Instead of my usual commentary “the city observed,” on public radio 99.1 KBU, and select web site., I’ve labeled this one,“the city suffered,” That is especially if you live on Pt.Dume, as I do, and the western reaches of Malibu, and if for whatever reason you occasionally use the PCH.
I had to early this week., for a can’t miss pre op doctor’s appointments, replete with he usual slew of tests, in Santa Monica. It had been delayed too often, and was a medical necessity, whatever my insurance provider might rule.
Alert to the unpredictability of the PCH, I listened to the welcomed up-to the minute traffic reports on 99.1 KBU, which repeated several times traffic was slow in the Lagoon vicinity,
I also checked the website the city has touted, though as usual it was dated and incomplete. The more reliable Google Maps that morning showed east bound traffic backed up beyond John Tyler. This prompted me to leave an hour earlier, giving me up to 2 hours to get to my appointment .
Good thing I did, for the stop and go traffic was slow, and frustrating, prompting some cars to dangerously jump the median and head toward Malibu Canyon Road and the 101.
There were some close accidents, and one wonders where were the Sheriff deputies. I would guess probably lurking in a speed trap somewhere else in Malibu in wait to ticket for a senior going a few miles over the limit in their dated Prius.
Finally, I got to what was causing the monumental backup: the merging of two lanes into one at the Malibu Beach Inn, to accommodate the installation of a traffic signals for a crosswalk. This incidentally would allow the Inn to park cars on the northside of PCH in the old Hertz lot, and make room for an outdoor pool for its pampered guests on the southside steps from their rooms.
Nice, the Inn’s team of lawyers had once again out maneuvered the somnolent city, for yet another profitable amenitiy. How private interests are forever prevailing in Malibu raises question that needs to be answered, hopefully soon.
For the moment, there was the traffic problem, which I feel based on my hands on planning experiences could have been easily addressed, and saved thousand of commuters, and myself, several anguished hours on the PCH.
Specifically, the parking at the south curb should have been just temporarily banned. This would have allowed the private contractor’s truck, and an occasional Cal Trans car to park at the curb,, and not double park as they were doing eliminating a second eastbound lane and inhibiting the flow of traffic.
The resulting mess was a sad illustration of the planning adage that a road is as wide as its narrowest part.
In addition, the construction could have been timed for the evening at a relatively minor charge to the Inn, instead of costing the public hours of lost time at no doubt substantial sums. Yes, I made my appointment, barely.
Unfortunately lacking in all the parties involved was some common sense and common courtesy. Just having someone from City Hall there to check the situation could have made a difference.
Thanks to a burst of outrage in the social media, the double parking at the Inn is now no longer, thank goodness..
But beware, for scheduled to begin this weekend and run through the summer is some major road construction in the Civic Center area that promises to create a traffic hell. The work, of course, is to accommodate the wave of new commercial development that past self-aggrandizing councils had questionably approved.
Of course,, City Hall tell us the PCH is the responsibility of Cal Trans and the Sheriff’s department, not the toothless, and I would add, clueless city.
However, as KBU’s Hans Laetz has noted, there is much our City Hall staff can do. Yes, and I would add if the staff headed by an anemic city manager only had the gumption, as well as the support of a savvy council. For the present, it is sadly not happening.
Something to think about when next stuck in traffic on the PCH