Resident Gives City Some Short-Term Suggestions
With only three roads in and out of Pacific Palisades (Temescal, Sunset and Chautauqua), local residents are continually frustrated when traffic backs up at Chautauqua and Pacific Coast Highway because of the intersection’s engineering.
Three lanes of West Channel Road dead end at PCH. Two are designated for right turns onto PCH, and the third lane (closest to the hillside) is a right-turn-only lane onto Chautauqua.
Drivers on Channel who want to enter PCH but are unfamiliar with this intersection sometimes find themselves in the far-right third lane, which leads uphill into the Palisades. Waiting at the signal, they refuse to turn up Chautauqua and instead put on a left-turn blinker and block the traffic in their lane.
On June 27 at the Community Council meeting, several audience members asked Councilman Mike Bonin if his office could somehow improve that intersection with better signage.
Bonin’s Field Deputy Lisa Cahill wrote a July 24 follow-up report to the PPCC regarding “Potential redesign of Chautauqua and PCH intersection.” She noted that “much of this is a state/Caltrans issue. The city has done a great deal on our end to improve the intersection. The Councilmember has asked that his Transportation Deputy, Eric Bruins, put together a task force to help ensure that these other agencies work together to find solutions.”
It didn’t take a task force to come up with a common-sense short-term solution, suggested by Palisadian Kathryn Waltzer.
Waltzer, who says she uses Chautauqua 200 times or more a year, wrote to Cahill: “I’m sure you’re aware of the right-turn-only lane misuse that locals must endure day in and day out here in the canyon. I’ve been studying the signage and I’ve come up with a plan.”
Waltzer noticed the signs facing westbound drivers on Channel Road are not placed in an optimal location. “Move the bigger three-directional sign to the east side of the apartment door and bougainvillea (which hides the sign). Then, the read-at-glance dedicated right-turn only sign will become visible to many more drivers (it is currently hidden behind the bigger sign).”
She pointed out that the only other dedicated right-turn sign is between Café Delfini and East Rustic, which seems too far back from PCH to be effective, and she thought it would make more sense to reposition that sign.
Circling the News thought that Waltzer had found a good short-term solution and sent the ideas and photos to PPCC Chair George Wolfberg and Vice Chair David Card.
Card forwarded the recommendation to council member Patti Post, the group’s appointed transportation chair. “Maybe share this suggestion with the PCH Task Force and Councilman Bonin’s office,” Card wrote. “George says that he heard that Bonin and Eric Bruins are working on a plan for the intersection.”
Bruins, Bonin’s transportation chair, e-mailed Waltzer on September 13 and cc’d the PPCC executive board members.
“We will relay them (the suggestions) to the appropriate individuals at Caltrans and LADOT for their consideration. Our intent, which we communicated to Caltrans and LADOT, is that basic signage and striping maintenance and/or improvements be made in the immediately near term while we are still undergoing planning for longer term activities. These are definitely in the short-term bucket.”
CTN contacted Bruins on September 18 and asked if in addition to moving the signs on Channel, the letters PCH could be painted on the roadway by the white turn arrows and if in the third lane Chautauqua could be painted on the pavement.
Bruins responded the same day by email. “These ideas are all under consideration,” he said. “There has historically been hesitation to paint wayfinding markings on the pavement due to concerns about maintenance. We were able to overcome those concerns with the recent Highway 1 decal on Chautauqua. That installation is a pilot and we are looking for feedback from the community about how it can be improved.”