South Bay beaches have become a bit more accessible for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Over the last year, three mats have been installed at South Bay beaches— two by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors in Torrance and Manhattan Beach, and one by the city of Hermosa Beach.
Made of a fine synthetic mesh, the access mats create a firmer surface for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, or for those who may otherwise have difficulty crossing the uneven sand.
“Our beaches belong to everyone, and we are working to make them accessible to everyone—including people with mobility challenges,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement before the Manhattan Beach mat installation in February.
These semi-permanent mats are low maintenance by design. Most sand that lands on the mats falls through the mesh, so they don’t need to be swept often. And, if sand starts piling up beneath the mats, they can easily be rolled up so crews can flatten the area and reinstall the mat when they’re done.
The Torrance beach mat is located just north of the lifeguard building at the bottom of the ADA ramp that leads down from the parking lot. The mat in Hermosa Beach is located at 11th Street, near the pier. In Manhattan Beach a mat extends from the “Pathway to the Sea” at 42nd Street in El Porto.
The Department of Beaches and Harbors also offers beach wheelchairs to be borrowed along the coast. In the South Bay, they are available in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance Beach. Use of a beach wheelchair is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are required. Visit the nearest open lifeguard tower or headquarters for assistance. However, lifeguards may not always be immediately available to issue or accept a beach wheelchair if they are out on patrol or on an emergency call.
For more information, including a map of all access mat and beach wheelchair locations, visit beaches.lacounty.gov/access.