Letter to The Editor: Beat the PCH Blues

Letter to the Editor: The Malibu Times

Dear Editor, 

Feeling hopeless about PCH? Why wouldn’t you be! This problem has been forever. My grandmother was one of the women behind the 1911 Los Angeles headline: “Feminine Drivers To Clash in Auto Race.” She had already gotten a speeding ticket downtown in 1908 at age 17, going 23 mph in a 12-mph zone. 

But we are not alone. I recommend the New York Times Magazine article, Jan. 10, “Why Are American Drivers So Deadly?” 

Here’s what makes Malibu a special place for being part of the solution to this nationwide problem: media attention. With this week’s rainstorm, I’m sure you received similar texts to my friend’s from rural England: “You okay? The news says Malibu hit hard.” Let’s get really creative and even unusual with PCH solutions —what about a “Slow Malibu” movement akin to the Slow Food movement? Wow! We could have fun promoting: Enjoy the beauty AND have less stress! What about colorful signage that lets through-drivers know that playful families live here? What kind of character might we present? The media would love reporting on wacky originality coming out of Malibu — instead of the usual stars and surfers (yawn) — and as a side effect we might help other municipalities with deadly roads that don’t have the media magnifying glass. 

Getting that hopeless feeling again? ‘’That won’t solve the middle-of-the-night high-speed reckless young men?” Hey, I never said culture change was fast or easy. But it could be fun. 

The country is seeing more anger, and more “I don’t care” attitudes. We have a presidential candidate hinting at “death and destruction.” Post-pandemic, with our democracy possibly at stake, the timing for fresh messaging couldn’t be better.

The City of Malibu has just added a “Contact Us” button to the PCH Safety webpage. Please contribute. Hopefully they will take the next step I’ve advocated, of making our ideas visible there, so we can build on each other’s, and perhaps it could become some grass roots projects together. The “Three E’s” (Education, Enforcement, Engineering) are all great. But why not, in addition, a positive, refreshing pronouncement on who we are and why we want to stay alive?

Margot Smit, Malibu