Circling the News has received a copy of a letter that was sent in March to Councilman Mike Bonin, asking for help with the intersection of West Channel Road, Chautauqua and Pacific Coast Highway.
Bonin has never responded to the letter, so CTN promised to work for a reply.
The reader had written: “Perhaps you are not fully aware of the increasingly dangerous traffic situation from the left-hand turns of cars traveling southbound off Chautauqua onto Entrada or on to Pacific Coast Highway.
“Over the many years that I have lived in the Palisades, with the increase of traffic into [and out of] our neighborhood, many people are not aware that the left-lane is meant ONLY for turning onto Entrada Drive and the right lane is ONLY for turning left or right onto PCH. The signage for this intersection is completely inadequate.”
The reader told Bonin there are also drivers who know the traffic pattern but choose to stay in the left lane (that is supposed to turn onto Entrada), and at the last minute merge onto PCH, thereby saving a long wait (close to five minutes) for the next green light. This causes a hazardous merge with cars coming from the right lane of Chautauqua.
The reader wrote: “I was recently turning onto PCH when a young lady, clearly very confused, drove straight into oncoming PCH traffic and had to back up to get into the correct lane going southbound on PCH. She looked terrified. How many times must these ‘almost’ catastrophic accidents happen before this intersection is properly signed?”
The reader suggested signage on a high pole that arcs across Chautauqua on the right side of the roadway that only has landscape material—”It would be VERY VISIBLE.”
Another easy fix is to paint a left-turn-only arrow in the left lane of the road. Additionally, the last 25 feet of Chautauqua could have lane dividers between the left and right lanes, which would be a deterrent for people trying to cut in line.
She concluded the letter with a plea: “Please Sir, this is a serious problem for all of us and it is getting exponentially worse. It will be greatly appreciated if you take the time to observe this intersection and have a study done ASAP before someone loses their life or limb at this intersection.”
Bonin’s Transportation Policy Director Eric Bruins responded to CTN in a December 10 email: “Our office has been working on improvements to the complex intersection of PCH/Chautauqua/Channel/Entrada for years. We have redone lane markings, adjusted signage, piloted new pavement stencils, and explored additional ideas that have proven infeasible.
“While PCH/Chautauqua has received a lot of attention, that attention has resulted in piecemeal solutions. Better signage and striping are needed, not just more signage and striping. Not satisfied with the results so far, Councilmember Bonin escalated the issue to the attention of the Caltrans District 7 Director in a letter on September 5, 2019, requesting that Caltrans and LADOT form a task force to develop additional ideas for improvements and evaluate ideas submitted by constituents.
“Caltrans responded on September 26, 2019, with a commitment to work with the City to address immediate maintenance needs and evaluate more comprehensive solutions. Since that letter, Caltrans and LADOT representatives have convened twice and ideas resulting from these meetings are currently undergoing technical review to ensure feasibility.
“Our office anticipates reviewing these recommendations with community stakeholders in early 2020. The task force is taking the approach of starting at the intersection and working out to make the whole navigation experience clearer and more consistent. Since intersection operations and lane assignments are under Caltrans’ purview, City improvements on the approaches to the intersection also require collaboration with Caltrans and must comply with Caltrans design standards.
“On behalf of our office, Lisa [Cahill, Bonin’s field deputy] and I have been communicating with constituents and receiving suggestions for this intersection,” Bruins said.