Video by Crystal Niebla. Text by George White.
LOS ANGELES — In the wake of a new report that found that the costs of travel, parking and overnight accommodations discourage many from going to California’s ocean fronts, a panel of leading coastline stakeholders called on state residents to help turn the tide against policies and practices that block beach access and limit public interest in coastal preservation.
Under the state’s 1976 Coastal Act, “maximum access” to the coast must “be provided for all the people.” However, the new report, produced by UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and San Francisco State University, said there is “overwhelming concern among Californians about access to the coast.”
The report, “Access for All: A New Generation’s Challenges on the California Coast,” was the focus of a January 26 New America Media news briefing that also explored issues related to coastal stewardship and global warming. The report – based on a survey of 1,146 people at 11 beaches in Ventura, Orange and Los Angeles counties – said 62 percent of the respondents cited access as a “problem.”
Specifically, 78 percent said the availability and cost of parking is a problem and 68 percent cited limited public transportation options as a barrier to the coast. Also, 75 percent – a large proportion of Latino respondents among them – said the lack of affordable overnight accommodations is an obstacle. In addition, the report found that African Americans are less likely to visit the coast and that 33 percent of that population make such visits less than once per year.
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