With the Manhattan Beach Pier turned 100 this year, the city is getting ready to give the railings there a makeover.
Residents recently got a first look at a plan to replace railings along the pier, including those that travel along stairs down to the beach, as well as those next to the bike path, the Strand and overhead parking lot.
The city’s Public Works Department — along with Jerry Holcomb, waterfront project engineer for infrastructure advisory firm Moffatt & Nichol — presented three potential designs to switch out for currently corroding rails during a public meeting earlier this week.
There are no safety issues currently, officials said, because of temporary fixes, but the rails have definitely reached the end of their lifespan. The rails were last replaced about 30 years ago.
The plan, a prioritized part of the city’s capital improvement project, is expected to go before the City Council for approval in winter or spring of 2021, said Gilbert Gamboa, senior civil engineer for the city. Moffatt & Nichol, along with city staffers, would then develop a final design according to council’s decision.
The project will also require permits from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the California Coastal Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and the LA Regional Water Control Board, Gamboa said. The city will submit the applications this fall and winter.
The goal is to preserve the historical elements, as identified in 1995 when the pier was dedicated as a landmark, Holcomb said, while ensuring the new rails adhere to the city’s current safety code. The seafoam green color and horizontal bars are important to keep consistent for the pier’s historic character, he added.
Several possibilities exist for the railings. Option one would add a fifth horizontal rail, with the tubing made of aluminum to minimize corrosion. It’s the least expensive choice, but would require more — possibly unsightly — base plates and anchor bolts to make it sturdy enough.
Option two would keep the four rails, but the tubes would be made larger to further prevent people — mainly children — from falling through them. There would also be bigger base plates and require the most maintenance. It’d be the second-most expensive option.
Option three is least consistent with the current style. It would have a removable wooden top bar and five skinny, modern-looking rails. That bar would stay cooler than metal bars throughout the day — but would also be the most expensive to build.
Both the first and third options would have segmented railings so that portions can be removed for future maintenance, Holcomb said, opposed to closing the entire pier to fix just one part. Option two has a continuous design that would be harder to maintain.
State agencies are so far shying away from the third choice because of inconsistency with the existing design, staff said.
Construction is projected to begin in fall 2021.