North Beach Trail, Santa Monica

North Beach Trail, Santa Monica Coastal Promenade, California Landscape Design, USA Architecture Photos

North Beach Trail in Santa Monica

Mar 3, 2021

North Beach Trail

Architects: SWA Group

Location: Santa Monica, California, USA

An Artful Approach to Safety: SWA Group Upgrades North Beach Trail, Popular Coastal Promenade in Santa Monica

North Beach Trail

Designers incorporated wayfinding and place-making features to improve safely and artfully accommodate pedestrians and cyclists along the North Beach Trail

North Beach Trail

SWA Group announces the renovation and upgrade of North Beach Trail, a popular beach pathway along two miles of Santa Monica’s coastal promenade.

North Beach Trail

Landscape architects at SWA Group collaborated with City of Santa Monica staff, KPFF civil engineers, Alta Planning + Design to widen and enhance the promenade to more safely and artfully accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

North Beach Trail

The promenade attracts tourists, cyclists, and pedestrians, all eager to experience the city’s renowned beach culture. An unfortunate side-effect of the promenade’s popularity is the danger resulting from shared narrow pathways with different modes and speeds of travel in addition to the distractions by the many attractions in the area.

North Beach Trail

Central to the improvements was the separation of cyclists and pedestrians through the widening and upgrading of a shared, deteriorating asphalt trail from the base of the iconic Santa Monica Pier north to Will Rogers State Beach, where the city’s jurisdiction ends.

North Beach Trail

Landscape architects at SWA focused design attention on artful safety features of the trail’s edges and crossings, Here, new custom-designed concrete bollards, shaped to echo the forms of nearby cliffs, are installed as a physical barrier to keep pedestrians from unwittingly co-mingling with cyclists. Barrier openings mark promenade crossings, enabling cyclists to visibly anticipate pedestrian traffic.

North Beach Trail

North Beach Trail

SWA also enhanced promenade crossings with the introduction of super graphics that artfully double as way-finding and place making elements. Community engagement during the design process affirmed the artwork’s theme of drawing from the local natural world.

North Beach Trail

“Metrics of Nature” identifies six living elements—flora or fauna from the air, to land, to sea—to represent each crossing: Snowy plover, Catalina Miraposa Lillies, El Segundo Blue butterfly, Coast horned lizard, Turtle, and Kelp.

North Beach Trail

Each is depicted graphically in the pavement, some as large as 70 feet, and supplemented with informational signage in English, Spanish, and Brail.

North Beach Trail

Each of the series of six promenade crossings is marked by distinctive artwork, reflected in signage and the pavement itself, to help people know where they are and to have recognizable places to meet.

North Beach Trail

North Beach Trail

Other improvements, still under construction, are focused on the base of Santa Monica Pier and its adjacent public parking lot, which lacked clear and safe pedestrian navigation—both within the lot itself and between the parking and the promenade.

North Beach Trail

North Beach Trail

Designers added signage and restriped the lot to create clear visual directions. Further, distinct crossing areas were created at the promenade to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists, and a cable fence was added to keep pedestrians from wandering into the bike lane.

North Beach Trail

North Beach Trail

About SWA Group
SWA Group is a world-renowned landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm celebrated for its creativity, responsiveness, and design excellence. Our work gives new life to outdoor spaces at multiple scales – from public plazas to waterfronts to entire city districts – harnessing natural systems while enhancing the unique characteristics of each setting. SWA has studios in Dallas, Houston, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sausalito and Shanghai.

North Beach Trail

Photos by Jonnu Singleton/SWA Group

North Beach Trail, Santa Monica, California images / information received 030321

Location: Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Southern California, United States of America

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