The Coastal Commission approved the San Mateo County Department of Public Works (DPW) application to replace the Mirada Road coastal trail bridge at the same location over Arroyo de en Medio Creek along with coastal armoring. The proposed project would include demolition of the concrete arch bridge, replacement of the pedestrian bridge, and installation of armoring on the north and south sides of the Arroyo to protect the bridge abutment areas. While the project has obvious public access benefits associated with restoring CCT access at this shoreline location, it also includes significant armoring that leads to adverse coastal resource impacts, including on beach and shoreline access now and over time.Special Condition 2, the Public Access Mitigation Plan requires a new access stairway and access amenities. It is wholly insufficient to offset the coastal resource and ecological impacts of the proposed bridge rebuild and associated shoreline armoring. The Surfrider Foundation opposed the project and instead supported moving the trail inland as a better long-term solution in terms of financial cost and coastal resource impact. The Coastal Commission unanimously approved the permit.
Why You Should Care
ActCoastal partners greatly support public access to and along the coast – but we must not destroy the very coast that we wish to visit and walk along. When we choose to armor a coastal trail instead of relocating it, we jeopardize the very purpose of access: enjoying our natural resources and natural shoreline processes.Wise planning that will preserve our coast now and into the future requires us to make difficult decisions today.
Increased access to and along the coast is not sufficient to mitigate the impact of accelerated beach erosion and the complete loss of the coast itself. Coastal armoring should only be offset by creation of coastal habitat nearby or in the region. A living shoreline and/or managed retreat type project and sufficient financial resources to cover an appropriate project and would be the only sufficient mitigation. This will maintain habitat value as well as public access and recreational value.
Negative Conservation Vote
Commissioners Donne Brownsey clarified through a series of questions to staff that armoring the coastal trail in this location may not necessarily be precedent setting. Commissioner Carole Groom motioned for approval and Commissioner Katie Rice seconded the motion.
Coastal Development Permit
Approval with conditions