Tuesday, September 06, 2016
The California Incline
Santa Monica beach, Labor Day 2016
Before I was brave enough to drive the freeway, my sister and I would travel to the beach via surface streets from Burbank. We’d take Barham over the hill into Hollywood and then turn right onto Wilshire all the way to Santa Monica. At Ocean Avenue, we’d turn right again for one block and then take the California Incline down to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to our favorite beach, Sorrento, slightly north of the Incline.
When I was a kid, I thought the California Incline was so named because it was the steepest road on the western edge of the continent. It wasn’t till many years later that I figured out it was the “California” Incline because it connected California Street, which ends at Palisades Park above, with PCH below. Regardless, it’s always been scary steep to me. I didn’t mind taking the two-lane road down to PCH, hugging the landside of the Santa Monica bluffs, but rarely took it back up. The ancient concrete wall/fence on the open side never looked secure enough to protect us from certain death below. Still, a reputed 15,000 cars used the California Incline a day.
The Incline was closed for demolition in April 2015. Reconstruction began shortly after. Watching the project take shape as I periodically drove up the coast, I marveled at how the whole thing hadn’t collapsed a long time ago. The new Incline is over 5 feet wider, incorporating a bike and pedestrian lane on the open side. No longer are cars dangling directly above PCH.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new California Incline was Thursday, when we were making our way to Disneyland for the 5K (see below). So instead, we went yesterday. We took the Expo Line to the end and then walked along Palisades Park to California. We then walked down the Incline and back up again. It’s still steep, but a lot less scary. And on a day like yesterday, the views are absolutely beautiful. So glad we live here . . .
Top of the Incline: cars on the right, bikes and peds on the left
Walking down (Tim in black t-shirt and lifeguard hat)
Pedestrian bridge to the beach
The bluffs: looking up at Palisades Park
Looking south onto PCH: the Incline on the left
Walking back up
What a view: this is why we live here
Glad we took the train!
P.S. We ate at Danny Trejo's new foodtruck, while strolling along Palisades Park. Way tasty brisket and carnitas tacos.