After the horrific Oct. 17 crash on Pacific Coast Freeway that killed 4 Pepperdine college students, the Malibu group pleaded with its Metropolis Council to do extra to cease dashing drivers whose recklessness usually ends in accidents and fatalities.
Town’s newest effort to enhance security on the scenic however perilous 21-mile stretch of PCH is so as to add a devoted process pressure to patrol the roadway over the subsequent yr and a half.
In January, the Metropolis Council authorized a contract with the California Freeway Patrol to ascertain the three-officer unit to patrol Pacific Coast Freeway inside metropolis limits. The contract will expire in June 2025.
Lethal crashes have plagued Malibu for many years. A Instances evaluation after the October crash discovered there have been 170 deaths and severe accidents to drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians between 2011 and 2023.
PCH is a state freeway, so it falls below Caltrans jurisdiction, which limits the modifications the town could make to the roadway. However within the final three months, Caltrans has begun building on a brand new visitors sign synchronization venture that enables the company to remotely management visitors alerts on the freeway, synchronize their timing and modify them to decrease visitors speeds and scale back congestion.
In November, the Malibu Metropolis Council declared a neighborhood emergency, which allowed the town supervisor to rapidly approve a short-term contract with the CHP to right away bolster patrols. These patrols are ending this month, simply because the longer-term process pressure kicks in.
There are nonetheless tasks within the pipeline. A $4.2-million Caltrans contract authorized by the state in December will permit the company to ascertain velocity suggestions indicators and velocity restrict markings on pavement, change security hall indicators and improve striping on curves.
The California Freeway Patrol stopped patrolling PCH in Malibu in 1991 when the town integrated, and Malibu contracted for regulation enforcement with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division. Now, the extra patrols are welcomed by metropolis officers and regulation enforcement at a time when many locally really feel at their wits’ finish.
“We’re at all times pleased to have extra enforcement, particularly when now we have individuals dying on our streets,” mentioned Jennifer Seetoo, captain of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Division’s Malibu/Misplaced Hills station.
Seetoo instructed The Instances on Tuesday that she believes the “three E’s, and that’s enforcement, schooling and engineering,” are wanted to make the freeway protected.
The brand new CHP process pressure is a vital facet of enforcement, Seetoo mentioned, however she needs velocity cameras, too.
In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into regulation a velocity digital camera pilot program, however Malibu wasn’t among the many cities the place cameras can be put in. State Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), nevertheless, are engaged on laws to get the cameras in Malibu, Seetoo mentioned.
In the meantime, visitors security on PCH continues to be high of thoughts for residents and high of the agenda for council members.
At the latest Metropolis Council assembly, residents who spoke mentioned spreading consciousness is important in defending the neighborhood.
“If this can be a conflict on recklessness,” mentioned one commenter, “we have to be concentrating on hearts and minds.”
Some advised posting indicators: “This place is value going gradual,” “Decelerate, you’re already right here,” “Locals can inform you’re a vacationer by your dashing.”
Solely Caltrans-approved indicators could be hooked up to energy poles, nevertheless. Councilmember Paul Grisanti advised that companies and householders alongside the freeway permit giant indicators to be posted on their buildings to snag individuals’s consideration.
One other commenter proposed that 4 volunteer motorists put indicators on the backs of their automobiles emphasizing the velocity restrict after which drive facet by facet on all sides of the freeway.
The group’s ardour on the subject is obvious.
And, Seetoo instructed The Instances, residents are cautiously optimistic.
After the dying of 13-year-old Emily Shane — who was struck by a dashing driver as she walked alongside PCH in 2010 — “the group rallied and needed change,” Seetoo mentioned. “And nothing occurred, and I really feel like that is the primary time that issues are literally occurring.”
Instances employees author Terry Castleman contributed to this report.