Safe Trestles Phase 2 : The Long Trail

What We Do

Through problem based case learning, we learn about architecture by studying design issues and finding solutions either in textbooks or our imaginations.

  • An architects work is never done
  • Always in progress
  • Completed projects are temporary
  • Redesign is inevitable

…a light touch

The path sits lightly upon or floats just above the landscape.

respect the users
provide safety and universal access
ecological restoration

We know and respect the site, appreciate its natural beauty, and understand its ecological sensitivity. Our design proposal is responsive to these concerns and solves event and daily operational considerations and technical grading requirements.

Our approach is straight forward incorporating ADA access and providing a safe at-grade crossing. The path follows the topography by tracing desire lines. Existing use patterns are utilized for a minimal footprint of path infrastructure. This strategy encourages ecological restoration, reduces runoff, improves water quality, and provides additional habitat.

The form of the path is inspired by the anatomy of a wave and the beauty of the ocean. Outlooks provide opportunity for views and interpretation. Materials are selected that will stand up the physical conditions of the site, fit with its inherent natural beauty and have minimal embedded energy and ecological footprint.

As a world class surf destination users include the world’s best competitive surfers and local surfers alike, joggers, nature enthusiasts, spectators, cyclists, and day hikers. Path alignment respects these users current use patterns, desire lines, and access.

This strategy minimizes further site disturbance, and allows ecological restoration. In addition, this will prohibit people from using current degraded path areas such as at Corndog Hill. This controls access points allowing the damaged landscape to restore.

Materials are selected with low embedded energy. Overlooks and platforms are designed as pause points where interpretation and seating are incorporated. Accessibility is achieved by modifying the existing paving and adding parking which meets ADA Standards. The pathway is a maximum of 4.9% for the entire run. Safety is achieved by controlling crossing at a single point at-grade crossing. Rest rooms are located at the beach trail head.

Ecological restoration is a key benefit of this design approach. By lifting the path above the grade and utilizing much of the existing trail we are able to greatly reduce runoff and erosion and allow habitat and native plantings to be restored. In addition, by controlling access and channelizing users restoration is achievable by limiting off trail pedestrian use. Water quality during events when parking is allowed is enhanced by means of bio filtration features.

Education and interpretation are key elements of this design. Interpretation fosters preservation, understanding, and respect. Topics of education and interpretation include: ecological systems, surfing wall of fame, the politics of surfing trestles, wave dynamics, and Juaneño / Acagchemem people.

Interpretive signs float lightly within the landscape, their shapes and colors inspired by the surroundings. Dichroic transparent acrylic or glass signs provide information that fosters preservation of the environment, understanding of the elements that make Trestles special, and respect for the past, present and future of the area. Signs are carefully placed at trailheads and overlooks, presenting information pertinent to each location.

An at grade crossing is provided in the foot print of the existing desire path while access is controlled along the railroad tracks where current pathways exist. Channelization fencing via a cable rail system similar to one used at Beach Trail extends beyond the dry season access points in combination with rock rip rap to discourage crossings. A gate arm assembly notifies pedestrians of an oncoming train. All required regulations and standards will be met in the design of this crossing.

Universal access is achieved by providing four handicap spaces at the trail head, a consistent slope of 4.9% on the floating boardwalk trail and 2% maximum at the safe rail crossing.

Construction is made of a raised pathway which rests on reinforced concrete piles. These supports are strategically located to minimize impacts on the habitat below. Span lengths between piles achieve clear distances ranging from 20 to 40 feet. Two parallel structural steel center beams span the concrete piles, with intermediate transverse link beams at each handrail stanchion. Chamfering at the end of the transverse structural steel beams produces a visually thin profile. Cladding panels enclose the perimeter edge of the raised pathway, creating a clean look for the pathway edge and handrail attachment.

The simplicity of the pathway design increases ease of construction and long-term maintenance, requiring few, if any, specialist skills or tools. Materials for constructing the pathway can be sourced and assembled locally. A variety of materials were evaluated for the deck of the raised pathway. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainably harvested hardwood was selected for its durability, ease of maintenance, and environmental sustainability.

Handrail materials include steel, weather resistant stone, and FSC certified hardwood. The handrail consists of structural steel stanchions spaced at regular intervals, with FSC certified sustainably harvested hardwood handrails. The hardwood rail was chosen for its superior quality of ‘feel’ to the hand. A steel bar stiffens the handrail and provides improved structural continuity across the stanchions. Stainless steel cables running parallel to the rail complete the handrail assembly.

Gabions retain the decomposed granite pathway and define the edges of the Trestles Trailhead, Escarpment Overlook, Surf Overlook and Beach Trailhead. Each high quality gabion module is 2’ x 2’ x 2’ and is constructed of a wire basket filled with locally sourced rocks.

San Clemente, California 92672
United States
See map: Google Maps