PCH SAFETY crisis updates and information
SEE THE FACT SHEET OF ACTIONS IN RECENT YEARS THAT THE CITY HAS TAKEN TO IMPROVE SAFETY ON PCH
STREET WORK GETS UNDERWAY PCH ON PCH TRAFFIC SIGNAL SYNCHRONIZATION PROJECT, THE CITY'S MOST SIGNIFICANT EFFORT TO DATE TO IMPROVE SAFETY ON PCH
12/4/2023 - Street work gets underway this week on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) starting between Topanga Canyon and Big Rock Drive in Malibu the week of December 4 on Malibu’s Traffic Signal Synchronization Project, the City’s most significant measure to date to improve safety and mobility on PCH. The project will make PCH a safer "Smart Corridor" by installing communication lines between the existing traffic signals on PCH from Topanga Canyon Boulevard to John Tyler Drive to synchronize the signals to existing traffic conditions. It will allow signals to be controlled remotely by the Caltrans Traffic Management Center to lower traffic speeds and reduce congestion. See details about the project.
CITY CONTRACT TO BRING BACK CHP PATROLS TO PCH IN MALIBU
11/27/2023 - City Manager Steve McClary gave an update to the City Council on November 27 about the short-term contract he signed with the CHP to immediately provide interim patrols of PCH in Malibu in order to improve safety on PCH. The CHP is already out patrolling PCH in Malibu. There have been no regular CHP patrols in Malibu since the City was incorporated in 1991. The move is in response to the increasingly dangerous conditions on PCH in recent years, culminating in the tragic deaths of four Pepperdine students who were struck by a speeding driver while walking along PCH on October 17. The City Council declared a local emergency to address PCH safety on November 13, giving the City Manager the ability to quickly approve the short-term contract. The short-term contract is to pay for patrols on an overtime basis, so officers must volunteer to cover shifts. The LA County Sheriff’s Department and the CHP will work together to ensure the additional patrols are during the days and times when they are most needed. Meanwhile, the City is working on the long-term contract for permanent CHP patrols, which is expected to go into effect in January 2024.
ACTIONS & UPDATES FROM PCH TASKFORCE MEETING TO ADDRESS PCH SAFETY, NOVEMBER 14 AT CITY HALL
11/13/2023 The City of Malibu hosted a special public meeting of the PCH Taskforce with City, County and State elected officials, Caltrans and the LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) to discuss efforts to make PCH safer, on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at City Hall. Watch video of the meeting.
State Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, State Senator Ben Allen, LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, Malibu Mayor Steve Uhring, Malibu City Manager Steve McClary, Public Safety Commission Chair Christ Frost, Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff's Station Captain Jennifer Seetoo and Caltrans District leadership participated.
Nearly 100 community members attended and participated in the discussion, including David Rolston, father of Niamh Rolston, and Barry Stewart, whose daughter Peyton Stewart were two of the four Pepperdine students who were tragically killed by a speeding motorist while walking along PCH Octobe 17, and Michel Shane, whose daughter Emily Shane was killed while walking on PCH in 2010. The meeting was covered by numerous newspaper, TV and radio news organizations.
The PCH Taskforce is a coalition of law enforcement, traffic engineers, Caltrans, and local and state elected officials that work to find solutions to make PCH safer for all users, from the McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica to the Ventura County line.
All of the parties gave updates on their efforts, including lowering speed limits, increasing traffic enforcement, getting speed cameras, increasing funding, and various traffic safety and engineering projects.
Supervisor Horvath is working on permanent enhanced traffic safety enforcement from the Sheriff's Department on PCH to ensure that we can sustain Capt. Seetoo’s current enhanced enforcement.
Senator Allen and Assemblymember Irwin will be co-authoring a bill to allow photo speed cameras on PCH in Malibu.
City Manager McClary announced that the City and CHP are currently working on a contract to bring back CHP patrols to PCH in Malibu in early 2024. The City has begun working on getting PCH in Malibu designated a Public Safety Corridor. The City is funding overtime for an additional Officer per shift.
Captain Seetoo has already begun enhanced traffic safety enforcement and additional patrols on PCH in Malibu.
The City thanks Assemblymember Irwin, Senator Allen, County Supervisor Horvath and the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station for their participation, and their ongoing hard work and attention to make PCH safer. Community members are urged to continue to contact their local elected officials to voice their support for ongoing efforts to improve PCH safety in Malibu.
PCH safety has always been a top priority for the City, as PCH is a major state highway, controlled by Caltrans, that runs through the entire length of the City, and is Malibu’s main street with hundreds of homes within feet of the highway. Conditions on PCH have become increasingly dangerous in recent years, with dozens of pedestrian, cyclist and motorist fatalities and injuries, culminating in the deaths of Pepperdine students Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams on October 17. The City Council approved declaring a local state of emergency to address the PCH safety crisis on November 13.
The City will be posting any progress, meetings or events related to the efforts to make PCH safer on the website and social media.
Watch video of the meeting.
See the City Manager’s presentation.
See Captain Seetoo’s presentation.
See the factsheet on what the City has done to improve PCH safety in recent years.
See the PCH Safety Study webpage (including background information and a link to the actual final Study).
