Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements title=
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements
21 Comments
Reads 6036

By the City of Santa Barbara

Thousand Steps, a historic beach access stairway in the Mesa neighborhood, has reopened after a six-month closure. During that time, the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department made significant safety repairs and improvements to the popular landmark, which serves as one of three public beach access stairways in the City.

Thousand Steps, originally called Camino a Mar, was built by the City almost 100 years ago in 1925. Over time, harsh coastal conditions and regular use eroded the lowest stairs, making them difficult and dangerous to use.

Work at Thousand Steps required careful timing with tides and coastal conditions and strict adherence to coastal permitting requirements to protect sensitive marine habitats.

Repairs and improvements thus far include:

•           Demolition and reconstruction of the lower 24 steps and installation of seven additional steps, to provide a safer and more accessible path during seasonal changes to sand level.

•           Installation of a continuous handrail extending from the street level to the beach.

•           Construction of a new concrete guardrail at the main landing mid-stairway.

•           Drainage improvements to allow for groundwater capture to reduce algae growth and slippery stair treads.

•           Installation of a bicycle rack on top of the bluff. 

A brief closure for additional work is expected in Fall 2022 or Winter 2023, when conditions allow, to add an apron at the beach level to protect the stairs for years to come. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be announced by the City Parks and Recreation Department at a later date.


About the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department

The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department proudly maintains a wide range of parks, facilities, and programs designed to serve the community's needs.

Our mission is to: 

•           Provide clean and safe parks, beaches, and recreation facilities,

•           Enhance Santa Barbara's beauty,

•           Promote stewardship of resources,

•           Provide quality recreation and cultural experiences and community services, and

•           Improve the quality of life for Santa Barbara residents.

To learn more about the Parks and Recreation Department, please visit the City of Santa Barbara website at SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec, or follow @sbparksandrec on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Please reach out to us with questions or suggestions any time at ParksAndRec@SantaBarbaraCA.gov or (805) 564-5418.

Login to add Comments

21 Comments

Show Comments
Transparent Sep 30, 2022 09:18 AM
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

Yes, there was ABR and whatnot. In fact, the process was made easier because the design is close to identical with what it was originally, with the hand-rail being the new piece.

The pillars were in the original, too, but had eroded slightly over time with exposed rebar and missing chunks of concrete.

Yes, they were still usable, but the condition was poor, and it's good we addressed it. You can't wait for a critical failure and then be chasing rather the getting out front.

x01660 Sep 29, 2022 05:07 PM
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

Tsk tsk... someone didn't remove the EXIF data from the picture.... And I'm surprised that Edhat's photo uploader doesn't scrub that data either....

Apple iPhone 12 Pro | 1.54mm F2.4 1/813 ISO25 | 2022:09:29 08:19:35 | Windows Photo Editor 10.0.10011.16384

34°23'44.5"N 119°42'48.4"W

Good to know in case I decide to upload something.

Steps look pretty cool, though I agree with Basic; new steps are kinda fugly....

a-1664501025 Sep 29, 2022 06:23 PM
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

It doesn't matter in this case but I'm taking mental note. It's good housekeeping to scrub EXIF data, there are situations where location data could be problematic. I also think X01660 could have just emailed Ed to let them know lol

Basicinfo805 Sep 29, 2022 06:58 PM
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

I’ll respond to both criticizers. First, I’ve walked the pre-existing steps a lot, up until very recently. They were not EVEN CLOSE to falling apart. Completely usable, reliable, functional.

And now we spent a ton of taxpayer money to build custom concrete columns that are completely overkill for a beach. But hey, if you’re looking to board a cruise ship…

Surfndve Sep 30, 2022 08:25 AM
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

I've used the steps to dive from the late 90s and there's a few times a year (normally in winter after a big rain event and storm) where so much sand is stripped away that the bottom step is 3 to 4 feet above the beach! I've had to lend a hand more than a few times to people struggling to get up or down on or off the beach. So for those few days a year the new steps will increase accessibility and safety (I have slipped on the old goo with all my dive gear on - but in my embarrassment I don't talk about it) :)

I'm curious about the extended handrail onto the sand. When a large west swell mixes in with ripping west wind and a high tide, there will be a lot of kelp that will get wrapped around the bottom hand railing... If the same (looking) metal railing at Deveroux beach access is any indicator, the metal will warp and bend given the extreme weight of the kelp and force of the water, maybe a continual maintenance headache? Time will tell...

On a side note, I found this article on semi-recent Mesa history to be really informative:
https://terryryken.com/santa-barbara-area-information/the-mesa-history/

edney Sep 29, 2022 09:22 PM
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

In the winter after a storm, it could be a bit of a drop on the last stair for the less nimble. But I kind of liked them. They looked like history and it also took me back to how beach access used to be bushwhacking in ravines and down bluffs.

Zazou Sep 30, 2022 11:22 AM
Thousand Steps Reopens Following Safety Repairs and Improvements

I've been using those steps since 1964, and have watched them deteriorate since then. So I'm glad they have been fixed up. My only gripe is the positioning of the bike racks. They are behind the barrier, with no ramp to them. One would have to pick up their bike over two curbs to get to them. Obviously designed by a non-biker.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.