‘Hey Campbell! Here’s Your Million-Dollar Sidewalk!’

by on February 24, 2023 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

Here are photos of the current conditions of San Diego’s “Million-Dollar Sidewalk” the city installed against everyone’s advice back in pre-pandemic days. They were taken by Geoff Page.

The OB Rag and writer Geoff Page covered this issue extensively, and Page was highly critical of its design. And yes, it is or was ADA compliant and did cost the city $1.1 million dollars.

Page warned us and the city that Nature and the sand would make short shift of all that concrete. And there wouldn’t be anybody to clean it up.

The OB Planning Board opposed it and even went against the city on an appeal back in December 2019.

For background, here’s my report on what was going on from November 7, 2019:

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.

So, what happened? Here’s our headline at the time:

City Council Voted Unanimously to Deny Ocean Beach Appeal on Dog Beach Ramp – Campbell Made Motion

Minutes ago, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to reject the appeal by the Ocean Beach Planning Board to block the City’s plans to spend $1.1 million in building a Dog Beach ADA ramp. The project will now move forward despite this opposition by the community.

Councilwoman Jen Campbell of District 2 – OB’s district – after about a minute’s worth of discussion – made the motion to deny the appeal.

This has been a contentious issue between OB and the city; we’ve covered it extensively (see our report here). And it won’t sit right for those who have been attempting to point out the waste of money plus less costly options. This is a slap in the face for OB – a neighborhood that has been waiting for years to have a new lifeguard station built and have its ancient library improved and expanded.

That’s why we now call out Campbell – “Hey, Campbell, here’s your million dollar sidewalk!”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page February 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

What was funny was the city crew came out and did some shoveling but in the oddest spot. There is a concrete barrier along the sidewalk that parallels Dog Beach. The barrier and the sidewalk dead end at the sand. Someone shoveled that last bit of sidewalk leaving a pile of sand on the sand at the end. This piece of sidewalk is inconsequential to anyone. No one shoveled the ADA sidewalk. Anyone with a relative in a wheel chair should run down there, attempt to go up the ramp, which will be impossible, and then sue the city again.


Funky February 24, 2023 at 12:14 pm

How is that possibly $1 million dollars? hahahahahahahaha


Gary Wonacott February 25, 2023 at 8:26 am

I have a couple of points. Campbell has no interest in the long term solutions, that might require some planning. And she has been consistent, not listening to anyone with knowledge about an issue.

My second point is even more pessimistic. My daughter reminded me that the house wins, no matter if in Las Vegas casinos or San Diego City Hall. Control and power, control and power and finally control and power.


sealintheSelkirks February 26, 2023 at 11:37 am

When dealing with entrenched bureaucracy operated for profit by the wealthy, one is hard put to not be pessimistic and cynical of anything politicians say or do because they lie so much and so often that one just cannot keep up with it all. Overwhelmed with bull**it seems to be the pattern of power and control issues. Your daughter is entirely correct except she left out the third reason: wealth accumulation.

When these people aren’t lying by commission, they lie by omission. They rarely fail to derive some kind of benefit either politically or financially. Big sigh.

But thanks for the pictures, Geoff, and the update, Frank. I needed a chuckle today. After subzero temps with serious windchill on top that…gets hard to deal with. Today at least it’s snowing so it warmed up…but still the windchill of course. A shake the head how-stupid-can-they-get type of chuckle was definitely needed!

Enjoy your balmy weather down there!



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