Thursday, June 01, 2017

Valley Creek

The mouth of Valley Creek was opened up a long time ago (10-15 years?), creating a small estuary out of once had been industrial fill, that I suppose once was a beach and a small estuary. In the last couple of years, the city completed the next phase of the park, which consists of two engineered beaches on the shoreline immediately east of the creek.


There have been a significant number of pocket beaches built on urban shorelines in the region, but this is one of very few that have been built as a pair. The idea has been proposed, but usually gets nixed due to costs and some basic geometric challenges. Constructed pocket beaches need to be oriented into the waves. And they need to be confined - either by existing promontories (usually old fill in urban areas) or groins.

This poses problems when a pair of beaches need to be oriented obliquely to the overall trend of the shoreline. The groin that separates them must often be a major feature, with a large difference in elevation from one side to the other (see aerial). This means a lot of rock is exposed (in this case, on the east end of the western beach). This in turn probably makes it harder to keep the higher beach from leaking through the rock structure - there was a little evidence that some of this might have happened here.

This site still seems pretty bare. It will be nice to see it with more vegetation, more landscape elements, and a few more amenities. it would be nice if we could incorporate more sand into these steep pebble beaches, but that's tough when you want stuff to stay put and your geometry requires the steep beach face provided by permeable, well-sorted gravel.

Here are links to some other constructed pocket beaches (some are very much the same, some are very much not):

Boulevard Park: 2014 (Bellingham)
Sunset Beach: 2016 (Vancouver)
Brackett's Landing: 2016 (Edmonds)
Sculpture Park: 2017 (Seattle)
Ross Bay: 2013 (Victoria)
Maumee State Park: 2010 (Ohio)
McKinley Beach: 2016 (Milwaukee)

No comments: