Venice Beach features a boardwalk, a skate park and basketball courts along its wide, sandy shore. And if Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has his way, it will get another attraction by the Fourth of July — a zip line, offering a 720-foot-long, barely one-minute joy ride above it all. A 44-foot launch tower planted near the skate plaza would zip riders over grass and pedestrians to a landing pad near the basketball courts. City officials hope that as many as 400 riders daily will pay $20 to take a ride.
Critics argue that Venice is already carnival enough with its street performers, skateboarders, vendors and tourists all fighting (sometimes literally) for space. The city, they say wearily, doesn't need 400 more people shrieking in delight overhead.
There's no question that the zip line could add to the congestion of this area, which attracts more than 13 million tourists a year, but it will bring in something else as well: desperately needed revenue for cleaning bathrooms and trash cans on the beach. The operator, Greenheart Conservation Co., would share a percentage of its revenue — Rosendahl speculates it could be around 20% — with the city. Two-thirds of the city's take would go directly to Venice Beach. Liability for the zip line would be assumed by the operator.