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Officials now want Venice zip line to open next summer

August 22, 2012 |  6:18 pm

Venice beachgoers eager for a speedy thrill ride over the boardwalk on a proposed zip line will have to wait until at least next summer.

After a months-long delay, the issue is now expected to be taken up at the November meeting of the California Coastal Commission, which will decide if the three-month trial project gets the go-ahead.

The zip line originally was slated to open this past July 1 but was pushed back after a Venice resident filed an appeal, saying the ride was more fitting for Las Vegas. That appeal was rejected two weeks ago, allowing the project to move forward in the approval process.

Tony Arranaga, a spokesman for Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl's office, said the commission meeting -- scheduled to be held in Santa Monica -- will give residents another opportunity to weigh in and hopefully have the zip line ready next summer.

"This will allow the city to accurately assess the project during the height of the tourist season," Arranaga said in an email. "This is when increased beach maintenance is needed the most. The city will also be able to better assess how the project affects traffic and parking."

A zip line is an elevated cable ride that "zips" harnessed riders along at high speeds, powered only by gravity. City officials approved the ride for a three-month trial, with a percentage of gross revenue to fund maintenance of the boardwalk.

Arranaga said his staff sent the Coastal Development Permit application to the commission Tuesday.  

According to the permit application, the zip line would run "approximately 600 feet along the eastern edge of Windward Plaza to the west of Ocean Front Walk." Officials had hoped to draw up to 400 riders a day at $20 per thrill when they planned to open it this summer.

"The way the program was designed was to make sure we get revenue," said Ian Green, co-founder of Greenheart Conservation Co., which plans to install the zip line. "It wouldn’t make sense to open in the middle of winter."

Green said the new target date gives officials more time to prepare. He said he was hopeful the trial zip line would open in June, just in time for schoolchildren on break to participate in aerial training classes and performances. He said those classes and performances would take place in the morning, before the ride opened.     

"This is the process," Green said. "We had been quite hopeful about this season, but that just didn’t pan out."

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-- Matt Stevens

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