REDONDO BEACH –An engineering study for a public launch ramp proposed for Redondo Beach Harbor, moved ahead Tuesday night despite concerns about increased traffic both on land and in the water.
City Councilmembers voted to move the item forward after receiving public comment on the ramp that is estimated at a cost of $7.5 million. Approval of the study clears the way for city staff to seek grant funding for the ramp.
Moffat & Nichol representatives presented proposed locations of the harbor’s first launch ramp. The proposals were based on feedback garnered from two open houses where residents had an opportunity to offer suggestions on the ramp.
California Coastal Commissioners directed the city to provide a boat launch ramp in the harbor as part of the $200 million waterfront redevelopment project being led by CenterCal Properties.
“This is bizarre because I don’t believe our harbor was designed for a boat ramp,” said Mayor Steve Aspel. “I’m frustrated because I know we have to do this; I don’t think we need a ramp.”
Aspel was concerned about traffic surrounding the boat launch and the proliferation of paddleboarders near the ramp.
An element of the CenterCal water revitalization plan includes opening Seaside Lagoon to allow direct access to the harbor for paddleboarders, kayakers and small boats. The multilane boat ramp will operate where Joe’s Crab Shack is currently located. The restaurant may be relocated within the CenterCal project to help make room for the ramp.
“It looks like a nightmare waiting to happen,” said Councilman Pat Aust. “Three lanes in a boat launch ramp in that tight of quarters is asking for trouble.”
Reducing the ramp from three lanes to one and moving the launch ramp away from the lagoon were recommended.
The launch’s center lane would be used for emergencies, Moffat & Nichol consultant Bob Sherwood explained.
Aust also raised concerns about the increase in boaters trying to launch at the ramp during busy weekends, “on the weekend there will be 300 boats lining up there,” he said.
Boaters will most likely head out to the Cabrillo or Marina del Rey launch ramp if that occurs, staff explained.
Waterfront and Economic Development director Pete Carmichael added that use of the launch ramp will be limited to how many people will be able to park in the designated spots. A reservation system to help control the flow of traffic was also discussed. Both will be looked at during the project’s traffic study.
Councilman Steve Sammarco expressed his excitement for the project, “I think the community welcomes the ramp,” he said. “My only issue would be the location to Seaside Lagoon which is where people will be kayaking. Also, how can we assure good water quality with all these boats going in the water right near the opening of Seaside Lagoon?”
Sherwood explained that an environmental review process will be conducted to establish what water quality monitor practices should be put in place.
Malia Osterbaurer, general manager of The Portofino Hotel, which will be located to the southeast of the launch ramp, said the sounds of boat motors will have a negative impact on business.
Ann Popolizio, director of the King Harbor Youth Foundation, said she was not “thrilled” about the ramp’s location.
“There is not enough channel space in the harbor,” she said.
Boater John Mirassou disagreed, stating “a lot of boating activity in the harbor is exciting,” he said. “In my experience, people figure it out.”
City staff will return to the council with information on if the project has been awarded funding in June or July.