When the sleepy neighborhood of Monte Nido, tucked right off Malibu Canyon, suddenly became a drag racing destination on the way to Malibu, residents sought to take action.
They’ve recently posted signs directing people to report reckless drivers, including a direct line to the California Highway Patrol. Since the signs went up March 18, there’s been a marked drop-off of speeders through the residential area and an increase in quiet that longtime residents have always enjoyed in their rural surroundings.
The Monte Nido Valley Community Association is part of Operation Safe Canyons.
It’s a committee coordinated by the Los Angeles County 3rd Supervisorial District under Sheila Kuehl, the California Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Traffic Division, and the Department of Public Works, among other participants. Corral Canyon, Stunt Road, Topanga, Tuna Canyon, and other neighborhoods are involved as well as many bicycle enthusiasts. The group focuses on unincorporated LA County canyons that since the pandemic started to see an uptick in speeding and accidents. Most of Malibu’s canyon communities lie in unincorporated LACO.
Because Monte Nido is designated as a “rural village,” most residents are used to the quiet and moved to the out-of-the-way location for just that reason.
“We’re happy to be a hidden canyon community,” MNVCA President Alicia Gonzales said.
So, to keep the neighborhood characteristically quiet, the homeowners association’s Safe Canyons committee took action and erected the signs.
“We don’t think our problem is any different or any worse or deserves any more attention than what everybody else is complaining about — PCH, Mulholland and other communities,” Gonzales continued. “We’re all having the same issue of really reckless, dangerous speeding and incredibly loud noise, which for our community just reverberates through everywhere. We’re far from any freeway, highway — we should be quiet. We’re not. At three in the morning you’ll hear a motorcycle blasting it. Everybody’s fed up.”
The neighborhood’s solution was to follow the advice the CHP gives at OSC meetings; call them. So, the MNVCA posted signs in the neighborhood. They read “REPORT RECKLESS DRIVING 323-259-3200.” The number connects directly to CHP dispatch.
Twenty signs were erected on a Friday “in advance of the Saturday, Sunday, weekend bedlam,” Gonzales said. They were posted where drivers would already be at a stop to take into consideration the safety factor.
“We don’t want people slowing down to read our signs or try to call while driving,” Gonzales said.
MNVCA hopes people will put the number into their contacts to be on auto dial.
In just a week after the signs appeared Gonzales said there’s been “a huge uptick in what’s being reported in our area and there’s been a huge drop off in the amount of racing.”
Gonzales surmised some speeders may now be hitting other canyons.
“My guess is they see those signs and go somewhere else,” she said.
However, Gonzales did add that MNVCA “would love to collaborate with other communities to finding a solution to this problem.”
Speeding has been a problem for several years on PCH and in Malibu’s canyon communities, but many residents have noticed a sharp increase in speeding since the pandemic struck, especially at the beginning in March 2020, when California was in lockdown.
“There’s no question that during the pandemic especially during the shutdown it increased, but it has not gotten better. If anything, worse,” Gonzales said. “During the shutdown it got so quiet that we all heard it (speeders). It continues to be really dangerous. We can look at Pulse Point and count the number of times that our Fire Station 67 has to leave to attend to an accident.
“Aside from being annoying, it’s really dangerous. In an entirely residential community to have that kind of speeding is really dangerous. There are accidents all the time. Some of them are fatalities.”
Although Monte Nido is known as a quiet area, it’s always been a tightly knit, active community that holds fire safety meetings, square dances and block parties.
“Our intention is to inform the community of an action they can take — to call that number,” Gonzales said. “And we want to send a message to the drivers that we’re fed up, what you’re doing is reckless, dangerous, and illegal.”
MVNCA only spent a couple hundred dollars on the signs, but it’s an investment the organization thinks will benefit not only their community, but those who pass through it.