In an effort to make beaches accessible to all Angelenos, the Department of Beaches and Harbors has installed a new mat on Venice beach providing a firm surface for people to traverse the sand.
The mat, which was rolled out on Tuesday morning, is one of eight access mats currently placed on L.A. County beaches and is the longest surface DBH has installed so far.
The Venice mat extends in a “T” shape, stretching approximately 250 feet from the bike trail towards the water and running 100 feet parallel to the shore. The surface is made of a fine nylon mesh, which creates a strong flat surface and contains gaps small enough to let sand pass through.
The mats are designed to support people in wheelchairs, but can be used by all visitors of the beach who would like to cross the sand with ease.
“One of the great joys of going to the beach is spending time on the sand near the water,” said L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes Venice. “Now, with the use of this new mat, people who have difficulty negotiating the sand can more fully and safely enjoy a glorious day at Venice Beach.”
According to DBH Public Information Officer Nicole Mooradian, the Venice mat brings visitors closer to the ocean than any previous mat.
The mat connects to the Mike Braude Bike Trail at 2100 Ocean Front Walk, where the Venice Boulevard beach parking lot is located. This parking lot contains many ADA parking spaces, providing easy access to visitors in wheelchairs or with other disabilities.
“We believe that everybody should be able to go to the beach and enjoy it, because beaches are public property,” said Mooradian. “They belong to California and they belong to the residents of L.A. County.”
Beach wheelchairs with large rubber wheels are still available for use at the Venice Beach Lifeguard Headquarters as well as Perry’s Cafe and the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica. An interactive map of all access mat and beach wheelchair locations can be found at beaches.lacounty.gov/access.
The Venice access mat will be available annually from spring through fall. The mat will temporarily be removed in the winter when DBH installs sand berms to protect against winter storms and erosion.