Public Safety Commission tackles speeding in canyon neighborhoods

The Public Safety Commission addressed options for speaking prevention measures on Las Flores and Rambla Pacifica. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Commission discusses options after disbanding of Homelessness Task Force

During the Public Safety Commission meeting on Wednesday, July 12, commissioners addressed options for speeding prevention measures. In recent years, residents and school administrators have voiced their concerns about the increase in speeding. Sycamore Canyon Elementary School is among one of the schools.

Following residents’ complaints, city officials have been exploring ways to address speeding on two canyon roads, Las Flores Canyon and Rambla Pacifico. 

In response to a request from a resident in 2022, the Public Works Department conducted a speed hump warrant analysis based on criteria in the Public Works Department’s Speed Hump Policy.

Public Works Director Rob DeBoux reminded the commission and community of the speed humps policy. 

A radar speed survey was conducted during a period of free-flowing traffic in October 2022. The existing speed limit is 25 miles per hour (mph). According to the radar speed survey, the 85th percentile speed along Las Flores Canyon Road is 28 mph and the 40th percentile speed is 21 mph overall, which are less than the minimum 85th and 40th percentile speeds required for consideration for installation of speed humps, which are 35 mph and 25 mph, respectively. The survey also found that horizontal and vertical curves along Las Flores Canyon Road would make the roadway unsuitable for speed humps. There are eight horizontal curves that exceed the minimum curve radius of 300 feet and there is no sustained stretch of straight roadway where a speed hump could be placed. 

Public Safety Director Susan Dueñas said the California Highway Patrol couldn’t attend the meeting but LA County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Soderlund was at the meeting and answered questions in terms of enforcment and jurisdictions. 

Public Works Superintendent Arthur Aladjandjian said they will be conducting a survey for Las Flores to determine if they are able to impliment speed humps. 

Aladjandjian said they are currently in the process of receiving petitions for Bush Drive.

“Once we receive the minimum threshold required, which is 60 percent or more, then we will present that to City Council for consideration,” Aladjandjian said.

Despite CHP not in attendance, Soderlund provided an update and said he hopes the city can implement a new speed safety program called AB645.

Existing law establishes a basic speed law that prohibits a person from driving a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent given the weather, visibility, traffic, and highway conditions and in no event at a speed that endangers the safety of persons or property.

This bill would authorize, until Jan. 1, 2032, the cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Glendale, and Long Beach, and the city and county of San Francisco to establish a Speed Safety System Pilot Program if the system meets specified requirements. The bill would require a participating city or city and county to adopt a Speed Safety System Use Policy and a Speed Safety System Impact Report before implementing the program, and would require the participating city or city and county to engage in a public information campaign at least 30 days before implementation of the program, including information relating to when the systems would begin detecting violations and where the systems would be utilized. 

The bill would designate all photographic or administrative records, not including data about the number of violations issued or the speeds at which they were issued for, made by a system as confidential, and would only authorize public agencies to use and allow access to these records for specified purposes.

The bill would also require the participating city in the pilot program to submit a report to evaluate the speed safety system to determine the system’s impact on street safety and economic impact on the communities where the system is utilized.

This bill would authorize the cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Glendale, and Long Beach, and the city and county of San Francisco until Jan. 1, 2032, to establish a Speed Safety System Pilot Program.

“I don’t know if Malibu can do some logging to get added to that pilot program,” Soderlund said. 

During commissioner updates, commissioner Josh Spiegel asked if there will be any enforcement done towards Nobu and the traffic on the Fourth of July weekend. Traffic was heavily backed up and cars were abandoned on Pacific Coast Highway apparently because of an unpermitted event at the restaurant that was attended by as many as 700 guests.

“We spent alot of time on this nuisance ordinance, I think it’s time for Malibu to flex it’s muscles, and I don’t know what we can do as a commission, but something needs to happen,” Speigel said. “They’re just doing whatever they want, we don’t have the assets to fix in real time, so if there’s anything that we can do in this commission I think we need to talk about it.”

Dueñas said they will be meeting with the Sheriff’s Department and Nobu to discuss the incident. 

“I appreciate that, but at the same time, as citizens, as commissioners, we’ve heard that before,” Spiegel said.

Spiegel mentioned the recent fires that occurred on the Las Tunas property and said nothing has been done in terms of enforcement there. 

“Actually, that’s not true; we’re about to put a lien on his property, it just takes time,” Dueñas said. 

The commission moved on with addressing the Homelessness Task Force Charter and identified how to proceed with the remaining assignments per the City Council’s direction. 

During the May 8 regular City Council meeting, the City Council approved Resolution No. 23-20, disbanding the Homelessness Task Force (Task Force) and reassigning unfinished Task Force Charter assignments to the Public Safety Commission (Commission). The Task Force operated under a set of assignments identified by the City Council that were outlined as the Task Force Charter in Resolution No. 21-43 (Attachment 1). 

Former Homelessness Task Force Member Terry Davis spoke during public comment and shared her thoughts on the tasks the commission can consider. 

Commissioners thanked Davis for speaking and sharing her suggestions. 

Some members of the commission said while they’re not familiar with the issues of homelessness, they look forward to helping any way they can. 

“It definitely deserves a lot of new innovative approaches and creative thinking and it’s worth the group spending some time,” Commissioner Brent Woodworth said. “I do not know enough about the homeless challenges in Malibu, I am aware of course, of the impact on wild fire danger because of it, but this is a major problem, but I think something that I think we should tackle carefully and cautiously, so I’m all in favor about learning as much as I can about it.”

After Soderlund provided a Sheriff’s Department report, Dueñas said Soderlund is officially the city’s permanent liason.

“Sgt. Soderlund has been doing an amazing job and it was my pleasure to get a memo together this week, asking he’d be our liaison Sergeant,” Dueñas said. 

Earlier this year, the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department appointed Soderlund as the new liaison to be a dedicated deputy for the City of Malibu.

The next Public Safety Commission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 2.