Wood railroad tie stairs were once used in PVE, and some still remain in Lunada Bay, such as in Carrillo Park. But due to apparent maintenance concerns, these wooden stairs are no longer being installed and one was recently replaced with concrete stairs. However, an alternative to concrete and stone stairs, which PVE has not yet used, could be switchbacks or a series of dirt boxes.
Stairs have been installed on some Paths when the terrain is rather steep. Early examples of stairs built in the 1920's, which used natural stone, are the Arroyo Stairs, depicted on the left, and the Canyon Stairs. The most recent stairs on Paths, installed in 2012, include the Arriba, Chico and Chino stairs, also located in Malaga Cove. Divided series of stairs include the Buena stairs in Malaga Cove and the Zumaya stairs in Lunada Bay. Stairs can not only be on Paths, but are also sometimes on Parklands as well. Examples of stairs on Parklands are the Carillo Park stairs and the Victoria Stairs, both in Lunada Bay. Most of these stairs are shown on the right.
Paths in Palos Verdes Estates (PVE) are 20-foot wide, are usually situated between lots in the middle of a block and are a few hundred feet in length. They resemble narrow lots on a plot plan, being about one-third the width of a typical 60-foot wide PVE lot. (See the exhibit on the right.) But Paths are actually Right-of-Way (R/W) controlled by the City. Each Path has a unique name as designated on PVE's General Plan Map. There are some 80 sections of Paths in PVE. Paths were intended to serve as "shortcuts" alleviating the need for sidewalks - and to allow residents to easily access Parklands. Paths are often used for above and under ground utilities, which also helps identify them, and are therefore are occasionally considered to be utility easements, despite officially being named Paths. The Paths, together with trails, form a unique trail system for the entire City, designed by the Olmsted Brothers. Unfortunately, a study in 2013 indicated that over one-half of the Paths are overgrown or blocked with an encroachment. A Path can have a pathway, a stair, or both.
Pathways are usually dirt, foot worn and can be relatively narrow. But some pathways include some gravel and a few, usually associated with stairs, are asphalt. Referencing a "pathway" can relate specifically to a Path that is on R/W and differentiates it from a trail, which is usually on Parkland. However, an exception could be considered to be the trails on two main Medians (located on the PV Drive North and West R/W). Another difference between pathways and trails could involve maintenance standards, however, PVE has never established any such standards for either paths or trails.