Signage Change Is Needed at Chautauqua and PCH

Resident Katherine Waltzer suggested a short term fix for the corner at PCH and Chautauqua by improving sign placement. Circling the News also wondered if “PCH Only” or “Chautauqua Only” could also be written on the road by the arrows.

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.”

A resident suggested moving the signage so that motorists would have more time to make the correct lane decision.

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6 Responses to Signage Change Is Needed at Chautauqua and PCH

  1. Britt says:

    AND (!!) what about drivers coming down Chautauqua, in the left lane, that go straight onto PCH instead of making the left onto Channel ?!!

    That happens CONSTANTLY !!

    That entire intesection is a clusterF !!

  2. Hagop Tchakerian says:

    The access roads to the Palisades were laid out during the horse and buggy days and with limited population. There are two solutions for the traffic problem, limit/reduce population growth or widen/narrow the roads.

    Take the properties by eminent domain to widen the streets. This will ease the traffic and will also reduce the population of the Palisades.

    To pay for the widening of the roads, increase the property taxes. This will also reduce the population of the Palisades and eliminate traffic problems.

    Another simple solution, the residents that complain about the traffic can relocate to other coastal cities. To facilitate this , I suggest Mike Benin to make Sunset and PCH into a single lane.

  3. Gisela Moriarty says:

    An excellent summary of the serious problems at this intersection, with well-thought-out ways to address them, thanks to Kathryn Waltzer. I would add : RIGHT LANE MUST TURN RIGHT to the Chautauqua lane signage, as close as possible to the permitted split. CHAUTAUQUA BOULEVARD ONLY doesn’t seem to do the trick.

  4. Ryan says:

    Also, there are regularly (read: just about every day) cars parked in the spaces designated no stopping during rush hour (4-7pm) closest to PCH. The result of this is that the lane to turn up Chautauqua is truncated and access is blocked by cars waiting to turn onto PCH.

    Considering how aggressively parking restrictions are enforced just about everywhere else, I’m amazed that the city doesn’t take this revenue opportunity and ticket here where it actually has a negative effect on people.

  5. Susan says:

    Gisela’s suggestion is excellent!

  6. Paula H Deats says:

    Yes, now THERE is an intersection that could use a camera! My (decades-long) beef is with people who use the sharp U-turn lane (onto Channel) in order to scoot down and “cut the line”, pushing in to the right-turn lane at the last minute, in front of drivers who have idled through 2 and sometimes 3 lights in the long line snaking down Chataqua. These are not “lost tourists”, they are usually residents – whose time, as we know, is simply more important than others’ time.

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