Venice beachgoers eager to speed over the boardwalk on a proposed zip line will have to wait.
Originally slated to open July 1, the zip line has been delayed, thanks in part to an appeal filed earlier this month by Venice resident Gail Rogers, said Kevin Regan, assistant manager of the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation.
Greenheart Conservation Co. had planned to install a 720-foot zip-line ride along the boardwalk in time to capitalize on the busy summer foot traffic, hoping to draw up to 400 riders a day at $20 per thrill. A zip line is an elevated cable ride that zips harnessed riders along at high speeds, powered only by gravity.
City officials approved the ride for a three-month trial, with a percentage of gross revenue to fund maintenance of the boardwalk.
The project gained approval from the Venice Neighborhood Council in May and needed one last approval from the California Coastal Commission, but the commission cannot review the project until Rogers' appeal is cleared. A hearing is scheduled for July 27 at which the Board of Public Works will decide the project's fate.
Now the potential launch date will be in August or September, depending on the appeal and when the Coastal Commission takes up the issue.
Greenheart co-founder Ian Green said he wasn't pleased with the prospect of a possible fall opening.
"That's why the goal was to open in summer, where you're guaranteed to be successful," Green said. "I don't know if we should open up in the fall and hang out in the fog."
Rogers said she opposed the project because she was concerned about noise, access to the beach and ocean views. The idea of a zip line over the iconic boardwalk was "antithetical" to her vision of the community, Rogers said.
"It's just cheesy to me," Rogers said. "It doesn't belong here. Maybe in Vegas or Costa Rica."
The zip line isn't the first revenue-generating proposal to stall in the face of local opposition. The Venice Neighborhood Council shot down a proposed 200-foot observation wheel earlier this year, and an earlier plan to install billboard-style advertisements along the boardwalk met the same fate.
But with the Parks and Recreation Department facing millions in cuts, the city would be wise to capitalize on the boardwalk's revenue potential, Green said. The neighborhood attracts about 16 million people a year and is one of the region's largest tourism draws.
"With all the stuff that needs to be done on the boardwalk, you've got to start being creative," Green said.
On that point at least, Green and Rogers agree.
"I understand that there needs to be privatization," Rogers said. "But I know there are more creative ways to do it."