The Ocean Beach Planning Board is going toe-to-toe with the City of San Diego over the city’s plans to spend $1 million upgrading an accessibility ramp onto Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.
An Americans with Disabilities Act-required ramp zigzags from the parking lot along the beach up to a bike trail. Then the ramp zigzags down to the beach sand. But the ramp ends in the sand, hundreds of yards from the Pacific Ocean.
“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.
“The existing accessible parking spaces, signage, and path of travel (including the walkway and ramp) from the parking spaces to the San Diego River Bikeway as well as access to Dog Beach are not ADA complaint,” said a City of San Diego spokesman. “The City is constructing the Project to comply with Federal ADA and State accessibility regulations in order to provide access to Dog Beach for all individuals. This site remains a liability to the City until it is remedied.”
The spokesman said the project is in the design phase and the city is working on obtaining the proper permits for construction.
The San Diego City Council is scheduled to hear the OB Planning Board’s arguments during its November 19th meeting.