Those of us old enough may recall some of the lyrics to Canadian folksinger Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi”: “Don’t it always seem to go / That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone / They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Did Parking Lot 3 just become a paradise? Don’t you find it ironic that a paved parking lot has become – by some in our community – a paradise worth saving?
As children we used to stop at the old train station, which was sadly demolished years ago and replaced by the current parking lot. In our comings and goings to the beach, a stop at the train station was always part of our day. It was so much fun to watch the trains come and go and to see all the activity at the station as passengers arrived and left. It was really neat to watch a conductor grab a mail bag attached to a pole as the train went by, or to hear the clickety-clack from the telegraph office.
I sorely miss our old train station and am somewhat excited that it may be resurrected as the Surfliner Inn project. But I’m in sort of a quandary here. I never liked the parking lot, and I certainly don’t like what it is projected to become. Is a compromise possible? No pink hotel, but perhaps a restaurant or boutique with a swinging hot spot. But frankly, because of climate change and sea levels rising, I really don’t see much of a future for any project at that location. The rail line and coastlines are being washed out all along the tracks north and south of us, and there is a sign posted at the train station that says, “Elevation 7 ft.”