By PVE Trails & Open Space Conservancy

PVE  TRAILS thru Parklands & Paths


Please see a larger illustration of the above R/W Diagram and the different types of R/W, shown in either gray (paved) or in tans/browns (usually non paved), in relation to Parklands, trails and pathways. It appears that all R/W in PVE is owned in fee simple by the City of PVE with possible reversionary rights lying with the PV Homes Association. As a result of the Parklands Use Policy created in 2014 that defines all City owned fee simple land as Parklands, it would therefor appear that all R/W is also under some of the same regulations as Parklands. However, legally and technically R/W has certain distinguishing characteristics from Parklands. In particular, R/W can often be rented or sold, whereas apparently Parkland cannot.  Following is a brief description of each type of R/W:
  1. Parkways in PVE are the strips of land between the curb of a street and a property line in PVE and can also be called a road verge.  All R/W in PVE, including Parkways, is controlled by the City and the Parkway can vary from a few feet to some 50 feet along streets. There are no Parkways along "Lanes or alleys". Parkways are usually in the front of a property, but corner lots also have Parkways on their side yard. The front and side yard Parkways may have different depths. (See the R/W Diagram.) A common practice for the City of PVE is to let residents treat the parkway in front of their home as their lawn (despite being owned by the City), subject to varies regulations and the "Tree Policy." An exception to this is that Parkways near privately owned multifamily or shopping districts often include sidewalks as do some areas adjacent to schools next to PVP Unified School District property. Parkways in front of private homes rarely have sidewalks in PVE, but one example is the residential area across from the Neighborhood Church in Malaga Cove. Besides the use of sidewalks, a few homes have added a walkway or pathway (of decomposed granite / DG) in a Parkway adjacent to a Street, as part of their landscaping. Even though adding such walkways could extend various Paths or trails and make them safer for crossing various streets, the City has avoided this type of action. Apparently this is because the City has wanted to avoid additional costs and does not want to interfere with what residents may perceive as their private rights to these Parkways.  
  2. Lanes. When PVE was designed by the Olmsted Brother in the 1920s, a couple dozen Lanes (alleys) were laid in the back of some multistory commercial and residential lots (mostly in Lunada Bay) so driveways and garages would not be needed in the front. This was done to make the buildings more attractive and aesthetically pleasing. However, many multifamily and commercial lots were not developed and were converted and rezoned to single family lots instead. Also, single family residences adjacent to Lanes often placed their garages and drives in the front of a home rather than in the back, making the Lane unnecessary. Even though there are some "Active" Lanes or alleys in PVE that are paved and used as intended to access garages in the back of a residence, there are also over a dozen sections of "Passive" Lanes in PVE that are not used for this purpose. Instead, Passive Lanes are those that are unpaved, used as pathways by local pedestrians, sometimes used for trash pickup (once a week) and often used for both above and below ground utilities with faint dirt service roads. Consequently, they are therefore sometimes thought to be considered to be utility "easements," but they are actually R/W. Since Lanes (or alleys) are the same width as Paths, Passive Lanes may appear to look like Paths and are sometimes confused with Paths. Over the years, Lanes were sometimes vacated and merged with adjoining lots, but apparently this has not been done for decades. However, there are still approximately two dozen homes in PVE that have totally taken over some unpaved Lanes, but are not actually owned by these homes. This makes the possibility of merging lanes into adjoining lots still applicable today.  
  3. Squares.  In the middle of a block off of a Lane there can be a "Square," intended for open public parking to service what were once adjoining apartment or commercial lots, which were developed for single family homes instead.  There are five vacant Squares in the Lunada Bay area of PVE and all about one quarter of an acre, except for one that is twice as large. These parcels are flat, vacant and normally contain just weeds and tall grasses that need to be cleared annually. An example of an alternate use for these Squares may be as a nursery for the City and/or a community gardens for local residents, especially those who live in condominiums or apartments and do not have yards of their own.  
  4. Paths. Please see this page dedicated to these 20' wide strips of R/W between lots, which are used for shortcuts and/or that often provide access to Parklands. Paths in PVE were believed to be developed as an alternative to sidewalks as well as to provide access to Parklands. By omitting sidewalks in most of PVE, it allows for a more rural and less urban character, besides reducing the significant costs associated with sidewalks.
  5. Medians (between divided streets). There are three median strips in PVE that are R/W. They include 1) PV Dr. North, 2) PV Dr. West and 3) Paseo Lunado (between Via Anacapa and Via Rivera). The first two medians contain trails comprised of decomposed granite (DG); the other is grass with a concrete sidewalk along one edge. The first two Medians have some of the widest, longest and best maintained trails in PVE, with a total length of about 4 miles. These Medians contain nearly 20% of all of the City's trails. They are not considered "pathways" because they are defined, wider and a great deal longer than pathways and  are simply not on a Path. Please note the median on Paseo La Cresta appears to be Parkland (not R/W), and is improved with an asphalt walkway or trail.
  6. Surplus R/W (unimproved). When PVE was designed some R/W designated for streets, but they were never built. Some areas where these vacant R/W parcels still remain are around Via Rosa and Via Del Puente in Malaga Cove and Via Victoria and Paseo Lunado in Lunada Bay. Since they are adjacent to Parklands and look the same, these parcels are often mistakenly considered to be Parklands. (Related to this Surplus R/W, but usually considered to be Parklands, are former areas that were planned for use as trolley / light rail lines and a couple feeder lines called "strips." An alternate use for this land, which is also adjacent to Parklands, was apparently as bridle trails during the early years of PVE - from the 1920's into the 1960s and even later. But equestrian use on these areas, and elsewhere on most Parklands in PVE except for Valmonte Canyon, has largely been abandoned over the past few decades.)
  7.  Improved Street (Road) R/W that is paved and includes curbs, are the most common type of R/W. This R/W is used primarily for vehicles, but is also shared by bikers and pedestrians, and is the most widely used type of R/W in PVE.  However, people are often unaware that R/W extends beyond the street and curb, including what is known as the Parkway (see above).  This allows a street or road to be widened and/ or for sidewalks or walkways to be added. In contrast to Street R/W for use by vehicles, the other types of R/W noted above typically excludes the use of motorized vehicles (except sometimes for infrequent maintenance or utility vehicles.)  In PVE, some street R/W is  excessively wide, and includes Parkways extending 25 to 50 feet on each side beyond the paved width of the street, such along Paseo Del Mar. Apparently, this additional width was provided to accommodate bridle trails abandoned, or trolley lines and/or sidewalks that were never built. 


Right-of-way (R/W) is the land on which a street, alley, lane or sidewalk is often built for the use of vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic.

R/W is usually not limited to the edge of a street or curb (also called a carriage way), but can extend several feet or more before it reaches a property line. A PVE memo that explains R/W questions can be found here.

There are seven different types of R/W in Palos Verdes Estates (PVE) as mentioned below.

  1.  Parkways (Areas between the curb and a property line, occasionally including sidewalks.)
  2.  Lanes (or Alleys), include both those that are; a) active (paved) and b) passive (dirt utility roads/pathways).
  3.  Squares (Vacant Lots off of Lanes in the middle of a block & between streets.)
  4.  Paths (Are 20' wide strips of land between lots.)
  5.  Medians (Strips of land between streets.)
  6.  Surplus Right-of Way or R/W (Abandoned areas for streets, often adjacent to Parkland.)
  7.  And of course, improved Street R/W's that are paved with curbs and used by vehicles as well as bikes and pedestrians.