Resurfacing of Coastal Trail in Miramar


Posted by on Sat, October 17, 2009

About 10 days ago, part of the coastal trail was resurfaced with a black tar like substance.  I’m not sure why it was done.  Yes, the old concrete surface had some cracks and had seen better days.  But the new surface looks awful.  It’s broken at the edges, has tire tracks thru it and stops at each street that dead ends into the trail.  It looks like it was a training exercise for someone who was learning how to resurface instead of a professional job.

When money is so tight and there are so many things that need doing, I have two questions:
1) Why was it done at all?
2) Why wasn’t any quality control applied to the job?

Sorry to complain but I want to find out whether I’m the only one upset by the job and, if not, whether anything can be done about it.

Hello Minna,

If the black tar is located in HMB you might consider contacting the HMB City Council with your questions.  If the black tar is in the unincorporated Midcoast segment of the trail you should contact Dave Holland (650-363-4020 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) at the County Parks Dept.

I will post an article specifically about trail paving on my new blog in the next few weeks.  The Pelican Eye:

The Lands End Trail is a segment of the California Coastal Trial.  Lands End is paved with Natural Pave.

From the San Mateo Co. Zoning Regulations:

SECTION 6325.1. PRIMARY SCENIC RESOURCES AREAS CRITERIA. The following criteria shall apply within Scenic Corridors and other Primary Scenic Resources Areas as defined or designated in the Open Space and Conservation Element of the San Mateo County General Plan:...

(c) Within a corridor, pathway pavements should be colored or selected to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

Parking Lot Sealcoat: A Major Source of PAH Contamination: toxic to mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and plants.

Geological Survey (USGS) have identified coal-tar based sealcoat—the black, shiny emulsion (slurry seal) painted or sprayed on asphalt pavement such as parking lots—as a major and previously unrecognized source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination. Several PAHs are suspected human carcinogens and are toxic to aquatic life.
Studies in Austin, Texas, showed that particles in runoff from coal-tar based sealcoated parking lots had concentrations of PAHs that were about 65 times higher than concentrations in particles washed off parking lots that had not been sealcoated. Biological studies, conducted by the City of Austin in the field and in the laboratory, indicated that PAH levels in sediment contaminated with abraded sealcoat were toxic to aquatic life and were degrading aquatic communities, as indicated by loss of species and decreased numbers of organisms.
Identification of this source of PAHs may help to improve future strategies for controlling these compounds in urban water bodies across the Nation where parking lot sealcoat is used.
PAHs are toxic to mammals (including humans), birds, fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and plants. Aquatic invertebrates, the insects and other small animals that live in streams and lakes, are particularly susceptible to PAH contamination, especially the bottom dwellers (benthic invertebrates) that live in the mud where PAHs tend to accumulate.

LINK to U.S. Geological Survey website: