Council approves recommendations aimed at speed reduction on PCH

Continues modification process on Local Coastal Program.

By Jonathon Friedman/Special to The Malibu Times

In response to an outcry over recent traffic deaths on Pacific Coast Highway, the City Council Monday night approved staff and Public Safety Commission recommendations aimed at reducing speeding on the highway.

The recommendations include the substitution of a patrol car with a motorcycle officer and a decoy car, the purchase of two laser radars and the purchase of three speed indicator trailers.

Currently, the city pays for a 56-hour a week traffic car that patrols Pacific Coast Highway for speeders seven days a week at a cost of $203,474. The motorcycle officer would patrol the highway only five days at 40 hours a week at a cost of $192,685. But according to staff and the Sheriff’s Department, motorcycle enforcement has been historically more productive at catching speeders.

The conversion to a motorcycle officer will also include a one-time cost of $13,000 to purchase the motorcycle and other associated costs, including training. The addition of a decoy car to the highway will cost $1,000 per year.

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The purchase of the laser radars ($8,000), which are said to be more advantageous than the traditional radar guns, and the speed indicator trailers ($60,000) may be covered under certain grants and funds. Staff will return to the council with this information for final approval of the purchases.

The Public Safety Commission and city staff began looking at ways to combat speeding on Pacific Coast Highway following the death of Mark Osborn. Osborne, who was in town for his stepfather’s funeral, was killed in October when a speeding motorist lost control of her vehicle and hit him while he was standing in the driveway of his mother-in-law’s home, Carol Randall. Osborn’s death was the 15th on the highway since 1997.

The council continued its task of reviewing and making recommendations for modifications to the Local Coastal Program (LCP). This was the second of six sessions dedicated to the process, with this week’s topic regarding Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA) and other marine/land resource provisions.

The California Coastal Commission-certified LCP went into effect in September; however, the electorate of Malibu voted to place a referendum on the ballot to repeal the plan. The city attorney said this, in effect, renders the LCP invalid for now. Coastal permit processing is now in limbo, as the city is referring all permit applicants to the Coastal Commission and the commission says the city must process the permits. Several lawsuits have been filed against the commission to force it to process the permits and to challenge the constitutionality of the certified LCP. Meanwhile, the city continues to work on its version of a plan that would be acceptable to the residents of Malibu.

In other action, the council approved the awarding of the public service portion of the city’s community development block grant (CDBG) for next fiscal year to the Malibu Community Labor Exchange. Malibu expects to receive $87,165 in CDBG funds for the next fiscal year, with 15 percent, or $13,074, to go toward the public service portion.

The CDBG’s public service portion must be designated to services that benefit low and moderate-income residents. For the current fiscal year, the funds were awarded to the Labor Exchange and The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation. But according to city staff, it has been found that a majority of those benefiting from the Lifesaving Foundation are not Malibu residents, therefore making the group ineligible. That is the reason for the Labor Exchange receiving all of the money for next year’s funds.

Leslie Moss was sworn in as a new member of Mobile Home Park Rent Stabilization Commission.

The council meets again on Dec. 19 for a brief meeting. The only items on the agenda will be the naming of people to the new bond commission. At the Nov. 25 meeting, the council approved the creation of a commission to create a bond measure aimed at funding parks and recreation. A vacancy will also be filled on the Parks and Recreation Commission, whose five members will be included on the bond commission. That will be the final scheduled meeting of the year.

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

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