Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Two dogs enjoy walking along the new promenade that is now open to the public.
By Diana L. Chapman
It’s still a hidden San Pedro secret.
At least for several more months. But for now, a 1 1/3 mile walkway tucked neatly between the Port of Los Angeles’ Main and West channels has opened and is ready for  walking business.
“It’s beautiful,” said one woman strolling with her husband on a sunny Sunday afternoon, her husband nodding his head in agreement, saying it was their first visit to the promenade.
On a bright weekend afternoon with dusty blue skies and a warming sun, few other walkers had discovered the promenade – yet.
In what the port’s media director Phil Sanfield called “a soft opening.” The port took down one of its final fences Feb. 1st to allow visitors to explore the entire walkway which starts around 22nd and Miner streets. Boat operations, however, aren't expected for many more months when the port plans a celebratory opening.
The completed promenade is part of the $128 million package to develop the new Cabrillo Way Marina.
“We’re thrilled that the Cabrillo Way Marina promenade is now available for residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “It’s a breathtaking walk and it showcases the beauty of the new marina. We’re looking forward to a celebration to fully open the marina later this year.”
Bike riders enjoying the view at the southern edge of the walkway.
With a palm tree lined street, stylized benches and panoramic views of Angels Gate Light House perched out on the breakwater, the new path seems to beckon joggers, walkers, parents with strollers, bike riders, skateboarders and dog walkers –as soon as they discover it.
The marina’s development comes complete with 700 “wet” boat slips and involves 46 acres of land and 41 acres of water, port officials said.
In addition, the new marina includes 17,500 square feet of wood decking, 122 benches, 22 bike racks, 10 drinking fountains, 1,090 trees about and about 40,000 shrubs.
Currently, the scenic view of Cabrillo Beach and San Pedro’s hills from the promenade now includes the large shadow of the Merchant Marine vessel, the S.S. Lane Victory.
 The ship was moved temporarily to Berth 46 along the southern edge of the promenade, Sanfield said, while the port works on improvements at Berth 50 along the East Channel.  Once housed in the docks underneath the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the Lane Victory had to vacate the area for new wharf expansion.
It will remain at Berth 46 for nine months then move to Berth 50.  A permanent home for the Lane Victory has yet to be finalized for the supply ship, used during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars.
On Feb. 13, the vessel will reopen again for tours at the new marina.
In the meantime, the promenade is bound to quickly become a popular place once discovered. The project overall includes 360 parking  spaces, several public bathrooms and a 10,000 square foot park area.
With the new marina and the expected summer arrival of the U.S.S. Iowa, a World War II battleship that was donated to the non-profit Pacific Battleship Center, making its new home near the port’s cruise terminal, officials expect an exciting transformation of the waterfront.
“The synergy that’s being created along the LA waterfront in exciting,” Sanfield said. “This $130 million project encompasses more than 80 acres of land and water in the West Channel area.
“ With 700 boat slips and one of the most scenic locations in the area, it’s going to be a popular spot.”