Unfortunately our sluggish city bureaucracy and hapless City Council just do not seem to get things right, even when they are apparently well intentioned and not being held sway to special interests or specious reasoning.
The City Council is poised to approve next Wednesday the funding of a pavement contract including 26 speed humps plus , –for a total of $427,000 –supposedly requested by Point residents.
As a traffic-calming advocate, generally in favor of speed humps, I am perplexed. That there are traffic problems on Point Dume has long been evident to anyone who lives or drives in Malibu, on PCH obviously, but also on local streets.
There is speeding everywhere, mostly on the straight aways of Dume and Cliffside drives. Parking also is a problem, in particular around the Village Center every day and Grasswood Avenue where on select days it actually makes the street all but impassable for emergency vehicles.
As I have written in the past, I consider these safety issues, subject to professional planning reviews. They should not be grist for political motivated actions by municipalities. Certainly not Malibu’s which in the past has not been very perspicacious.
If you might recall, a gaggle of Grasswood residents went before the city’s Public Safety Commission, asking that something be done to make their street safe. The item was placed on its agenda; the commission took testimony –noting that it was the largest turnout in memory –and directed the city to come up with several alternatives.
The city came back with a temporary proposal to stripe the street to allow for through traffic, confining parking to the edges where possible. It was subsequently approved. Then came the poison pill,
Heeding the concerns of Laura Rosenthal, city manger Jim Thorsen said that before acting, a consenting petition was needed from a majority of the street’s residents, though how many was not specified. Neither the city nor the residents took the initiative, and nothing happened.
Then out of left field comes the proposal for the speed humps. Talk about being blind-sided.
If approved, the humps are to be installed on Fernhill, Portshead, Selfridge, Grayfox and Wildlife, forthwith. Not mentioned were the particularly afflicted streets of Cliffside and Dume drives, and not Grasswood.
And where exactly are the speed bumps or humps going, and the signs required to alert drivers? They tend to vary greatly, depending on posted speeds, views corridors, street widths, that if not precisely sited could be the basis of law suits. As too often, is the city going to depend on a low bid private company to make the necessary design decisions?
As a concerned resident of Cliffside, I was not petitioned, nor to my knowledge were my neighbors. Neither did I read about it in the locals papers nor on the usually informative Next Door Neighbor website.
It is interesting to note a decade or so ago we had petitioned the city for speed bumps, but the proposal was voted down by the council, then led by an intractable mayor.
To repeat, I am in favor of anything that will slow traffic down.
BUT it seems to me that the council once again is acting autocratically.
A traffic calming plan for all of the Point is needed, including its main streets of Dume and Cliffside drives, The city’s planning process needs to be more broader and transparent.
The council continues to baffle. When will it ever learn, if ever.