Dangerous crossing at La Costa

The manager of the La Costa Beach Club would like to increase the visibility of the crosswalk to the club on Pacific Coast Highway with a proper signal or at least a flashing light. Photos by Laura Tate / TMT

Beach Club members press for increased safety

By Kim Devore / Staff Writer

Members of the La Costa Beach Club are calling for increased safety following an injury accident at the club’s nearby crosswalk. La Costa Beach Club manager Ryan Power was hit by a car several weeks ago while attempting to cross Pacific Coast Highway.

Although Power’s injuries are not believed to be serious, he describes the run-in as a close call.

“I am very lucky,” the manager said. “I am, for the most part, in good condition.”

Still, the incident raises questions about the safety of the crosswalk as well as adequate traffic enforcement along a residential thoroughfare that many motorists treat as a freeway.

Beach Club members are especially concerned about the situation during the busy summer months when club attendance is at its peak and when Power sees numerous children attempting to get across the four-lane highway.

“As a lifeguard here, that crosswalk has been a constant weight on my shoulders,” Power said. “I have tended to many injuries out there and helped countless families cross over the years. Quite frankly, I am not surprised that I was hit.”

Power said there is a saying among club lifeguards to “keep their eyes on the water and their ears on the street.” He points out there are only seven parking spaces in front of the club. That means other club members either park across the street or walk from their homes, which are all on the landside of the highway.

According to records he has maintained over the years, Power said he has counted approximately 500 collisions between Las Flores and Carbon canyons since 2000.

“Some are minor, but others are serious; people make U-turns and get broadsided. We have about 10 collisions out in front every summer.”

One year, a car drove into the club’s kitchen. Another year a La Costa Beach Club member suffered serious injuries after being hit.

Power would like to increase the visibility of the crosswalk with a proper signal or at least a flashing light, similar to the crosswalk near Colony House Liquors on Pacific Coast Highway. He describes himself as being “extremely active” in his efforts to get Caltrans to make the crosswalk more noticeable, but said getting the state transportation agency to respond has been frustrating.

City officials have also made attempts to increase safety in the area.

“That crosswalk has been on my radar for years,” Public Safety Commissioner Carol Randall said. “Unfortunately, the blinking light hasn’t worked well for Caltrans.”

Randall said she will pursue the matter with Caltrans “to see if they have any other suggestions.”

In the meantime, Power plans on taking legal action. He said his intention is “solely to document the dangers we face daily in order to pressure Caltrans into communicating effectively and acting accordingly. I want to go on the record that this is not a safe place.”

The Public Safety Commission was scheduled to meet with Caltrans to discuss various traffic issues this Wednesday, 6 p.m., at City Hall.