In the space of eight days, three lives were lost on just one street in Long Beach.

On New Year’s Eve, a man in the roadway was fatally struck by a vehicle on Pacific Coast Highway, capping off another year of preventable fatalities in a city that set a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2026.

Three days later another person walking on PCH was killed, this time by a hit-and-run driver. Yesterday, a third person — a woman crossing PCH — was also struck and killed.

If these had been murders or gun violence, there would have been an immediate outcry, but the truth is, many of us are just used to people dying in traffic all the time.

Traffic fatalities spiked in Long Beach in 2020 when 49 people were killed by cars compared to no more than 32 in a year from 2016 to 2019. Since then, they have remained high, with 47 in 2021 and 45 in 2022, and while preliminary numbers say only 35 people died in 2023, PCH continues to be one of the most dangerous roads in the city.

In 2023 at least nine people died on the roughly 8-mile stretch of CA-1 that bisects Long Beach from our western border with Wilmington to the eastern border with Seal Beach. It runs through rich and poor neighborhoods of all demographics, and nobody is immune to the danger it poses.

But unfortunately, the city of Long Beach doesn’t control this road and is unable to make unilateral changes; as a state route, any attempt to alter or redesign the road has to go through Caltrans, the state’s transportation agency.

This is the same road that has seen multiple high-profile traffic fatalities throughout Los Angeles County, including when four Pepperdine students were killed in October. While state funding has been allocated to address some safety concerns in Malibu near that crash site, there are no active efforts to make changes to PCH in Long Beach or anywhere else on its route from Malibu through its terminus in Dana Point, according to a Caltrans official I spoke with last year.

That doesn’t mean nobody is doing anything; last year I spoke with Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal who represents Long Beach and told me he lives in a community adjacent to PCH. He said that a group of state and local officials, including representatives from his and Councilmember Kristina Duggan’s offices, city traffic engineer Paul van Dyke, and Caltrans District 7, have agreed to create a task force to discuss efforts to address safety concerns on PCH.

They could start by following the efforts in  Malibu where a $4.2-million contract has been approved to “allow Caltrans to move forward on a draft list of 30 upgrades … including enhanced striping on curves, optical speed bars … speed feedback signs, speed limit markings on the pavement and replacement of safety corridor signs,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

This is the type of effort that can — and should — be on the horizon for Long Beach. Lowenthal’s task force has met twice so far and will continue to meet in the new year, hopefully with plans to make physical changes to the road soon to come. Because while leaders meet and talk about what could be done, people are dying on this street.