News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.
Local

Seeing the California Incline as a cultural landmark




A Santa Monica Big Blue Bus broke the tape to celebrate the reopening of the California Incline on Sept. 1, 2016, after a 17-month project that rebuilt the road with seismic retrofits, a new bike lane and a wider pedestrian walkway.
A Santa Monica Big Blue Bus broke the tape to celebrate the reopening of the California Incline on Sept. 1, 2016, after a 17-month project that rebuilt the road with seismic retrofits, a new bike lane and a wider pedestrian walkway.
City of Santa Monica

Listen to story

09:53
Download this story 9.0MB

The California Incline has been closed for construction for almost a year and a half.

Today, it reopens. The picturesque ramp connects Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica to the Pacific Coast Highway below.

 

#californiaincline #santamonica California Incline Reopens!

A photo posted by Kap S (@kapstblueribbon) on


The Incline was first built in 1896 and it opened to motor vehicles in 1905. The last time it was upgraded was in the 1930's. 

"We got a full lifespan out of the 1930s improvement," said Lee Swain, Santa Monica city engineer. 

Now, Swain says the California Incline is state-of-the-art. The ramp was also widened an additional 5.5 feet to include a separate bike lane and pedestrian walkway. The project to rebuild the Incline cost about $17 million, 90 percent of which came from federal funding. A $2 million project for a new pedestrian overpass on PCH was locally funded.

City officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday morning. There's a mini-festival on the ramp going on until 2 p.m. today for pedestrians. At 5 p.m., the first cars will roll on the Incline.

 

 

In many ways, the Incline is just a traffic ramp with a cool name, but in Southern California, sometimes roads are more than roads — they have cultural significance. 

A Martinez spoke to writer David Ulin about the cultural significance of the California Incline.

Click the blue audio player to hear the full interview.