Public Safety Commission identifies potential solutions to Point Dume parking issues

Point Dume Natural Preserve. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Sheriff’s Department, Volunteers on Patrol, and State Parks join the meeting to provide input; Malibu VOP issued over 400 tickets on Presidents Day weekend 

The Public Safety Commission met last Wednesday prior to the rockslide that occurred on Malibu Canyon.

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriffs Station Lt. Dustin Carr was on the call and said the road was completely closed.

The Public Safety Commission addressed the parking concerns on Point Dume and were identifying and brainstorming solutions to alleviate the traffic and parking on Cliffside Drive. 

Once the tiny parking area fills up, and one vehicle parks on the side of the road, it encourages other vehicles to do the same. 

Public Safety Commissioner Brian Merrick suggested implementing signs on both parking sites, Point Dume and Westward Beach Road. 

Malibu VOP Team Leader Mark Russo said he personally issued 151 citations during Presidents Day weekend on Feb. 20. The Malibu VOP issued 473 citations that weekend.

“It probably has become the number one destination for Malibu,” Russo said. “I really don’t feel like we’re going to ticket ourselves out of this issue.”

Russo provided solutions and said the cliffside is a “nighttime phenomenon” and suggested to have enforcement present to educate visitors.

“Having a presence is really important. I noticed when I would just go up there and just stand there, [and] a lot of people would say, ‘hmm, obviously the Sheriff’s Department is here, I probably shouldn’t park here,’ and the signs are great up there telling you where you can’t park, but I think if we had something up their telling people where they could go and people are more than willing to do that,” Russo said. “I think the city, Sheriff’s Department and the state, I think we all need to step up and do our share to educate the public on social media, signs and where they can park.” 

Darrell Readyhoff, a California State Parks chief ranger, attended the meeting and said the issue has increased.

“Just from my time starting in 1999 — it has gotten much worse, a lot of it due to social media,” he said. “It could be a challenge to be out there, but I do have some good news, we do have two new officers, and then we’re going to hire much more parking enforcement individuals to Point Dume also.” 

Public Safety Commissioner Daphne Anneet said the parking issue is a public safety crisis and needs to be addressed.

“State Parks has increased the access, the desirability for people to come, we created a massive staircase to provide public access down to the other side of the bluffs, so it’s not surprising that hundreds of people are coming; we’ve been inviting them with all the work that has been done on the bluffs,” Anneet said. “All the work that State Parks has done to bring the public to that precious nature preserve all of that needs to protect the people that they now brought to that neighborhood.” 

“Every day that goes by is a day that we’re putting people at serious risk,” Anneet said.

DuBoux said they will look into implementing something temporary. 

“At this point it is a public safety emergency, and the easiest way to stop from getting people from parking and closing off the road is to put something there so they can’t do it anymore,” Anneet said. “They’re not going to like them, (blockage) but we’re going to save a life.” 

Public Safety Director Susan Dueñas said they can look into creating a social media campaign to educate the public and can soften the blowback from visitors. 

Point Dume resident Steve Graham spoke during public comment and shared his concerns with the commission on the parking and traffic and hopes they can find a solution. 

“It’s great to see that you’re diligent and you’re really trying to find a solution that will work with everyone,” Graham said.

Russo suggested implementing a sign where vehicles are waiting to get a spot on the cliffside. 

“People will just sit there at the entrance of those spots, people just wait and wait and wait, and you just get a conga line of cars that are back up just waiting for a spot to just open,” Russo said. “But maybe a sign in there could be helpful, because that’s really what they’re trying to do, is find additional parking.”

For staff updates, Dueñas provided an update on the three interim shelter bed units for people experiencing homelessness in Malibu, the city’s first automatic license plate reader camera, and the rockslide on Malibu Canyon.

“It was pretty spectacular, it actually got caught on video by a Malibu Times reporter who was there and she video’d it coming down,” Dueñas said. “So you might want to go to the Malibu Times Twitter account because it’s pretty impressive what she filmed.” 

DuBoux said they’re working with the county to clear out the canyon. 

During public comment, a staff member for Sycamore School spoke during the meeting and asked the Public Safety Commission about implementing speed humps on Las Flores Canyon. This concern comes after hearing concerns from parents about speeding near the school. Public Works Director Rob DeBoux said due to the curves, speed humps are unable to be implemented.

The Public Commission also welcomed Jerry Vandermeulen back to the city.

“The people of Malibu don’t realize how fortunate they are that he’s back,” Fire Safety Liaison Gabriel Etcheverry said. “With his skill set, attitude and work ethics, it just boosts up everything, and we’re ecstatic.”

The next Public Safety Commission meeting is scheduled for April 5, at 5 p.m.