Commissioners discuss issues with Westward Beach project

A vehicle moves while a pedestrian opens his door at Westward Beach. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

The continuation of the Westward Beach project was the first item discussed during the almost five-hour Public Works Commission and Public Safety Commission joint meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23. 

Public Works Director Rob DuBoux said the department addressed the concerns of the public with the options and improvements they suggested from the previous meetings. The option to eliminate the 45-degree parking, keep the parallel parking and the pedestrian walkway was redesigned.

“In any event after the project is redesigned through the direction of council, I will bring this item back to the commission to get their final look at the project before we finalize and go to construction,” DuBoux said. 

DuBoux presented three new updated pedestrian representations of the pathways to the commission and said the fourth alternative would be not to do the project at all.

“If it’s so desired not to do this project and move forward, that is definitely an alternative the commissioners can look at, discuss and provide that recommendation to council,” DuBoux said. 

Public speakers signed up to speak for the item. Some were still concerned with how the high tides will affect the area.

“I have no objection as I heard the wood boardwalk to be put on the beach side; my concerns are the tides.” speaker Lonnie Gordon said. “I don’t know if we need something on the landslide, but I’m still a little confused on what you’re all going to do. I would abandon this project and rethink it; it would be my bottom line.”

Commissioner Daphne Anneet asked for clarification for design improvements.

“What are the goals that are driving this project, what are the priorities that are helping us make the decisions in terms of what we’re doing,” she said. “I feel like there are a lot of different inputs coming in and I feel a little bit lost in reaching a conclusion.”

Commissioner Scott Dittrich was concerned about the RVs and Sunset Restaurant valet-parked vehicles occupying most of the street parking for residents. He also saw save brush and sea level rise as major concerns also.

Chairman of the Malibu Public Works Commission Lance Simmens noticed the new proposals do not include a designated bike lane. 

“They just disappeared from all the proposals and I’ve got a real problem with that, because I fought really hard to make sure that we got them into the original renderings of what we’re going to do here,” Simmens said. “I know we’ve been struggling with this for a long time, but we want to get it right. The bicycle lane is really troubling, that’s the thing we need to be promoting, less cars, not more.”

DuBoux said to minimize the concrete foundation on the beach there would be no room for an additional bicycle lane.

“It would have to be a shared lane. I don’t think there’s enough room to have a bike lane,” DuBoux said. 

Commissioner Brent Woodorth said repaving and fixing the road as it exists would need to be addressed. 

Westward 5
Coastal erosion at Westward Beach. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

After commissioners shared personal preferences on parking ideas, the commission motioned to provide a recommendation to the City Council to approve repaving the existing road including repairing the existing shoulder and not extend beyond the city right of way.

“I want the beach preserved; whatever we do I’d like to see the existing infrastructure and engineering without adding more that can jeopardize the beach,” Commissioner Wade Major said. 

Commissioners discussed implementing a “No RV Parking” sign and the motion to recommend to City Council to install speed humps on the roadway when the pavement was complete — with the conformance of the Public Works Department speed humps policy. 

The motion passed, but some commissioners rushed to disagree with the finalized proposal before sending it to City Council. 

After discussing the new motion to implement a boardwalk, a majority vote from each commission disagreed with the motion. 

The motion was carried unanimously for the Public Works Commission and failed by the Public Safety Commission. 

The commission agreed to eight months to one year following completion of the project construction for evaluation and if any additional work needs to be considered.