Citizens Public Safety Committee Explores PCH Speed Limits and Fiscal Constraints
• Stricter Enforcement Seen as Major Component
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
At its Monday meeting, members of A Safer PCH continued to discuss potential ways of decreasing the speed limit on PCH and increasing law enforcement presence to augment the current allotment of four sheriff’s department black-and-whites and one motorcycle officer.
Suggestions ranged from purchasing additional “dum-my” black-and-white units to place in high speed areas of PCH, to forming a committee and approaching the County of Los Angeles to negotiate for a larger share of tax money for law enforcement. “We only get seven percent back,” recent city council candidate Steve Scheinkman told the group. Most cities [in the county] get 14-15 percent back. Calabasas gets nine percent. Someone else is getting our money and we have a state highway to patrol.”
“The Beach Team goes on patrol in May,” Lost Hill’s Sheriff’s Station deputy Derek Alfred told the group, “That will put more men on the street.”
Newly elected city council member Laura Rosenthal suggested that the community could work with the county and Caltrans to improve signage at Zuma. “The county could do a better job,” she said, suggesting signs that would clearly indicate the distance to legal U-turn access.
Sergeant Jim Castro, who also attended the meeting, agreed that enforcement is key. “Every time you speed, every time you talk on the phone, you should know that there is a really good likelihood that you will get caught,” he said. He explained that the “hands free” law applies to cars stopped at traffic lights, as well as vehicles in motion. “It’s a $140 fine for a first offense, and goes up $50 for each additional offense,” he said.
“Lights are key to getting through Malibu,” Longtime Malibu resident Jackie Sutton said. “I know there could be better timing.”
“The problem is the guy speeding is leading the pack and we can’t catch them,” Castro said, concurring. He added that it can be difficult for a ticket to stick, unless the driver is exceeding the speed limit by 11 or more miles. “We have to show the judge that it’s a safety issue,” he said.
“If you really drive the speed limit, everyone will slow down behind you,” Susan Saul said. “We need to be the example.” Saul, one of the organizers of ASPCH, brought the group’s message to the city council that evening, inviting the community to join the PCH safety campaign.
Other ideas discussed on Monday morning included placing more speed indicator signs on the highway and a new bumper sticker campaign reminding drivers to slow down.
Malibu resident and education activist Laureen Sills told the group that her daughter has suggested placing angels along the highway at all the places fatalities have taken place. That suggestion did not go over well with safety commissioner Carol Randall, who lost a family member in front of her home and indicated that it is difficult to live with the memory without a visual reminder. Others raised concerns that markers might distract drivers. “We would need so many of them,” one participant said.
ASPCH plans to continue meeting every Monday morning at 10 a.m. at the Smoller residence, 6269 Frondosa Drive, in Malibu West. Meetings are open to the community and all interested residents are invited to participate.