By MATTHEW MEYER | Reporter
Calls from Pacific Palisades to improve the much-maligned intersection of PCH, Chautauqua Boulevard and West Channel Road have reached a fever pitch.
Dangers at the three-way junction are myriad: West Channel’s confusing right turn lanes, the harrowing merge from Chautauqua onto the highway (and the motorists who bully their way in from the wrong lane), and confused tourists jaywalking across the highway instead of using Roosevelt Tunnel.
It’s an area of fervent concern at community meetings from the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association to the Pacific Palisades Community Council and PCH Task Force group.
With help from those groups and consistent pressure on state transportation authorities, some mild victories have been won, including the removal of a metal barrier in the Chautauqua/PCH merge lane that repeatedly damaged vehicles.
But now some Palisadian activists say that it will take a community movement, not more appeals to local government, to provide a truly holistic solution to one of the Palisades’ most dangerous intersections once and for all.
“Caltrans, the state transportation entity that is in charge of PCH, is so busy and underfunded dealing with the over 50,000 miles of road they manage, that solving this puzzle is the last thing on their minds,” traffic consultant and PPCC member Lou Kamer told the Palisadian-Post.
“Which is why we need to help them help us. We need the best research engineers to do the hard work, crunch the numbers, and come up with adjustments or improvements that will, in turn, help our lives. We can’t just go to Caltrans and say ‘just fix it!’”
Kamer said that official plans are still in the works, but that he’s been gauging interest on a task force of interested citizens with varied skill-sets, from engineers and traffic experts to fundraisers and community organizers, to develop a plan of action.
And he’s confident Palisadians will answer the call.
“The Palisades I discovered upon moving here was a place where problems were met head on by caring, active members of the community set on finding solutions. This project might cost us some money, but we won’t know how much until we take the first step,” he told the Post.
“I do know that, whatever the cost, it would greatly benefit us. It would also help save lives among the thousands upon thousands of people who cross the intersection every day.”
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