Straighten out road dispute

On Monday, March 19, a truck working on the excavation project on Las Flores Canyon Road and Hume Road lost its brakes and ran off the road. It took several hours to remove the truck and reopen the road. In the situation, there was an optional route through Gorge Road that skirted the blockage on Las Flores. It is a route that no one would ever use other than in an emergency. Ten cars had turned around and were on Gorge when a man named Kim, who lives on Gorge, came tearing down the one lane road in a pickup and purposely blocked the road so no one could pass. He got out of his truck and walked away, leaving the ten cars stranded.

Only because there was a drive-way nearby were we able to figure out a way to turn around and retreat off of Gorge. If that had not been the case, it would have been dangerous to back up along the narrow road adjacent to a steep bank next to a stream.

Kim claimed that Gorge Road is a private road. My wife was told by county authorities that it was semi-private. A highway patrol officer told my neighbor it was private. After the ’93 fires, the county repaired the bridge on Gorge so it would seem that taxpayers have an investment in the road. Obviously there is confusion.

If someone is having a life threatening problem or there is a fire in the area while Las Flores is blocked, residents need to know if they have the right to use Gorge Road and the residents on Gorge need to know if they have the right to block the road no matter what the consequences. Moreover, if they do have the right to block the road, legislation needs to be passed that would prevent them from doing so in emergency situations.

I would request that other folks who have suffered this situation contact Congressman Howard L. Berman’s office to apprise him of the situation so my letter doesn’t sound like one disgruntled citizen moaning and groaning. He can be reached at 14546 Hamlin Street, Suite 202, Van Nuys, CA 91411.

Howard Ziehm

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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