Letter to the Editor: Caltrans, must slow down traffic

Letter to the Editor: The Malibu Times

Dear Editor, 

I am heartbroken for the families of the four beautiful young women killed on PCH. Their vibrant young lives, as shiny as a newly minted penny, gone in an instant.

And I am angry that this happened. Again. Why?  

In my opinion, Caltrans. It’s called Pacific Coast Highway, but it’s not really a highway. It’s a lively neighborhood road full of walkers, beach-goers, cyclists, and young students leaving a party.  

These deaths won’t stop until Caltrans lowers speed limits. And they need to be enforced by speed cameras and/or the Sheriff’s Department. And the fine for speeding through high pedestrian neighborhoods like this should be high.  

When we first bought our house in 2012, we didn’t know that any time we left our house — turning on or off PCH — it would be a harrowing, death-defying exercise. No joke. It truly is. When I spoke to neighbors about petitioning Caltrans to slow down traffic, I was told that Caltrans said they won’t slow down traffic because it will … slow down traffic.  

The area where the four women were killed is a lawless thoroughfare. Our house is right above it. The speed limit is too high, and I’ve never seen sheriff’s [deputies] patrolling there in the 11 years we’ve been there. So people come around that Carbon Beach bend and gun it like it’s a racetrack.  

Year after year, there are multiple deaths on PCH. Twenty-five people have died since 2018 — mostly pedestrians. But instead of Caltrans doing something — anything — to protect human lives, they wanted to widen PCH and push more traffic through Malibu near the shopping center where there are the most pedestrians. It’s unconscionable.  

To the higher-ups at Caltrans who refuse to slow down traffic, I call on you to go to the funerals of these four young women and feel the pain of these families. They are not statistics. They have real mothers and fathers and siblings and friends experiencing unimaginable grief. 

I looked up the time difference between driving 21 miles at 50 mph and 35 mph. The difference is only 11 minutes. At the very least, traffic should be slowed down to 25 mph where there’s beach access, where front doors are 10 feet from traffic — like around Moonshadows, where these four college students were killed, and at all the shopping centers.      

I truly believe that if speed limits are lowered with big consequences for violators, lives will be saved.  

Caltrans, please slow down traffic.

Katy Ballard, Malibu