come to Dog Beach and enjoy it,” – could that sound any worse Andrea?

Access Trax – are great – but who will the city have to pay to set them up and take them down each day??

All of this legal analysis – is anyone a lawyer?

Take the Money.

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Avatar triggerfinger November 8, 2019 at 7:35 pm

You criticize the board for not offerering an alternative, and at the same time criticize an alternative that was offered? Seriously? If you attended the meeting or read the articles or watched any of the news coverage you’d be aware of the superior alternatives recommended by the planning board.

Rest assured, despite your cheap armchair criticism, dedicated volunteer board members are still working to ensure the funding goes toward well though improvements that will benefit the community. If you have any suggestions of your own you can contact the board via their website.

Also, in my experience your planning board supports 80-90% of proposals they see. No votes are not taken lightly, and appeals such as this are an uncommon occurrence.

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Avatar Richard November 9, 2019 at 8:13 am

I’ve been waiting almost five years now for repair of the stairs and access to Bermuda Beach.. One person actually fell to their death at Bermuda Beach in the recent past. I find it amazing that the city can fund, design and engineer a ramp at dog beach in a manner of months while we the people in South OB remain forgotten. Who do you call? This is BS

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