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Santa Monica Area Lawmakers Announce PCH Safety Grant

 
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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

December 1, 2017 -- Santa Monica-area lawmakers announced Wednesday they had secured a grant to enhance safety on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), one the most scenic -- yet increasingly deadly -- thoroughfares in California.

The announcement comes on the day a police chase in Malibu claimed a life of a pedestrian on PCH in Malibu, and just eight days after a man was hit and killed by two cars traveling the busy highway in Santa Monica -- marking the third fatality on the State thoroughfare in Santa Monica is as many months.

“For too long, Pacific Coast Highway has been not just a picturesque California landmark, but also a dangerous road with a harrowing record of fatal traffic collisions,” said Assembly Member Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica.

“Our communities have lost too many loved ones along this road," he said. "Today’s grant is an important step in confronting the highway’s dangers and making it safer for all who use it.”

The County of Los Angeles and PCH Taskforce Co-Chairs Bloom, state Senator Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach) and state Senator Henry Stern (D-Agoura Hills), announced that they secured a $150,000 safety corridor grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in order to improve safety on Pacific Coast Highway/CA-1.

The grant will fund three pedestrian and bicycle safety assessments and training within the corridor, as well as educational outreach aimed at all users of the highway, the co-chairs said.

Last year, 617 collisions were reported on PCH by the four law enforcement agencies responsible for patrolling the PCH Taskforce’s jurisdiction -- California Highway Patrol West Valley, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Malibu-Lost Hills Station, Los Angeles Police Department West LA and Santa Monica Police Department.

The decades-old task force was formed initially to help the different policing agencies better communicate and work together.

The grant “will be instrumental in improving the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers on the Pacific Coast Highway." said Allen, a former Santa Monica Malibu School Board member.

As it wends along the California coast, Highway 1 becomes jammed with traffic as it reaches the Santa Monica-Malibu corridor, heavily used by commuters as well as tourists. A stalled car alone can cause long traffic backups, and major collisions can shut PCH for hours.

Illegal parking on the side of the road, unsafe speeds, and driving while impaired by alcohol/drugs or distracted are among the conditions blamed for the number of accidents and collisions along PCH.

Wednesday’s fatality on PCH started as a pursuit of a stolen vehicle by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies at about 8 a.m. on PCH, east of Kanan Dume Road.

Authorities said the pursuit lasted no more than 20 seconds before it was canceled because of the suspects erratic driving and high rate of speed.

But the suspect’s vehicle went on to strike a man on the side of the roadway, and then hit three parked cars. The wreckage also damaged a truck being driven on PCH at the time, authorities said.

The pedestrian died at the scene of the crash.

After the crash, the suspect was rescued from the stolen vehicle, which caught fire. He was hospitalized. Three deputies were treated for smoke inhalation.

 


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