Grisanti, Stewart and Riggins Continue to Stonewall Attempts to Strengthen Emergency Ordinance, State Transportation Secretary Visits Monday to Tour PCH Planned Improvements
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Grisanti, Stewart and Riggins Continue to Stonewall Attempts to Strengthen Emergency Ordinance, State Transportation Secretary Visits Monday to Tour PCH Planned Improvements

The continued stonewalling by the pro-development trio of Paul Grisanti, Marianne Riggins and Doug Stewart was prevalent at the December 11th City Council meeting when they voted down another opportunity to strengthen the City’s position to bypass CalTrans and expedite additional safety measures on PCH.

This is second appeal by Mayor Steve Uhring and council member Bruce Silverstein since the emergency ordinance was adopted on November 13th in the aftermath of the October 17th crash that killed four Pepperdine students.

On December 4th, after more than six years, street work finally began on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) between Topanga Canyon and Big Rock Drive for Malibu’s Traffic Signal Synchronization Project.

The project, approved in 2017, will synchronize all traffic signals on the eight-mile section of PCH between John Tyler Drive and Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Planned improvements include new CCTV cameras at each intersection, the replacement of existing signal poles, street improvements, ADA upgrades, sensors and changeable message signs.

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

The project is expected to take a minimum of one year, possibly more to complete.

City, county and state officials, representatives from local law enforcement, CalTrans and stakeholders, met on November 14th at Malibu City Hall for the Emergency PCH Task Force Meeting to discuss the implementation of immediate emergency safety strategies on PCH.

While the meeting started with positive, forward momentum, the result of the meeting was a cautionary message of the many roadblocks in the pursuit of PCH safety driven by incompetence and ego-driven political maneuvering.

“At Caltrans, safety is our top priority” Caltrans Director Tony Tavares posted on Twitter on November 7th from the California Traffic Safety Summit hosted by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the American Automobile Association (AAA).

“Gathering with our safety partners is a big part of how we keep that message front and center. Each of us has the same goal – to make sure all CA travelers get to where they need to go – safely.” Tavares said.

However, CalTrans has consistently pushed back the progress of numerous projects designed to improve PCH safety and the message from Deputy District director Rafael Molina cautioned the possibility of AB43’s lowering of speed limits on PCH would be accomplished only “if there is an opportunity.”

If being the operative word and a disappointing one when discussing the urgency of implementing safety measures, specifically the reduction in speed on PCH, to prevent tragedies like the one that took four lives last month.

On Monday, December 18th, the California Secretary of Transportation, Toks Omishakin, is visiting Malibu along with other local safety officials to take a tour of planned improvements scheduled for PCH.

While efforts by State leaders are necessary and welcome, Mayor Steve Uhring is still cautious, hence, the need to pass the amendment to strengthen the Emergency ordinance.  Uhring told Malibu Daily News that he and council member Bruce Silverstein will continue to bring the motion back every single meeting until the city vote passes, giving the city the added muscle to push forward.

Should CalTrans respond with pushback for doing what is necessary to improve safety conditions as they promised residents, Uhring says bring it on. “I would be more than happy to have CalTrans come after us for doing everything in our power to make PCH safer.” said Uhring.

Since 2010, 58 people have died on PCH. As a result, a memorial of ghost tires representing each life was installed at the intersection of PCH and Webb Way.

This is a developing story.

December 16, 2023

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Editor in Chief, Cece Woods

Malibu Daily News Editor in Chief Cece Woods founded The Local Malibu, an activism based platform, in 2014. The publication was instrumental in the success of two ballot measures, seating three Malibu City Councilmen in 2016 and the supporting the top two vote-getters again in 2020.

During the summer of 2018, Woods exposed the law enforcement cover-up in the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings and a few short months later, provided the most comprehensive local news coverage during the Woolsey Fire attracting over 1 million hits across her social media platforms.