PURPOSE OF AND NEED OF ACTION
The National Park Service proposes to construct new restrooms at Ocean Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), San Francisco, Californai (Figure 1).
This Environmental Assessment evaluates the construction of three new, aboveground restrooms at Ocean Beach and abandonment of the existing belowground facilities. Two development sites are located along the esplanade (the paved walkway paralleling the city-side of the seawall) at beach access stairwells 2 and 6 between the Cliff House and Cabrillo Street. The third site is in the vicinity of beach access stairwell 24 about 1/8 mile north of Lincoln Boulevard. All three sites are partially upon the lands of the City and County of San Francisco.
During the fall of 1989 and early 1990, the restrooms at beach access stairwell 6 would be constructed and the existing belowground restrooms would be backfilled, and the site restored to match existing conditions. Restroom construction at beach access stairwells 24 and 2 would occur as funds allow.
All three restrooms would be identical as well as sunlit, airy, vandal resistant, and fully accessible to handicapped visitors. Alterations or renovations of the seawall are not part of this project.
Ocean Beach is one of the more heavily used areas of the park. Each year two million visitors are attracted to its often foggy, wave and windswept shore to relax in the sand, walk their dogs, jog, picnic, surf, fish, sunbathe, walk the esplanade, participate in organized events and activities, or just watch the spectacular waves or contemplate a sunset. Pedestrian access from the esplanade to the beach is through access stairwells in the seawall. Use of the area has significantly increased since 1980 -- from a peak of 2,000 visitors per day to more than 15,000 visitors per peak day during 1988.. This high number is usually associated with organized events or activities.
The Ocean Beach area is currently served only by a single restroom facility, an underground structure dating back to the mid- to late 1920s. It is located between beach access stairwells 7 and 8. Ocean Beach has been a major focus of problems such as excessive litter, vandalism, and disorderly conduct. The existing restroom is inaccessible to mobility-impaired persons, difficult to maintain, and is unappealing to the visitor. In spite of intensive maintenance efforts and repeated rehabilitations, the facility has been relentlessly subjected to devastating vandalism. Only a few of the water closets are operative and, for the most part, the entire restroom is nonfunctional. It is a major inconvenience and safety hazard which contribute towards an unsatisfactory visitor experience.
Development of restrooms in this area represents an initial step towards implementing the goals for Ocean Beach as presented in the approved General Management Plan.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ALTERNATIVES
Alternative A. No Action. Figure 2
The no action alternative would retain the existing conditions. Regular maintenance of the underground restrooms would continue as would periodic rehabilitation of the facilities.
Alternative B. Construct Restrooms. Figure 2
Under this alternative, an aboveground restroom would be developed on the city side of the seawall near beach access stairwell 6. The site would occupy about 5,000 square feet; the station would be approximately 1,400 square feet and consist of two 18 foot high buildings, one for men and the other for women. The site would occupy approximately 1,600 square feet of land currently owned by the City and County of San Francisco. The buildings would be compatible in and consistent with San Francisco architectural style. There would be six toilet fixtures in each building, sinks with running cold water, and nighttime lighting. Both buildings would be closed and locked at night. The facilities would be vandal resistant and fully accessible to handicapped visitors. Utility and sewer lines to the buildings would be buried.
Site amenities and services at the facility could include plantings, benches, a drinking fountain, an information kiosk, a bicycle rack, a public telephone, and two vehicle parking spaces for handicapped visitors with accessible curbcuts leading to the restroom and esplanade.
The restrooms at beach stairwells 24 and 2 would be constructed as funds become available and would be identical to the facility at beach access stairwell 6.
The existing restroom facilities are under the esplanade. These facilities would be abandoned. The existing aboveground concrete stairwell barriers and vent would be removed to a depth of 18 inches below grade and hauled to a landfill disposal area. The stairwells would be blocked off and backfilled with imported material and the surface restored to match existing conditions.
The city and County of San Francisco has agreed to donate to Golden Gate National Recreation Area the small parcels of City and County owned land upon which the restrooms would be built. Incorporation of those lands into Golden Gate NRA boundaries would be accomplished by an administrative minor boundary adjustment.
Water consumption of the existing restroom amounts to 1,200 gallons/day. Water used in the restrooms discussed this alternative would be provided via hook-up to the City of San Francisco water supply. A peak daily use of 2,000 gallons/day would be expected when one restroom facility is developed, 4,000 gallons/day when two restrooms are developed, and 6,000 gallons/day when all three are operational. Schedule watering of planted vegetation would be initially required until the plants become established, a period from three to six months.
The available funding for restroom development at beach access stairwell 6 and removal of existing facilities during fiscal year 1989 is $600,00. The additional cost of completing restroom development at beach access stairwells 24 and 2 is estimates to be $1,100,000 in 1989 dollars
Visual Quality and Viewshed
Currently, the visual quality and viewshed of Ocean Beach from the Cliff House, Great Highway, associated feeder roads, currently unoccupied Ocean Beach chalet, and nearby residences is an uninterrupted horizon of the seawall, beach, surf, and vast Pacific Ocean. This aspect would not be affected under alternative A Under alternative B, the visual quality of the viewshed would be affected by restroom development. Three development sites would include six structures each 18 feet high. The sites, however would be separated by a minimum of 600 feet and selected plantings would offer a visual buffer and soften the visual effect of the structures. Further, sensitive design of facilities would be of architectural style consistent with local themes and would blend well with the developed environment. Additionally, there may be a slight and temporary degradation of local air quality due to dust generated from construction activities.