Open spaces in PVE consist of bothParklands and certain Right-of-Way (R/W), particularly Paths. An interesting aspect of the Parkland parcels is that, except for occasionally being bisected by a two lane street, they often are contiguous forming "Green Belts" throughout the city. Besides providing pleasing rural aesthetics, these Open Spaces also provide a unique trail system.
THE OLMSTED TRAIL SYSTEM
This trail system consists of trails on the Parklands and pathways &/or stairs on the Paths, which often lead to the Parklands. It was designed to allow residents to walk to and from schools, churches, the commercial plazas, recreational facilities (called concessions), the ocean, their friends or to simply get some fresh air and exercise in a somewhat rural and natural environment. In PVE's early years, the combined bridle and pedestrian trails traversed the noted green belts from one end of PVE to another, and even down to the ocean. However, as PVE developed rapidly during the decades after WWII, many residents objected to having horses on the trails. As a result, bridle trails in the city are now limited to Valmonte Canyon and the Median of Palos Verdes Drive North. But these trails and the PV Stables still connect to an extensive system of other bridle trails throughout other communities on the Peninsula (e.g. Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills and Rancho Palos Verdes).
In addition, around the time that equestrians were no longer able to use most of the trails, (non-motorized) mountain bikers also began to use the trials along with pedestrians. All trails in PVE are presently mixed use pedestrian and bike trails.
Another change with the trails in PVE is that some were widened and became fire trails. Particularly as the thousands of trees that Olmsted planted in the 1920's grew, and a great many more homes were developed, these fire trails were considered to be necessary. There are several fire trails in PVE today and they are some of the most popular and commonly used trails. Other popular trails are the Palos Verdes Drive N. & W median trails (situated on R/W), which are decomposed granite (DG), as well as the North Entry and Paseo La Cresta trails (both on Parklands), which are asphalt. However, the shorter trails in PVE are foot (and bicycle) worn on dirt.
A unique aspect of the trail system is that there are 80 sections of Paths that were designed to not only provide short cuts between streets and help eliminate the need for sidewalks, but to also link to the trails on Parklands. Unfortunately, as explained in another section on Paths, most of these are inaccessible due to either encroachments or overgrowth. This has been ongoing for decades and was recognized by the Parklands Committee in 1995. At the request of the City Council, they helped conduct a complete inventory of this right-of-way along with the City Forester at that time, and made recommendations to open up certain Paths and Lanes to improve the linkage of the trail system. It's unclear what, if any, actions the City Council made on these recommendations. However, all but one of these Paths and Lanes are still inaccessible today.
The Open Spaces and Olmsted Trails System in PVE is very different from most other communities, especially those in the Los Angeles area, which have far less open space per person. What is truly unique is that this Open Space is so readily accessible to most homes in the city. However, this has also created certain challenges and the trails and open spaces have long been neglected. Some of the PVE Trails Group objectives is to make residents more aware of these special assets, encourage restoration of both the Parklands, better maintain important trails and Paths and to also help resolve the problems with which they are associated.