Plans making the rounds to reopen Princess Street beach access trail in La Jolla

By Ashley Mackin-Solomon
Published March 27, 2024 Updated March 28, 2024 3:09 PM PT

After more than 40 years, plans are taking shape to reestablish a beach access trail at the end of Princess Street in La Jolla.

With the hope of reopening the access at the end of next year, the project would build a stairway containing landings and benches from the street to the beach below.

The trail would run from the end of Princess Street on the bluff side to the ocean below, publicly accessible between two houses. A locked gate that has been in place for decades would be opened.

“It’s been a long slog,” Pam Heatherington of the Environmental Center of San Diego told the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board during its March 25 meeting as she went over the plans and designs.

The presentation was for information only and the board took no action.

“This is a very steep area [for which we propose] stairs and eight small landings with benches for beach viewing,” she said. “We chose the design we did because this is such a beautiful area that we did not want bright white fences with thick railings to go down there. We want eyes on the water and for nothing to interrupt the view.”

Original plans were to build the stairs out of concrete. However, in an effort to minimize construction and impacts on views, the stairs likely will be made of wood and end just before the beach to avoid direct contact with the water.

“We figured the less intrusive … for the marine sanctuary the better,” Heatherington said. She added that during geotechnical surveys of the area, everything was done by hand and that the construction phase will be the same way — no heavy machinery will be brought to the site.