LA county supervisor says beach bike paths are open, but are they?

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced on social media Thursday morning, May 21, that bike paths at county beaches are now open — though it’s not clear if that’s true.

The Los Angeles County of Department of Public Health is ultimately responsible for officially opening the bike paths, according to the Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Opening the bike path would formally come via an amendment to the Safer at Home order, said Steven Frasher of the county’s joint information center. But it does not appear that’s happened yet.

The Public Health Department, when reached Thursday, deferred comment to Beaches and Harbors.  Public health officials also did not mention the beach bike paths during Thursday’s coronavirus briefing.

“We’re all waiting for the formalization of what the direction” will be, Frasher said.

Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand rides the bike paths Thursday, May 21, 2020 along Torrance and Redondo beaches. There has been no official announcement of the reopenings. (Photo from Bill Brand’s Facebook)

But Hahn’s office on Thursday confirmed what the supervisor said in her tweet.

“We got confirmation from Beaches and Harbors this morning that they removed the barricades and that the bike paths were open,” said Liz Odendalhl, a Hahn spokesperson.

The confusion echoed a similar issue ahead of beaches opening last week. The Department of Beaches and Harbors announced early in the week that the county-owned shoreline would open from dawn to dusk beginning May 13, a Wednesday. But the county order hadn’t come by then. Later that day, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer did say, during her daily briefing, that she would order beaches open — though, again, it wasn’t immediately clear when that would occur. An amended health order allowing beaches to open did eventually come, however.

Still, that confusion didn’t stop people from flocking to the sand the day Beaches and Harbors said they could. And on Thursday, the same seemed true of the bike paths.

Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand rode along the beach paths on Thursday, posting a photo on Facebook captioned: “LA County Beaches and Harbors opened the bike path in Torrance and Redondo Beach today!”

Bikeways that traverse the sand had remained closed even after the beaches opened, as a way to stem the further spread of the coronavirus.

That didn’t appear to stop cyclists and pedestrians in Redondo Beach, who spent the first weekend back at the beach walking and running along the path anyway.

The bike path through Manhattan Beach, however, had opened the day after beaches did because it’s not along the sand, which may have added confusion for pedestrians over the weekend.

Hermosa Beach City Council, meanwhile, was set to discuss reopening its Strand walk and bike path on Thursday.

But piers and beach parking lots remain closed until further notice, according to Beaches and Harbors. Restrooms and showers at some beaches opened at last week.

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