CITY DECLARES LOCAL EMERGENCY TO ADDRESS PCH SAFETY
11/13/2023 - The Malibu City Council declared a Local Emergency on Nov. 13, 2023 aimed at addressing the risks to public safety of dangerous, illegal, reckless, and/or distracted driving on Pacific Coast Highway in the City. The action was in response to the increasingly hazardous conditions on PCH in City limits in recent years, which have become a public safety threat for residents, visitors, motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists who use PCH and live, work and recreate on PCH. The PCH safety crisis culminated in the tragic deaths of four Pepperdine students who were struck by a speeding motorist while walking along PCH on October 17. Video of the Council's discussion is available to view at https://www.youtube.com/live/P29AX2DPZjg?si=HHhMnW53gRRaaXrl&;;t=10988. (Clip starts at 3:03:08)
CITY STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO QUADRUPLE PEDESTRIAN FATALITY ON PCH OCTOBER 17, 2023
The City of Malibu is committed to doing everything possible to improve safety on our 21 miles of PCH, which has long been a top priority for the community. The City was shocked and saddened by the loss of the four Pepperdine University students on October 17. Our hearts are with all of those who have been impacted by this tragedy. While the City does not control PCH, since its incorporation, Malibu has worked closely with Caltrans, the LA County Sheriff’s Department and our other partner agencies to find ways to make PCH safer for residents, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. We will continue to push for resources to achieve a higher level of safety for our community. The City has steadfastly taken steps to enhance safety on PCH, and will continue to do so, including these projects and programs:
CITY-FUNDED TRAFFIC SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS ON PCH
To date, the City has allocated and spent approximately $39 million dollars on traffic safety improvement projects on PCH, including:
- PCH Bike Route along Zuma Beach
- PCH and Kanan Dume Arrestor Bed - The project was built to stop runaway vehicles from crashing into PCH.
- La Costa pedestrian crosswalk signal
- PCH and Big Rock traffic signal improvements
- PCH traffic signal synchronization project
- PCH median improvements project
- PCH Las Flores and Rambla Pacifico intersection improvements
- PCH and Trancas Canyon Road intersection improvements
The City currently has $8 million of funds obligated towards future PCH safety improvement projects, including:
- PCH median improvements near Paradise Cove and Zuma Beach
- Traffic safety improvements at PCH and Big Rock Drive
- Pedestrian undercrossing at Corral Canyon Beach (by Malibu Seafood)
PCH TRAFFIC SIGNAL SYNCHRONIZATION PROJECT
- Work started in summer 2023 on the City’s most significant measure to date to improve traffic safety and mobility on PCH. Completion expected in 2025.
- Communications lines will be installed between traffic signals on PCH from Topanga Canyon Blvd to John Tyler Drive to synchronize them to existing traffic conditions, and they will be controlled by the Caltrans Traffic Management Center.
- According to CalTrans, during the past 10 years, there have been more than 4,000 collisions on PCH in Malibu. Speeding and improper turns are the most common contributing factors to collisions, both of which will be directly addressed by the Signal Synchronization Project. The system can also be used to help emergency evacuations move quickly and safely. The $34.6 million project is fully funded through County Measure R transportation funds.
PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING, COLLABORATION WITH PARTNER AGENCIES AND LEGISLATION
PCH is a state highway under the jurisdiction of Caltrans, so the City has very limited ability to make changes to PCH. However, the City does as much as possible to improve safety on PCH within its ability.
- The City dedicates 28.2% of the General Fund, $16.4 million, toward public safety, of which $15 million goes toward our contract with the LA County Sheriff’s Department. The City puts additional funds every year for the Sheriff’s Department to do saturation patrols every weekend.
- Sheriff’s Volunteers on Patrol Program. The City funds the program, including their patrol vehicles – they patrol and report incidents to the Sheriff’s Dept, direct traffic after collisions, offer aid to motorist who have been in collisions and more.
- Sheriff’s Summer Beach Team. The city also funds the Beach Team every summer, which patrols Malibu’s beaches, focusing largely on alcohol consumption on the beach, which is illegal. Their work helps prevent drunk driving on PCH, and last summer they issued more than 1,000 alcohol citations.
- Automated License Plate Readers. The city started installing these tools in 2023 to offer an additional enforcement tool for Sheriff’s Department to address theft, property crimes, and other public safety and crime issues in Malibu by helping to identify suspects in fleeing vehicles, stolen vehicles, suspects with outstanding warrants, etc. The cameras are solar-powered and have backup batteries, can operate day or night, and during a variety of weather conditions.
- PCH Taskforce. For nearly two decades, the City has participated in this active coalition of community representatives, pedestrian and bicycle advocates, law enforcement, city and traffic engineers, Caltrans, and local and state elected officials. Includes cities of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Malibu and unincorporated Los Angeles County. Collaborating and advocating for traffic safety funding, studies, etc.
- The PCH Taskforce Safety Corridor grant. The grant was awarded to the City on behalf of the PCH Taskforce, funded the purchase changeable message signs for posting traffic safety and emergency messages, three pedestrian and bicycle safety assessments and training events, and educational outreach aimed at all users of the highway, including the PCH Safety Video PSA.
- PCH Safety Study (2015). The study, in collaboration with SCAG, examined road conditions, accident patterns, and proposes strategies to improve safety on PCH in Malibu. The study recommended safety improvements for motorists, cyclists, transit riders and pedestrians. It was funded by a Caltrans Partnership Planning Grant, with a contribution from the City.
- Overnight parking restrictions of RVs and oversized vehicles. The City restricted overnight parking of oversized vehicles on multiple sections of PCH. RVs and oversized vehicles jut out into lanes, reducing visibility, forcing traffic over into the middle of the road more, making it hazardous for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.