David Mendez

Redondo Beach to close Esplanade, popular public open spaces

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The Redondo Beach pier. Photo by Brad Jacobson

by David Mendez

The City of Redondo Beach will move to close the Esplanade — its popular seaside walking path — and many other popular public spaces to encourage “social distancing” among residents amid the COVID-19 crisis.

City Manager Joe Hoefgen’s order will be released alongside a statement on Thursday afternoon. But the measures were announced earlier on Thursday in a Facebook post by Mayor Bill Brand.

In the post, Brand details the open space areas that the city is planning to close, including: The west side of the Esplanade and the Esplanade itself; the Avenue C stairs; the Harbor Drive bike path; Veterans Park and adjacent parking lot; the Dominguez Park Dog Park; Aviation Park; the Alta Vista tennis courts; and potentially other, yet unnamed parks or spaces.

Health officials nationwide have encouraged the practice of people remaining a “social distance” of at least six feet apart when outside of their homes. And while officials, including Governor Gavin Newsom, have encouraged people to leave their homes for walks and exercise, Redondo Beach has seen significant use of its open space, to the point where local leaders have mulled closures since at least Saturday.

“We really do not know how many residents or visitors coming to our towns have this new virus or where we are on the infection curve, so this is a critical time to eliminate areas where people are unsafely congregating,” Brand wrote. “We live in a densely populated area and we need to flatten the infection curve so we don’t become another Italy.”

Brand notes that South Bay cities had endeavored to act in concert with one another and the County of Los Angeles.

“But we have all begun to act on our own now as the County continues to weigh if they will close the bike path and beaches,” Brand wrote. “That order could come very soon, or never. We just don’t know yet.”

On Wednesday, Hermosa Beach acted first, closing its Strand bike path and municipally-owned beach. The same day, Manhattan Beach moved to close its own beach parking lots.

“The County is mulling its next steps, and we will soon find out what those steps will be,” Brand said in an interview.

“We’re extremely concerned about the overcrowding of the Esplanade and other areas where, on the weekends and at times during the week, it’s impossible to socially distance. We’re going to take these temporary measures and when conditions improve we’ll be able to open it all back up and we’ll be back to normal.”

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