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Dec. 19 swells stop the Orchard Ave. repairs – again

Steps to the salt pool ground off, several gaping holes, fence rusted

Firemen trying to get to to the Narragansett stairwell
Firemen trying to get to to the Narragansett stairwell

On September 26, the City of San Diego’s "Orchard Avenue, Capri by the Sea and Old Salt Pool Beach Access Improvements Projects" in Ocean Beach began, but within weeks, planned improvements came to a halt and the area surrounding the historic Salt Pool is more dangerous than it was.

Warnings are simply spray painted on the shaved-off steps.

The staging area at the foot of Narragansett Avenue is closed, gated, empty, blocking stairwell access to the salt pool below, but if you walk the cliffs and approach from the south, you can reach the stairwell.

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Once you make your way to the top, you’re met with a gate. Initially, it was blocked off with now non-existent caution tape and is “very active at night with travelers” one resident told me.

The holes

Another resident Kevin Hastings told me he had a few words with the crew during the first week of repairs as he approached from the south:

“They asked how I got down there and said I can’t come through. I said ‘try and stop me.' I told them to post signs at Santa Cruz cliff access or else they’re going to have to repeat that conversation with a lot of people coming from that way. At that time they had blocked the stairs leading to the main beach and up to the street. Now they have a pile of construction material down there with straw socks and plastic around it, probably for their required storm water protection. Some of it has washed away from the large waves.”

Fence on the north side

Not long after, a gate was installed on the other side of the salt pool blocking access from the north. The gate has been tagged, ripped, torn down and secured again-by who is anyone’s guess.

Sometime between Oct 11 and October 20, all work had stopped in the area.

The steps to the salt pool have been ground off, there are several gaping holes, the fence is so rusted it can't be used to secure the area, warnings about entry are simply spray painted on the shaved off-steps.

Arrow 2 shows salt pool steps concrete platform.

On Monday, October 1, the San Diego Fire Department responded to a call about a woman in distress along the cliffs. Upon arrival, firemen were unable to gain entry to the Narragansett stairwell in efforts to perform a rescue. They drove one block south to Del Monte in order to get to the area. Luckily, the call was a false alarm and the woman was able to walk out on her own.

In early December, Orchard Ave. was fenced off to begin the improvement project there. Workers were seen with shovels gutting the sidewalk along the cliffs. On December 19, big swells interrupted improvement there, leaving debris scattered everywhere.

“About one year ago I saw a city notice posted there about the project and to contact the OB Planning Board for details,” Hastings added. “I was hoping that meant the city was going to submit this project to the planning board. But the chair was surprised when I asked him and said they don’t receive anything on projects like this. Now I am serving on the board, and there is some sentiment that the city actively avoids us. Which is a shame because we have local knowledge of these areas that would help the project be successful.”

A city spokesperson said this in response to my query: “Work on the Old Salt Pool beach access stairs has temporarily paused so that the city can make changes to the plans due to unforeseen conditions in the stairs. Work at this location is anticipated to resume after January 1st. In the interim, City staff and the contractor will continue to monitor the fencing protecting the site.”

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Firemen trying to get to to the Narragansett stairwell
Firemen trying to get to to the Narragansett stairwell

On September 26, the City of San Diego’s "Orchard Avenue, Capri by the Sea and Old Salt Pool Beach Access Improvements Projects" in Ocean Beach began, but within weeks, planned improvements came to a halt and the area surrounding the historic Salt Pool is more dangerous than it was.

Warnings are simply spray painted on the shaved-off steps.

The staging area at the foot of Narragansett Avenue is closed, gated, empty, blocking stairwell access to the salt pool below, but if you walk the cliffs and approach from the south, you can reach the stairwell.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Once you make your way to the top, you’re met with a gate. Initially, it was blocked off with now non-existent caution tape and is “very active at night with travelers” one resident told me.

The holes

Another resident Kevin Hastings told me he had a few words with the crew during the first week of repairs as he approached from the south:

“They asked how I got down there and said I can’t come through. I said ‘try and stop me.' I told them to post signs at Santa Cruz cliff access or else they’re going to have to repeat that conversation with a lot of people coming from that way. At that time they had blocked the stairs leading to the main beach and up to the street. Now they have a pile of construction material down there with straw socks and plastic around it, probably for their required storm water protection. Some of it has washed away from the large waves.”

Fence on the north side

Not long after, a gate was installed on the other side of the salt pool blocking access from the north. The gate has been tagged, ripped, torn down and secured again-by who is anyone’s guess.

Sometime between Oct 11 and October 20, all work had stopped in the area.

The steps to the salt pool have been ground off, there are several gaping holes, the fence is so rusted it can't be used to secure the area, warnings about entry are simply spray painted on the shaved off-steps.

Arrow 2 shows salt pool steps concrete platform.

On Monday, October 1, the San Diego Fire Department responded to a call about a woman in distress along the cliffs. Upon arrival, firemen were unable to gain entry to the Narragansett stairwell in efforts to perform a rescue. They drove one block south to Del Monte in order to get to the area. Luckily, the call was a false alarm and the woman was able to walk out on her own.

In early December, Orchard Ave. was fenced off to begin the improvement project there. Workers were seen with shovels gutting the sidewalk along the cliffs. On December 19, big swells interrupted improvement there, leaving debris scattered everywhere.

“About one year ago I saw a city notice posted there about the project and to contact the OB Planning Board for details,” Hastings added. “I was hoping that meant the city was going to submit this project to the planning board. But the chair was surprised when I asked him and said they don’t receive anything on projects like this. Now I am serving on the board, and there is some sentiment that the city actively avoids us. Which is a shame because we have local knowledge of these areas that would help the project be successful.”

A city spokesperson said this in response to my query: “Work on the Old Salt Pool beach access stairs has temporarily paused so that the city can make changes to the plans due to unforeseen conditions in the stairs. Work at this location is anticipated to resume after January 1st. In the interim, City staff and the contractor will continue to monitor the fencing protecting the site.”

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