Public Works Director gives update on the 2015 PCH Safety Study  

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Public Works Director Rob DeBoux provided an update on the construction on Corral Canyon and said Caltrans will be making improvements. Photos by Samantha Bravo/TMT

Rob DeBoux gave an update on the pedestrian crosswalk and left turn at Corral Canyon 

Public Works Director Rob DeBoux provided a comprehensive update on the 2015 PCH safety study and a list of priority projects at the latest Public Works Commission meeting on Dec. 13. 

To start off the meeting, DeBoux gave the commission an update on the projects that have begun operation such as the Traffic Signal Synchronization Project.

This project is the city’s most recent measure to date to improve safety and mobility on PCH. As of Dec. 4, street work is underway on Topanga Canyon and Big Rock Drive.

“I brought an update to City Council in April 2022 and I wanted to get some feedback from council, making sure we’re still sticking to priorities and projects related to the 2015 (safety study) so I can identity those projects to future Metro funding and that was brought back in April 2022 and City Council approved,” DeBoux said. “Since that time, I’ve been using that direction from council to move forward on those, and with that, we identified several projects that we are starting in the process of design phase with metro and Caltrans.” 

By installing communication lines between the existing traffic signals on PCH from Topanga Canyon Boulevard to John Tyler Drive, it will synchronize the signals to existing traffic conditions. It will allow signals to be controlled remotely by the Caltrans Traffic Management Center to lower traffic speeds and reduce congestion. 

“The synchronization project will actually be able to control traffic and get speeders,” DeBoux said. “If you do speed you’re going to hit a lot of red lights, and in terms it’ll slow people down.” 

DeBoux said they are looking to add red light enforcement cameras to some of the intersections.

“If someone is speeding through the area and runs a red light, the Red Light enforcement cameras will be able to take a picture and send tickets to those people that actually run a red light,” DeBoux said. 

DeBoux also said the city is implementing radar cameras that will detect vehicles that are going over the speed limit.

“If someone is speeding, that will trigger the traffic signal to turn red,” DeBoux said. “So if someone in between sections of signals the sensors pick up the speed as going over the certain limit, they will trigger the red signals, forcing drivers to stop at that signal.” 

“Something’s that’s very innovative, I think it’s going to be a huge improvement to this area,” DeBoux said. “I think it’s going to be something that’s really cutting edge, I don’t think other agencies or cities are actually doing something like this.” 

The study recommended 130 safety projects. These projects were listed in priority order based upon the analysis conducted in the study. DeBoux provided an update on the progress the city has made on the safety recommendations.

According to the report, since the completion of the 2015 PCH Safety Study, the city has completed seven of the 130 recommendations. The city has two major projects in the construction phase: the PCH Signal Synchronization Project and PCH Median Improvements – John Tyler Drive to Puerco Canyon Road. The city has five projects in the design phase: PCH Intersection Improvements – Trancas Canyon Road, PCH Pedestrian Undercrossing at Malibu Seafood, PCH Median Improvements at Paradise Cove and Zuma Beach, PCH at Las Flores and Rambla Pacifico Intersection Improvements, and PCH Crosswalk Improvements at Big Rock Drive and 20326 PCH.

The city also has four projects that are planned to be implemented in Fiscal Years 2025-28 or if funding and resources become available sooner. Once funding has been identified, staff will proceed with the design and construction of these projects.

“After the meeting, we were talking about the 130, and I think it was really productive; we got a great understanding of who is doing what, and they made it clear that they are looking forward to evaluating and seeing how they can make those improvements to all those projects,” DeBoux said.

Earlier this month, the California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin and other state officials visited Malibu to conduct an assessment of safety conditions on the highway. 

According to the city’s website: “The tour was a call to action to do everything that can be done to prevent future tragedies. The collaborative effort between local and state government officials is to avoid future fatalities, minimize injuries, and make PCH safe. Discussions included infrastructure enhancements, increased law enforcement presence, and educational initiatives to promote responsible driving. Next steps also include the city, California Highway Patrol (CHP) and LA County working together to expand future patrols, designating PCH as a Safety Corridor as soon as possible, and moving legislation forward to deploy speed cameras on PCH as soon as feasible.”

“The new equipment will capture real-time traffic data and send it to the traffic signal controllers, which will use state-of-the art software to adjust the traffic signal timing to actual traffic volume. Vehicles going the speed over the speed limit will encounter red lights, while those going the speed limit will encounter green lights,” the website continues.

At the tour, DeBoux said Caltrans will be making improvements on Corral Canyon. 

“I was just shocked by a number of things, the lack of signage, not clear traffic limit signs, the elimination of the left turns lanes, but the one that really hit me was that crosswalk — it’s in a weird spot, it’s really dangerous and so going out there with their Caltrans safety director he noticed it the right way, and he is working with the contractor to make some improvements out there,” DeBoux said. “They could potentially put in a left turn pocket, but they were going to look at it and see if the design could be safe out there, so I’m encouraged that they will make an effort to make improvements at Corral.”

The commission also addressed the potential addition of a pedestrian refuge area near Moonshadows. DeBoux said they will be going through that process with Caltrans and ask the Public Works Commission for input.

“We’ll see where that goes,” he said.

The next Public Works Commission meeting was scheduled for Dec. 27 but was canceled and rescheduled for Jan. 24.