We love living in Malibu, but as most residents hate commuting, especially on the accident prone Pacific Coast Highway. It is the bane of the city, as I declare in my latest commentary, on 97.5 KBU FM, radiomalibu.net, and cityobserved.com.
And whatever constraints we might impose on questionable commercial development to discourage traffic on the PCH, it can be expected to get worse.
On a more personal note, the isolation is particularly vexing considering the frustration driving just to spend some time in a burgeoning Santa Monica, or in an increasingly engaging downtown L.A. And add to that the headache of parking.
With the crazed traffic situation almost everywhere in mind, it is interesting to note that as a service to its residents West Hollywood is launching a free, peak-hour bus shuttle linking select stops in its city to the expanding Metro rail service.
Meanwhile, also soon to be launched this Spring is Phase 2 of the Expo Line extending light rail service from the current terminus in Culver City to Santa Monica, with 7 new stations serving the Westside. The result will be to put downtown Los Angeles 46 minute away from downtown Santa Monica.
Nice, if you happen to live in easy walking distance to a station. Not nice if you happen to live miles away, like in Malibu.
Residents there wanting to take the train will still have to drive to Santa Monica on the dreaded PCH, and then search for a parking space near the Expo station.
But no new parking is planned at the Expo terminus at 4th and Colorado, and only a ridiculous few 70 spaces available at the 17th Street station.
Yes, there is the lumbering 534 bus, though it is notoriously slow and makes many stops.
Perhaps if the service could be better organized –lets call it the 534X- to offer express buses at convenient times to and from the Expo terminus to select stops in the Bu, say Trancas, the Point, and the Civic Center, where commuter parking could be provided.
Certainly this it would be an incentive not to drive the PCH, especially for venues downtown.
A variation to get into Santa Monica with a minimum of driving and the headache of parking would be to offer commuter parking weekdays at, say, Will Rogers Beach, and provide a shuttle to the rail terminus.
As an added incentive. the service could be free, as in West Hollywood, or charge a nominal amount, say $1, with extended hours to serve the returning late night crowds.
A shuttle service featuring something akin to a jitney buses could be particularly attractive, and could be decorated to be very Malibu.
Such a service if managed with common sense and civility , I feel, has the potential of reducing traffic on the PCH and also giving more easy access to downtown.
As for cost, I’m confident that there are funds available for a pilot program from government sources, such as the MTA, and for private ticket tie-ins.
It’s certainly worth considering.