Monica Unpaves Paradise and Rips Out a Parking Lot
By Jorge Casuso
November 2 -- The City of Santa Monica is reversing singer
Joni Mitchell’s famous lyric, “they paved paradise and
put up a parking lot,” by doing just the opposite.
This week, the first chunks of asphalt were torn out of a beach
surface parking lot in Ocean Park to make way for a grassy lawn
that is more than just green in color.
The 30,000-square-foot space -- which City officials say will be
used to fly kites, toss Frisbees and picnic on the grass -- is also
a state-of-the-art experiment in cleansing urban runoff before it
trickles into nearby Santa Monica Bay.
“Not only will we get more recreation space, it’s also
going to help us with the urban runoff,” said Brett Horner,
a senior analyst in Parks and Community Facilities Planning. “Some
of the runoff will be filtered through the turf.”
Bankrolled with a $698,000 grant from the California State Water
resources Control Board, the small park will include a well near
the asphalt and one end and another further down that will capture
water to test the effectiveness of turf’s cleansing properties.
The wells, Horner said, “will measure how well it’s
done the job.”
The water-cleaning park is likely the first of its kind anywhere,
after a similar one slated for Stinson Beach was scraped seven years
ago, Horner said.
Cars will be able to park on the turf -- which is treated with
Netlon, a fibrous product that protects the grass -- during busy
holidays around the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor day,
City officials said.
“It becomes part of the turf and absorbs the weight of the
vehicle, so it doesn’t leave ruts in the grass,” he
During the select holidays, attendants will be on hand to open
the gates that separate the park -- which is just north of the playground
at the terminus of Ocean Park Boulevard between Fraser and Wadsworth
Avenues -- from an adjoining asphalt lot, Horner said.
The City hopes to finish most of the construction by January and
open the park in late April or early May.
“It takes 90 days for the turf to get established,”