Cul-de-sac causes concern over emergency access

Although the local Sheriff’s station does not oppose the project, it will be monitoring the temporary roadblocks to be put up on Civic Center Way near Winter Canyon Road for emergency vehicle access.

By Jonathan Friedman/Special to the Malibu Times

A six-month project beginning in August to determine whether creating a double cul-de-sac on Civic Center Way between Winter Canyon and Vista Pacifica Roads is a good idea has brought up concerns over emergency vehicle access.

Temporary roadblocks will be set up to create the two barriers. The goal is to reduce the flow of traffic moving down Civic Center Way toward Malibu Canyon Road where two schools and a condominium complex exist

“All of the traffic is very dangerous for the kids and it is difficult for the parents dropping them off,” said Our Lady of Malibu Principal Matthew Weber.

However, there have been rumblings within the department of the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff’s Station that these barriers would restrict or complicate access for emergency vehicles.

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Although Capt. Tom Martin from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said for the moment he is not against the plan, he said he will monitor the situation closely during the six-month trial.

“We will be able to advise the city if there are any difficulties, any traffic concerns,” he said.

Kearsley said there is already a plan for emergency vehicles, in which they would use a 100-foot concrete roadway on the Webster parking lot that runs parallel to Civic Center Way. This would allow the vehicles to go around the cul-de-sac entirely. Also, people could use that roadway in case of a fire.

The concrete roadway would also be a possible usage for the bus that normally travels down Civic Center Way. Kearsley said the city would be approaching MTA officials about doing that or possibly having the bus use the Pacific Coast Highway. He said it should not be too much of a concern, because the bus only averages one rider per day.

The City Council voted for a draft proposal for the project in May of 2002. Several parents and their children who attend Our Lady of Malibu and Webster Elementary School came to the meeting to speak about the danger of the heavy traffic in the area. The city has already made one attempt at mitigating the situation by restricting drivers from making left-hand turns from Malibu Canyon Road onto Civic Center Way between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. But with the double cul-de-sac, all through traffic would be restricted.

“The only other option would be to install two traffic lights,” Kearsley said. “And that would be expensive, with traffic lights costing $125,000 a piece.”

If the six-month project turns out to be a success, then the double cul-de-sac would become permanent. Kearsley said this would allow for the placement of a 1-acre park in the middle of the newly formed mini-road. The city would attempt to get funding for that park from the Urban Parks Grant, a state program.

“We could put in a little Greek Theater in there,” Public Works Commissioner Eric Jacobson said. “It would be something the kids could use and be an asset to the community.”

Kearsley said another benefit the project would bring is that it will reduce the traffic congestion caused by cars on Civic Center Way turning onto Malibu Canyon Road. Because of this, people trying to make a left-hand turn out of Pepperdine onto Malibu Canyon have a tough time doing so. But with all the traffic coming from Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), he said it would create a better flow.

The city will be closely monitoring how the trial affects traffic flow to determine its success, as well as listening to what the people have to say about it. An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) would then be made regarding the project before it would be brought to the City Council for a final vote.

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

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