The Pacific Coast Highway may finally get a $20 million makeover to improve safety conditions in Malibu. The city council recently passed a plan that includes some 150 recommendations, including bike lanes, traffic circles, off-road parking and a pedestrian bridge. Funding for the proposed construction is uncertain, but backers suggest a countywide sales tax or federal and state grants would pay for the plan.
The story of PCH is one of a neglected rural corridor that never caught up with the growth of the area it serves. Construction of what became the PCH began after the state’s third highway bond issue passed in 1910. The section from Santa Monica to Oxnard via Malibu was dubbed Coast Boulevard when construction began in 1925, but was dedicated as Theodore Roosevelt Highway in 1929. It was first designated Highway 1 in 1939. As local traffic grew, plans were introduced to upgrade the Malibu stretch to a freeway but were scuttled in 1971 due to local opposition. Since then, PCH has simply lacked the capacity to deal with vehicle traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists — or to deter motorists who insist on driving above the posted 55- or 65-mph speed limits.
The result is what many call a deathtrap. In the first six months of 2015, four people died in 117 vehicle collisions. These included Los Angeles rapper MC Supreme, who perished when a pickup truck barreled into his legally parked car. In February, Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner crashed his SUV into the rear end of a Lexus standing in stopped traffic. The woman driving the Lexus was killed. Claims Journal reports that in the three years ending in December 2014, 376 people suffered injuries and nine people died in vehicle accidents on PCH in Malibu. But congested traffic and careless driving aren’t the only problems. On July 20, 2015, a westbound stretch of PCH was closed due to a rock slide after sizeable boulders fell onto the roadway.
Obviously, remediation of PCH is long overdue. Construction will create headaches for months, if not years. But if it produces a safer roadway, it will be worth the cost.
If you have an accident on a road that is known to be unsafe, the authority that maintains the road may be liable for your losses. At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, an experienced auto accident attorney can evaluate your case for free. Call us at 800-333-0000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at one of our locations in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County, Bakersfield, Fresno, Phoenix, or Tucson.