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PHOTOS: Manhattan Beach Just Got A Little More Accessible, Thanks To A Mat

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The access mat installed on Manhattan Beach provides a firmer surface for people who use mobility devices then the sand alone. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
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As we know, the beach is a big part of life for Southern Californians, but getting to the ocean can be hard for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or other mobility devices.

Some good news: as of yesterday, beach access just got a little bit easier.

On Wednesday, officials installed a new nylon mesh mat across the sand in El Porto. The mat extends the concrete "Pathway to the Sea" walkway by 60 feet and then runs parallel to the ocean for another 100 feet.

Carol Baker with the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors says the mat also benefits other beachgoers, like families with strollers or anyone trying to lug a giant ice cooler across the sand (we've all been there):

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"It was just a pleasant surprise that by trying to create more access for one group, we're actually benefiting many other beachgoers."

The new access mat is located off of 42nd street in Manhattan Beach.

The concrete pathway to the sea there opened in 2014. It was a project championed by Manhattan Beach resident Evelyn Frey to make the beach more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.

For some background on Manhattan Beach — the beach itself is owned by L.A. County. But the Department of Beaches and Harbors is responsible for maintaining and operating the beach on behalf of the county; they were the ones who rolled out and staked down the mat Wednesday morning.

MORE PHOTOS:

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Crews from the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors prepare to anchor a new access mat with stakes. The mat, made by Mobi-Mat, is made of a fine nylon mesh that allows sand to fall through. It provides a firmer surface for people who may have difficulty crossing the sand. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
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Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents Manhattan Beach as part of the Fourth District, speaks with Director Gary Jones of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
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Hahn and Jones test out the mat. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
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The Manhattan Beach access mat is an extension of the concrete "Pathway to the Sea," which opened in 2014 after a years-long campaign by a longtime resident. The mat adds about 60 feet to the concrete path, with another 130 feet of mat running perpendicular to the other end, creating a lopsided "T." (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
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The Department of Beaches and Harbors maintains six access mats on beaches it manages across Los Angeles County. These access mats are located on Torrance Beach, Manhattan Beach, Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, Topanga Beach and Zuma Beach. While most of the mats stay on the beach year-round, the mat at Zuma Beach is seasonal to accommodate the annual sand berms constructed to protect against erosion and flooding. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)

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