Patrick Healy and Kristopher Li
Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro's now famous slide zone, could get worse with weekend rain
Curious residents and visitors keep coming to San Pedro, peering through the chain-link fence to get a look at the now-famous Paseo Del Mar landslide.
It looks like a scene from a disaster movie, but it happened so slowly that everyone had time to get out of the way.
Public works crews visited the rocky beach below the slide Thursday to inspect conditions hundreds of feet below the former thoroughfare.
Above, spectators see two severed ends, separated by a gaping void. In the middle stands a marooned palm tree, somehow still enjoying its lofty perch.
Neighbors were mindful of the weather forecast Thursday. It's been a mild winter, and a late season storm could disturb the uneasy status quo.
"Neighbors are concerned about the stability of the slope," said June Burlingame Smith, member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council. "With storms coming, and whatnot, I know that's always an anxious time."
Cracks in the slope became apparent last summer, but it was not until after fall rains soaked the hillside that it gave way over Thanksgiving weekend.
The area's newly elected city councilman, Joe Buscaino, said he gets regular updates from the city's engineering department and geological consultants.
"The geologists made it clear that there is possible room for movement," Buscaino said. "Even more so with the rains coming."
The White Point Nature Preserve is immediately above the slide zone. The nearest homes are several hundred feet to the east and are not believed to be in danger.
"Fortunately it's away from the homes," said Dave Behar of the Palisades Residents Association. "No real danger there. It's just a matter of a few more inconveniences if it does happen again. At this point, I think we're in good shape."
Community leaders and residents were scheduled to discuss the situation Thursday night. And they're not just worried about the weekend. They have to figure out what to do down the road.
There are three options on the table: build a bridge over the slide zone; build a detour inland through the Nature Preserve; or leave the gap as it is, putting turnarounds at each end.
Some residents, who have been enjoying the quiet, like that last option.