When movie producer Michel Shane (Catch Me if You Can and I, Robert), did his 58-minute documentary 21 Miles in Malibu, he noted that in 2016, there were 617 traffic collisions along Pacific Coast Highway between McClure Tunnel and the northernmost city limit of Malibu: that number is consistent from year to year.
The roadway, which is under Caltrans control, starts in Santa Monica, goes through Los Angeles, then Los Angeles County before traveling through Malibu. That road is a jurisdictional nightmare as far as accident reports and traffic enforcement.
When four Pepperdine students, pedestrians, were killed in October, the road came under national scrutiny.
L.A. City Councilwoman Traci Park met with California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin, CalTrans officials, California Highway Patrol (CHP), and leaders from the Cities of Malibu and Santa Monica on December 18 to discuss PCH traffic safety.
According to Omishakin, safety improvements on PCH in Malibu is his top priority, and about 30 planned improvements were announced, which included pavement markings speed feedback signage.
“Some of the speed limit signs are a little far away from the roadway and you can’t see them too visibly,” the transportation secretary told KTLA 5. “So, we’re going to actually put the speed limit…we’re going to put pavement markings in the roadway.”
Fines and penalties for speed and traffic violations in the designated speed-safety corridor will be increased.
Three additional CHP officers will be assigned to Malibu, to aid L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and those patrols began January 1
In a significant move to address immediate concerns, $4.25 million dollars have been allocated under a Caltrans “Director’s Order” for infrastructure improvements along PCH. This funding will support projects to enhance safety and prevent further tragedies.
Quarterly, a PCH task force, consisting of the players, which was initially formed by then State Senator Sheila Kuhl meets to address concern.
In 2017, the County of Los Angeles and PCH Taskforce Co-Chairs Bloom, state Senator Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach) and state Senator Henry Stern (D-Agoura Hills), announced that they secured a $150,000 safety corridor grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in order to improve safety on Pacific Coast Highway/CA-1.
The grant funded three pedestrian and bicycle safety assessments, a PSA “PCH Group Therapy” and an educational component. But still every meeting of the task force in the past six years has included more carnage along the roadway.
In a statement after the meeting, Park said, “State and local officials are also fully committed to advancing legislation to deploy speed cameras along the PCH corridor, and I am personally dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to promote safety and protect lives.
“I adjourned our meeting with a heavy heart in remembrance of Pepperdine students Niamh Rolston, Peyton Steward, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams,” Park said.
In speaking with this editor, Park asked about other Palisade/PCH concerns This editor explained the traffic tie-ups at Temescal Canyon Road and PCH during early morning and afternoons because motorists are not allowed by Caltrans to use the third lane as a left-turn lane.
This editor also mentioned the concern about people who camp along PCH, which poses environmental and safety hazards, in spite of posted No-Parking signs.