The portion of Palisades Drive nearest to Sunset Boulevard in the Pacific Palisades has come to be known as treacherous because of the number of traffic fatalities that have occurred there. The most recent death occurred on January 31, when Nicholas Rosser, 18, collided head-on with a pick-up truck while he was driving on Palisades Drive. His death has galvanized the Pacific Palisades community to try to improve safety on Pacific Drive.
Los Angeles Councilman, Bill Rosendahl, moderated a Palisades Safety Committee meeting on the issue on February 11. At that meeting, the Assistant General Manager of Los Angeles’ Department of Transportation (LADOT), John Fisher, proposed both short and long-term engineering solutions for the problem.
First, Fisher described the existing conditions on Palisades Drive which are two lanes in each direction with raised reflective pavement markers separating opposing traffic. He then mentioned that a short-term solution could be put into place within 2 to 3 months, to help discourage traffic from crossing over into the wrong lane to prevent head-on collisions. This solution would be to install a painted median (with diagonals and markers) to create a separation between opposing traffic. Also included in this option are maintaining the two northbound lanes, but reducing the southbound land to just one with an emergency shoulder area. Lastly, this option would include installing Speed Feedback signs, the installation of additional curve warning signs, the installation of a longitudinal grooved strip adjacent to the centerline to alert drivers, and retention of the raised pavement markers.
Two long-term options were also proposed. The first one would include the construction of a concrete divider to eliminate cross-over behavior and head-on collisions. The two northbound lanes would be retained with this option, but southbound lanes would be reduced to one with an emergency shoulder. Street lighting would also be installed. According to Fisher, this option would cost about $5 million. The second long-term would be to construct a landscaped median to eliminate cross-over behavior, install street lighting, reduce the lanes to one in each direction, and install bike racks.Rosendahl told the gathered crowd the LADOT wants “us to explore these options further”, and then they will come up with a price tag and a timeline for the chosen option’s installation. He emphasized that “the price tag ain’t going to be absorbed by the General Fund the City of Los Angeles”, because they don’t have the funding due to the $400 million deficit they are facing. Funding, therefore, would have to come from Another point Rosendahl emphasized was that he was “not going to react without a commitment” from the 6,000 residents of the Pacific Highlands area because Palisades Drive is a gateway to their area.