State and local partners hold ‘Go Safely PCH’ campaign

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Last week, California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin joined state and local leaders today to unveil the new “Go Safely PCH” campaign and detail the ongoing efforts to make the corridor safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Photos Courtesy of Caltrans.

Campaign highlights actions to improve safety on Pacific Coast Highway

After the death of the four Pepperdine students last fall, the Malibu City Council declared a local emergency to address the dangers on Pacific Coast Highway. Over the past few months, residents and visitors have seen increased traffic enforcement and infrastructure upgrades and improvements on Pacific Coast Highway. 

Last week, California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin joined state and local leaders today to unveil the new “Go Safely PCH” campaign and detail the ongoing efforts to make the corridor safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. The press conference was held at the Ghost Tire Memorial on Webb Way. The memorial honors the lives lost on the 21-mile stretch of PCH in Malibu since 2010.

The City of Malibu website says, “’Go Safely PCH’ is a commitment made to keeping everyone headed to Malibu’s beach, shops, or restaurants safe.” 

“Go Safely PCH is more than a campaign — it’s a movement demonstrating our collective commitment to making this beautiful corridor safer for everyone who travels on it,” said Omishakin on the press release. “Through infrastructure improvements, increased enforcement, and drivers doing their part by slowing down, we can and will save lives. I thank all our partners for coming together to say in a strong, unified voice: One more life lost is one too many.”

With a $39 million commitment in investments on traffic safety improvement projects, and another $8 million, the city said it is dedicated to improve safety on PCH. 

State Senator Ben Allen has also been advocating for a safer PCH. 

“I am grateful to see our government focusing on immediately addressing the safety hazards that have for too long plagued this vital stretch of roadway,” Allen said in the press release. “Too many people have died; drivers need to slow down. I am working with the administration and Legislature to provide the city and law enforcement with more tools to tackle the crisis.”

Fifty-nine people have been killed on the 21-mile stretch of PCH in Malibu since 2010, including the tragic deaths of four Pepperdine University students last October. 

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Lindsey P. Horvath said the “Go Safely PCH” campaign will “foster a safer scenic roadway for the Malibu community and all who enjoy our gorgeous coastline.”

“Death and danger along PCH are unacceptable; we can’t wait to change the status quo. Now is the time for close coordination and meaningful action,” Horvath said on the press release. “While we advance important infrastructure and legislative changes for a safer PCH, education is essential. As summer approaches and Malibu prepares to welcome beachgoers and visitors.” 

State and local leaders signed a banner that reads, “Life’s a Beach, Not a Race, Slow Down on PCH.” With billboards on lawns, beach signs, flyers, posters, and social media, the new education campaign is, “alerting drivers of the increased law enforcement presence and reminding them to slow down on PCH or face the consequences.”  

“Californians are encouraged to take a traffic safety pledge and commit to practicing safe driving behaviors when visiting beaches, parks, shops, and restaurants along PCH,” the press release says.

California Office of Traffic Safety Director Barbara Rooney said the “Go Safely PCH” campaign is about establishing a strong road safety culture that no longer accepts the death and destruction on PCH. 

“We encourage everyone to make a commitment to safe driving on PCH — the beach will still be there when you get there,” Rooney said. “If you ever feel the need to speed, think of the 59 victims and how your responsible actions behind the wheel will help make sure there are no more deaths and senseless tragedies on PCH.”

Beginning in January, the City of Malibu added three full-time California Highway Patrol officers to help the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) with traffic enforcement on PCH in Malibu for the first time since 1991. 

“The support from CHP officers has resulted in more than 1,200 citations through April, more than 1,000 of which were for speeding,” the press release says.

In addition, OTS provided approximately $555,000 in additional funding to the LASD, Los Angeles Police Department, and Santa Monica Police Department for increased enforcement on PCH.

Commissioner Sean Duryee said by combining engineering enhancements, educational campaigns, and rigorous enforcement efforts, “we not only improve conditions on the highway but also save lives along the way.”

According to the city’s website, Caltrans is investing $4.2 million for multiple safety upgrades to PCH infrastructure, including lane separators to prevent vehicles from drifting into oncoming traffic or making illegal turns, crosswalk striping at all locations for increased visibility for drivers and pedestrians, more visible road striping, speed limit markings on the road, as well as more speed limit and curve warning signs.

“Safety is Caltrans’ top priority and that requires a shared responsibility for everyone who drives and works on California roads,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “That’s why we’re all here standing together today with the same, critical goal: to make PCH safer for everyone.”

Malibu Mayor Steve Uhring said the epidemic of reckless driving is impacting communities across the country.

52 Go Safely PCH Press Conference Photos courtesy Caltrans
Malibu Mayor Steve Uhring addresses the audience during the “Go Safely PCH” press conference at the Ghost Tire Memorial on Webb Way in Malibu. 

“The problem will not be solved overnight, but this education program puts a major change agent in our toolbox,” Uhring said. “On behalf of all Malibu residents, I thank our state partner agencies for their leadership in providing solutions to this important problem.”

Santa Monica is also in partnership with the city, state, and regional agencies. The Local Roadway Safety Plan identifies PCH as a priority corridor for infrastructure safety improvements as part of the Caltrans PCH corridor study.

“We have seen far too many serious crashes on PCH, and it is absolutely heartbreaking that five people have lost their lives in Santa Monica’s section of the highway since 2019,” said Santa Monica Mayor Phil Brock. “Santa Monica is committed to making our roads safe for everyone. Since we don’t have jurisdiction over PCH, our partnership with the state and regional agencies is critical to our mission to eliminate fatal and severe injury crashes in Santa Monica through our Vision Zero initiative.”

For information on safety updates, campaign pledges and access to digital assets, visit GoSafelyPCH.org.

80 Go Safely PCH Press Conference Photos courtesy Caltrans