Safety improvements sought near Moonshadows

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Moonshadows

Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal met with May and Moonshadows owner Franco Simplicio last week to discuss ways to improve safety by the restaurant. The three brainstormed ideas such as installing a pedestrian crosswalk, yellow paddles along the median and improving the shoulders along the highway where many of Moonshadows’ patrons park.

The location is considered one of the most dangerous on PCH, where dim street lights hardly illuminate an area heavily darkened by a towering mountainside, and drivers often speed by with little regard for the 45 MPH speed limit.

Rosenthal said she plans on meeting with Caltrans this week about possible changes. “I’m trying to get [Caltrans] to make some changes very quickly,” Rosenthal said. “Which of course is a very difficult thing to do.”

For Simplicio, the best alternative would be to reduce the speed limit in front of his restaurant.

But for Caltrans, lowering a speed limit takes heavy legwork. Caltrans engineers would have to conduct a traffic survey and assess a number of factors on PCH.

“Speed limits on the highway should be established at or near the 85th percentile speed, which is defined as that speed at or below which 85 percent of the traffic is moving,” Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said. “Other considerations, such as highway, traffic, and roadside conditions not readily apparent to the driver, should also be factored in.”

Rather than trying to change the speed limit, Chandler said it comes down to the choices a driver makes on PCH.

“PCH will be safer when people obey the laws and when people operate their vehicles the way they’re supposed to,” he said. Simplicio said he has offered to help pay for improvements to the highway in front of Moonshadows.