Gentrifying the Coast: High Costs Block Beach Access for Poor, Poll Finds

Feb. 6, 2017 / By and

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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New America Media

New America Media is the country's first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media outlets, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices in New York and Washington D.C., and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.

Crystal Niebla

Crystal was raised in South Los Angeles and is the first college graduate in her family. She is a class of 2016 CSULB graduate who has served as an editor for her campus newspaper and freelanced for the Long Beach Post and Random Length News. Crystal is now a Report for America corps member, covering the Westside for the Long Beach Post. Follow her work @crystalniebla on Twitter and @crystalniebla_media on Instagram.