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    Dana Point spends $62k to study making mechanical transportation to Strand Beach more reliable
    • October 13, 2023

    A Swiss-manufactured cliffside cable car that was supposed to make it easier for the public to get down to Strand Beach in Dana Point has been spotty in its ability to carry passengers over the years.

    Recently, the Dana Point City   Council awarded a $62,000 contract to a consulting firm that will evaluate the vehicle installed for the funicular system in 2016 after the first car, which began service in 2008, also fell into disrepair. A topographic survey will be done from which an elevator company will then consider alternatives to the funicular’s present design, city staffers said in a recent report to councilmembers.

    The vehicle, which travels along a staircase down to the beach, was installed as part of a development agreement with Sanford Edward for the Headlands Development and Conservation Plan in 2008. At that time, Edwards, the project’s developer, said he selected the Swiss company because the vehicle would be the Mercedes equivalent of cable cars.

    But since the first one was installed, the service has been unreliable. The council in 2014 approved a $680,000 replacement project after officials noted the cable car was showing signs of wear in the corrosive marine environment.

    When replacing the first vehicle, the city used Inauen-Schätti AG – the same Swiss manufacturer Edward had commissioned – because the rails and other infrastructure were already in place.

    Related links

    New cliffside cable car to Dana Point’s Strand Beach debuts
    Half of Dana Strand Beach parking lot closes for rest of summer
    Dana Point residents say unrestricted beach access compromises their security
    Dana Point begins process to allow retractable gates at Strand Beach
    Strand Beach access gates are removed after 6-year fight

    In 2019, the city hired a contractor for routine maintenance, but it was determined the materials used in the vehicle had eroded so badly due to the environment that the car was “unreliable for public use.” The company hired then has been unable to make repairs to keep the funicular operational, officials said.

    The mapping survey – expected to take a couple of months to return to the council with results – will measure exact elevations, officials said, which will help inform options for what possibilities exist to move people up and down, including no longer using the present system.

    ​ Orange County Register