Tempers Flare at PCH Task Force Meeting Following Fatal Collision in Santa Monica

By Sue Pascoe

The quarterly PCH Task Force meeting was held Wednesday morning at the Malibu City Hall.

Representatives from Malibu wanted to know why Tuesday’s road closure on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica was not reported to the city, so that motorists traveling through and from Malibu could have been alerted to use alternate routes.

A Santa Monica Police Department representative said that a male transient was crossing PCH about 5 a.m. just north of the California Incline. He was struck by a vehicle traveling northbound toward Malibu.

The accident was reported at 5:10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Santa Monica Fire Department paramedics were called, but the man was pronounced dead. The victim’s name is being held until next-of-kin can be notified. The motorist, who was not injured, remained on the scene and cooperated with police.

Traffic backed up on southbound PCH just north of Coastline Drive on April 14, 2017. Credit: Palisades Patrol

The collision impacted the morning rush hour, causing delays as far back as the 405/10 Freeway interchange.

Malibu City Councilmember Laura Rosenthal asked Tuesday, “We did not get any alerts. LAPD also does not let our sheriff know. People missed important events. What can we do differently?” She spoke about those who had missed airline flights, and the person who missed a surgery appointment, because they were stuck in the snarled traffic.

A Santa Monica police officer said that initially all lanes of PCH were shut down, but then the southbound lanes were reopened, yet remained slow because of people slowing to watch police conduct their investigation in the northbound lanes.

Traffic soon backed up into Santa Monica, which meant that many parents and teachers trying to reach Pacific Palisades were caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on local streets.

Rosenthal also said that not only had the city not received an alert from Santa Monica, but that LAPD does not send alerts to Malibu. The LAPD spokesperson explained that unless it’s an injury accident, LAPD officers do not come to accidents in Santa Monica.

Pacific Coast Highway is a jurisdictional nightmare that includes Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Malibu Sheriff and Caltrans, which is why the task force was founded about 10 years ago, so that all police and city agencies could communicate on a regular basis.

Rosenthal said there needs to be a way for communication to reach all of the communities impacted by accidents and other incidents on PCH.

For more information on the PCH Task Force, visit http://pchpartners.org/

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