The Marina del Rey Vision Statement is a roadmap for long-overdue reinvestment

By L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe

Don Knabe says the marina needs a facelift Photo by Kirby Israelson

Don Knabe says the marina needs a facelift
Photo by Kirby Israelson

I have always considered Marina del Rey to be the crown jewel of Los Angeles County.

Unfortunately, this gem has long been ignored. No spit, no polish. No investment in this treasured area.

Until now.

At last, we have a plan. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors recently approved a Vision Statement for Marina del Rey. Rather than piecemeal updates, we have the opportunity to create something special for this truly unique place.

While adjacent areas have been updated with new restaurants, businesses and attractions, nothing has been done in the marina for decades. We’ve missed boom economic cycles that could have provided much-needed investment and updates to Marina del Rey.

Finally, we are moving forward. I want to thank all the residents, business owners, boaters and visitors who took the time to share your vision. Over the past couple years, we’ve held more than 40 public meetings to capture your feedback, your concerns and your ideas about what you wanted Marina del Rey to become. You sent emails, participated in our online forums, called us. We’ve met face-to-face with hundreds of you in small group meetings. Let me be clear: We heard you.

All of this has led to a vision to transform the marina over the next 15 to 20 years. So, what can you expect to see? The Vision Statement recommends “activity districts” to bring together similar uses, such as recreational and residential, to improve sense of place. We want to improve mobility, so residents and visitors can see an improvement in the traffic problems that have festered over the years. Or even better, let’s avoid cars altogether and make it easier to cycle and walk, or use other forms of transit specifically designated for the marina, such as the WaterBus.

We want to enhance the area’s amenities and improve access to recreational opportunities. This includes the installation of dinghy docks, transient slips, wash areas, improved security and storage facilities, and a boat house.

We’ll add new attractive signage. We’ll consolidate parking so that people can park their cars once and enjoy all that the marina offers. And of course we can’t forget the town’s most dominant feature, the marina itself. Many people don’t know that this beautiful destination is one of the world’s largest man-made small craft harbors, with 19 marinas and a close-knit boating community of residents priding themselves on a life lived at sea. Yet, we’ve failed to invest in this spectacular place for decades.

I certainly recognize there are some who wish for the marina to remain untouched — and sometimes those voices are very loud. But the majority of people I speak to want updates and improvements. Of course, change can be upsetting, but we’ve neglected Marina del Rey for far too long. With the growth of surrounding areas, most notably the rise of creative-tech hub Silicon Beach, we can no longer stick our heads in the sand and avoid the necessary changes we must make.

So I hope we can rally together and embrace this new vision for the Marina. I’m excited about the investment, about the next phase and most importantly the vibrancy we will restore to this fabulous destination.

Together, these changes, this investment, this vision for the future will reestablish Marina del Rey to its rightful position as the crown jewel of Los Angeles County — a place all residents, tourists and visitors can enjoy for years to come.

Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe has represented Marina del Rey on the board since 1997.