Access to Trestles, one of North America’s most celebrated waves, is under threat due to safety and environmental concerns. Currently, over 100,000 people each year follow informal trails through wetlands and over active train tracks to gain access to the surf breaks at Trestles. These impromptu manmade paths present a safety hazard with passing trains and threaten the fragile ecosystem of Trestles.
In response, a coalition of concerned groups organized by the volunteer non-profit organization Architecture for Humanity, are launching “Safe Trestles,” an open-to-all, two-stage design competition to create a safe pathway to serve surfers, the local coastal community and day visitors to San Onofre State Beach. This coalition is looking for cohesive designs that eliminate the danger of crossing active train tracks, help to restore wetlands that have been damaged by the present path, preserve and improve vistas, and offer education about the history of the site and the beach marsh environment. The new path should ensure continued access to the resources by all members of our community and adhere to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
While placing no limitations on the originality or imaginativeness of design ideas, we are looking for tangible low-impact solutions that can actually be built at a future date. Ideally, the winning entry will be sensitive to the remote and undisturbed nature of the area—providing safe access without compromising the pristine environment and views of this rare example of natural Southern California coast.
Although there are two official entry points to the beach, located 3/4 mile north and 1/2 mile south of the Lowers, getting to the beach continues to be a challenge. For the last few years the 1.5mile coastline (collectively known as Trestles) has been averaging between 250,000 to 300,000 visits per year. As many as 3,000 visitors arrive at Trestles daily, 1,000 of whom take an unofficial path midway between the two entries, passing through the adjacent wetlands and along the train tracks that divide the beach and road. This foot traffic poses a serious public safety hazard resulting in many near train collisions, as well as many environmental consequences to the delicate coastal ecology.
Any proposal to establish a crossing at Lower Trestles faces complex social and political obstacles. Designers and competitors can play a vital role in overcoming difficult odds by submitting captivating designs that will advance the process, raising public awareness of the current safety hazards and ecological damage. A new vision could demonstrate how a safe crossing could benefit both users and the environment, a new and innovative model for the future.
- Host: Architecture for Humanity
- Type: Public
- Registration Deadline: March 17, 2010
- Submission Deadline: April 17, 2010
- Entry Fee: $20 USD
- Award: up to 5 Finalists: awarded Phase 2 design stipend of $2,000.00+
- Status: Open