Palisades PCH Parking Problem Moves to Malibu

Ordinance Seeks to Curb Roadside Camping

The city of Malibu is following Los Angeles’ lead in an effort to free up public parking on two stretches of Pacific Coast Highway and clean up potential health and safety concerns.

When Los Angeles implemented parking restrictions to prevent overnight parking on the stretch of PCH from Coastline to Topanga, the fleet of large vehicles routinely parked on the curb moved up the coast to Las Tunas Beach, bringing many of the same problems that necessitated the initial parking limits.

Health, sanitation and safety problems gave urgency to the changes implemented south of Topanga. The new influx of vehicles parked along PCH in Malibu adds to an existing problem: private and commercial vehicles that are being stored on Malibu streets and the highway for extended periods of time.

“The storage of these vehicles reduces the availability of parking and the purpose of this ordinance is to increase parking through the use of a mechanism that would require the turnover and increased availability of parking and would not serve to impede or restrict public access to beaches, trails, or parklands, consistent with the Local Coastal Program’s Land Use Polices,” the report states.

“Furthermore, the storage of vehicles adjacent to public access or shorelines, has an impact on public views. Public views from scenic roadways are protected by the City’s LCP.”

Residents have raised concerns about the vehicles blocking sight lines and intruding over the fog line into traffic. There are also concerns over risk the large vehicles pose to cyclists, who have to move into lanes to negotiate around RVs with pop-out sides.

Neither beach location is equipped with wastewater facilities, and restroom facilities are extremely limited, raising ocean water contamination concerns

The two areas being targeted by the new ordinance are the Las Tunas Beach area from the west edge of the Pena Canyon drainage outfall to the east property line of 19562 Pacific Coast Highway, and the Surfrider Beach area, between Sweetwater Canyon Road and the crosswalk at the Malibu Pier.

The Malibu City Council adopted the same Coastal Commission-approved parking restrictions implemented by Los Angeles: an alternating two-hour no parking zone from 12- 2 a.m on the land side, and 2-4 p.m. on the seaward side.

The purpose of the city of Malibu’s ordinance “is to protect public access to coastal resources in a manner consistent with the City’s Local Coastal Program.”

The ordinance was approved by the Malibu City Council but must still be approved by the Coastal Commission, which vetoed an earlier request to limit commercial vehicle parking. 

The Public Safety Commission initially recommended a parking ordinance that would be citywide; however, after discussions with the Coastal Commission, the scope of this ordinance was reduced to address two specific areas of PCH where coastal resources and beach access are most affected by long-term parking.


Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at

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