Support for PPRA
Like you, I’m a Palisades resident living in the Highlands; I have been a homeowner here since 1998. The more I learn about the proposed construction of the 96-bed assisted living facility at the corner of Palisades Drive and Vereda de la Montura, the more concerned I become. Here are just a few of the issues I find most disconcerting:
Should the project come to fruition, there will be more traffic and less parking on Palisades Drive. This could negatively impact our property values, not to mention inconvenience those who park on the street already.
The proposed project is slated to be four stories, blocking views for many homeowners; plus it fails to comply with local, state and coastal zoning laws.
The constant flow of construction and drilling vehicles will add significant chaos to a very calm and quiet community. In addition, the noise from the construction will be heard in every home and business for blocks. Lastly, there is no way to control the dirt, debris and mess caused by the construction.
We live in a high-fire risk area, evidenced most recently by the Palisades fire (October, 2019). The flames came dangerously close to causing an evacuation. If the proposed property were built, fire resources would likely be diverted to evacuate the residents first—leaving families with small children and elderly members of the community at greater risk.
Finally, and most important, is the time it would take to transport an elderly resident to the hospital should a medical emergency occur. (The nearest one is 18 to 20 minutes away, and that’s by ambulance/paramedic.) It’s impractical and unfair to the residents and the community.
Please join me in contributing to the Pacific Palisades Residents Association so they can continue their tireless efforts to stop construction on this proposed project.
It does not take the recent fatality to remind us of the perils of driving on Palisades Drive. The steepness of the road resulting in excessive downhill speeds is an obvious cause, but I would also like to address additional reasons that make this drive as dangerous as it. The major one being the insufficient lane widths given the curvature of the road and the speed at which vehicles are traveling.
Palisades Drive starts close to the Summit at the Highlands community there, but for the purposes of this article, I would like to address that part of the road that goes downhill, starting at the intersection with Palisades Circle, close to the Casa Nostra restaurant, and finishing at the intersection at Sunset Boulevard, a distance of 2.33 miles.
The traffic lights at Palisades Circle, besides protecting vehicles that need to turn on to Palisades Drive, also act as a traffic-calmer in that they always default to a red light against the Palisades Drive traffic, always bringing those vehicles to a halt at that point.
There are three particularly dangerous spots as a vehicle continues downhill. These are where the road angle changes by more than 20 degrees. The most dangerous is the double bend, just past the speed indicator (which is why it is there), where the road angle changes 50 degrees for the first bend going right, and then, immediately afterward, a change of 35 degrees to the left.
The number 1 lane (closer to the center of the road) is particularly tight at that point, measuring just 108 inches across. SUVs have a width of 70 inches, larger vans measure 80 inches across and, of course, the larger working trucks (trash, utilities etc.) are wider still. This means larger vehicles have just a few inches of leeway either side, which accounts for the number of times vehicles encroach either the white lane divider or the double-yellow line road divider.
A very small sample I know, but out of curiosity, I recorded the number of vehicles that passed downhill between for about 20 minutes at this particular point in the road and observed 50 driving in the downhill direction. Of those 50 vehicles, 22 used lane 1 and 28 used lane 2. Of the 22, 16 (73%) encroached on the white lane divider or touched the double yellow lines on this section of the road.
Regarding speed, although it is only evidence again based on a small sample, I watched for several minutes standing by the speed indicator and recorded a sample of 22 vehicles. Twelve (55%) of them exceeded the speed limit.
It can be seen from this that the safety margins within the lane widths are very small as vehicles speed and change direction. This situation is exacerbated by the bicyclists that also legally occupy the road, but effectively block one lane because of the narrowness of the lanes.
This article has attempted to highlight the issues that exist on this road, and it also comes with two suggestions:
1) That the city commit to a lane-widening (and thus a road widening) project, if not for the whole stretch of road at least for those stretches where the problems exist.
2) If a road-widening project is not feasible because of the geography, Palisades Drive should be reduced to one lane in either direction, each with a bike lane, and that a central divider is added.
Resident of Palisades Highlands
The Palisadian-Post accepts letters to the editor via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail/hand-delivered at 881 Alma Real Drive, Suite 213, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. To be considered for publication, letters must be signed, and are subject to editing for length and clarity. Opinions expressed in letters do not necessarily reflect the views of opinions of the Palisadian-Post.
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