TORRANCE BEACH, Calif. — A beach in the South Bay has become more accessible for all beachgoers.
On September 15, Los Angeles County installed a new, semi-permanent access mat at Torrance Beach. The mat is designed for people who may have difficulty navigating the uneven terrain of a sandy beach.
“We want everybody to be able to go to the beach, and these mats provide an opportunity for people who have mobility issues, or use wheelchairs, or even moms with strollers. It just gives a better surface to move,” said Nicole Mooradian, spokesperson for L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
What You Need To Know
- On Sept. 15, Los Angeles County installed a semi-permanent access mat at Torrance Beach
- The mats are intended to provide easy beach access to people who might have trouble getting across the sand
- It's the first such access mat at the county's South Bay beaches
- Five other L.A. County beaches have similar semi-permanent mats, including: Mother's Beach, Topanga Beach, Zuma Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, and Dockweiler State Beach
The mat is made of a hardy nylon mesh. It was installed by being staked into the ground so it’s easily configurable and low maintenance, according to Mooradian.
It's placed at the foot of the Torrance Beach parking lot’s access ramp, near the L.A. County Lifeguard station, and south of Torrance’s Miramar Park.
Beachgoers now have a 100-foot-long, six-foot-wide path toward the ocean. At the end of the 100-foot path, the mat splits off with a 50 foot segment running north and south, creating a T shape.
This is the sixth mat of its kind at a Los Angeles County beach. Previous mats have been installed at Mother’s Beach, Topanga Beach, Zuma Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, and Dockweiler State Beach.
To the north, Manhattan Beach has a permanent concrete sidewalk to the sea; the City of Hermosa Beach, which owns its namesake beach, also has semi-permanent access mats just south of the Hermosa Beach Pier.
Hermosa Beach resident Geoff Hirsch is one of many folks who has lobbied for better accessibility options across his city. As a member of the Access Hermosa working group, Hirsch was among those responsible for the installation of those access mats by the Hermosa pier.
“The world is not meant for people who go through it sitting down,” Hirsch said, relating stories of asking for help from good samaritans at the grocery store, of being unable to take his dog out for walks because some parks and greenbelts can’t be traversed by wheelchair. “Stuff like this sounds minute, but it’s really not, because it affects quality of life.”
Accessibility, he said, needs to be at the top of mind for municipalities. As such, he was pleased to learn of the access mats at Torrance Beach.
“I think it’s not only laudable, but it’s necessary,” Hirsch said, before quoting local Surfrider chapter representative Craig Cadwallader in saying that “beaches must be accessible.”
“It’s good to see, but the more you see it, the more you want,” Hirsch said. “I understand it takes time, that it takes financial constraints, but the bottom line is, it’s got to be done.”