• Actions Speak Louder •
The News’ call for action on Pacific Coast Highway has been joined in the last week by a community chorus that includes members of the Malibu City Council at their recent meeting and residents throughout the community, who are either considering organizing citizen groups, or vowing to make their concerns public at the city, county and state levels of government through letters to the editor or their personal connections with elected officials.
This chorus of public concern, singing at its loudest, is what it will take to push aside bureaucratic tendencies toward inaction and ensure that PCH, a state highway, gets the kind of enforcement oversight that a road traveled by thousands of local residents, out-of-area commuters and recreational visitors requires if the road is not going to become a proverbial trail of tears known for its deaths and injuries.
When the bean counters start talking about budgets, and statisticians want to debate the death toll versus that of other roadways, Malibuites have to be prepared to shout them down. Government perpetuates the status quo whenever possible, but upending the status quo is the only way public safety on PCH can be improved, and the speeding, the driving while impaired and the ubiquitous cell phone use and other distractions can be brought under control.
A current member of the city council has just opened lines of communication with the state Department of Transportation. Caltrans maintains a closed-door policy whenever possible, but Caltrans officials have said that they are ready to meet with city representatives because they appreciate that PCH safety is to their advantage. They know the attributes of the highway that make it dangerous.
Malibu’s two state representatives also have been reluctant in the past to tackle PCH concerns, especially with regard to bringing back the California Highway Patrol for traffic control, but both now show new appreciation for the depth of constituent insistence on renewing a discussion of options. The recent deaths of local caregivers, a visitor and a thirteen-year-old full of promise can’t be ignored.
Residents who want to climb aboard the PCH safety bandwagon can check out the new citizens group that is just getting started. Write letters to the editor. Speak at city council meetings and other public forums. Encourage elected and appointed officials to make PCH safety a top priority on every public policy agenda.