Saturday, November 29, 2008

'TSUNAMI HAZARD ZONE' signs spoil beach experience along the Pacific Coast Highway

Somebody's found a new way to spoil the Southern California beach experience. One of the kids began pointing it out this week while we were driving up the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica towards Malibu. But we didn't get a good look until yesterday, walking down Temescal Canyon Road in Pacific Palisades toward the PCH, headed to Will Rogers State Beach.

There's a new sign posted at the intersection:


And on the other side of the street, leading up the hill, a companion sign:


TSUNAMI HAZARD ZONE? Now there's a good idea! Not RECREATION ZONE or BEACH VOLLEYBALL ZONE, but something sure to send a chill down the spine. And it was certainly good enough to scare the kids who were old enough to read, filling them with worry and dread as they stood on the wide expanse of beach and looked out toward the ocean.

The signs are at every access road to the PCH from Santa Monica at least to Malibu and most likely farther along than that.

That's a lot of signs, and we've got to figure the expenditure was less likely the work of some politically-correct do-gooder inspired by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 (the natural disaster most Americans wouldn't have blinked at, had not a vacationing Western supermodel lost her boyfriend in the waters) than some politician who took advantage of the publicity and projections to slide this pork expenditure to a campaign-contributing sign company.

The "LEAVING TSUNAMI HAZARD ZONE" is what gives away the game. It's one thing to post reminders for those approaching the beach. But is it really necessary to find an arbitrary point, a few dozen yards from the PCH, to post a sign to assure the hapless beachgoer, running from the approaching tide, that he's safe? Is that really the boundary of the TSUNAMI HAZARD ZONE? What if the person fleeing a tsunami sees the sign, stops running, and is sucked into the surf?

Which leads to other questions: Do government officials know something they're not telling us? Is an earthquake, Pacific Ocean anomaly or ice shelf phenomenon expected to cause a tsunami in the near future? Have the signs been posted to help combat lawsuits from victims and survivors?

No, the real question is why the bureaucrats needed to find another way make people afraid even when they're trying to forget their cares for a couple of hours. Most people headed toward the shores of a great ocean would assume the hazards of big waves, rocks, riptides, sharks, sharp objects in the sand, too much sun, and the sight of fat people on bikinis. That's a lot of signs.

Thanks for ruining it for the kids.


Anonymous said...

I'd be running from the fat chicks in bikinis. Where are the warning signs for them? Huh? How about protecting us from them? Or the fat guys with their speedos riding up in the cracks of their asses? What about that? Where are the warning signs for that? Geeze! Is everybody working on one sputtering brain cell these days? We need more signs for really important stuff like that. Will you guys just get with it!!!!

Prince of the Marina said...

Sorry, Charlie, but these signs are a great idea. The area around Marina Del Rey and Venice are subject to Tsunamis and the people living there are clueless of the dangers. Major quakes off Hawaii or Asia can produce large tsunamis that could kill thousands if people don't know to leave. But even closer than that, a major offshore could result in a tsunami in just minutes.

These signs will let people know that if you feel major shaking, get away from the coast.

I just hope enough studying went in to saying where the danger zone ends. That's the one good point you made.

Jody said...

Eco facissts at work. I'm sure that it will only get worse. Who authorized these stupid signs? Why don't they provide better egress from the coastal areas instead of using these signs to destroy the property values of some of the most expensive real estate in the country? Anyone who lives there already knows about the dangers.

Anonymous said...

There are more questions than answers at this point; Is it an earthquake? Is it an asteroid (the 2009 per NASA?) You would want the richest people (and businesses) in the area to know, right? They are a benefit to our society.. or are they? Depends on which President you ask.

Tim said...

"(the natural disaster most Americans wouldn't have blinked at, had not a vacationing Western supermodel lost her boyfriend in the waters)".

A quarter of a million people were killed, making it the worst natural disaster in recorded history, A fact which kind of dwarfs the supermodel losing her boyfriend angle.

12 tsunamis have struck the California coast in the past 150 years, 7 caused damage (remember that much of the time there wasn't a lot to damage), 2 caused major damage.

I live 5 blocks from the beach in Venice. I'm glad for the signs. I'm also glad to know that if I reach Lincoln, I'm probably safe...but I'd keep going.

People SHOULD know these things; if you live near the beach or are at the beach during a major quake, you should get to high ground, and quickly.

They actually have sirens in Hawaii. Not a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

So we're supposed to believe that the signs ruin the beach experience and lower property values? Give us a break! How much fear is this really causing? Should we put the kiddies on medications because of tsunami signs? How about lifeboats and lifejackets on ships? Seat belt warning lights? Smoke alarms? Tsunamis are rare but lives can be saved with some advance education and preparation. As one post said, people need to know these things. Many of us with brains will read the signs, be better prepared, perhaps save a few lives. Others, I guess, will take the opportunity to check in on their all-important feelings.

Dru said...

Now you know why they are there. ;)

Anonymous said...

You understand you are an idiot, correct?

For starters, EARTHQUAKES ARE UNPREDICTABLE. No one is hiding information from you.

No coastal region is spared from the chance of a tsunami hitting due to either a near source or far source earthquake.

These signs are posted a good distance away from where tsunami levels will reach in a 'worst case' scenario. So, if someone stopped running there, they should actually be safe, although getting to higher ground is never a bad idea in the case. (Which, being from LA myself, people are idiots and assume that tsunamis don't hit LA, ever. Not true at all)

These signs are there to remind you that this CAN happen here, one day WILL happen here, and that you should have an evacuation route ready in your mind. Or, not. Seems like you're one we can spare.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this post. IGNORANCE IS BLISS, people! There should be no stinking signs ruining people's day. Now to get back at the fools who posted these signs and ruined your beach experience, may I suggest something for you to do to piss them off? OK. Now, whenever you feel a strong earthquake while lounging along the areas ruined by these signs, IMMEDIATELY RUN TOWARD THE OCEAN!!! If you see the tide retreats and the seafloor exposed, RUN quicker toward the tide!!! That should show these bureaucrats that they can't tell people what to do. We will actually do the OPPOSITE just to spite them!!! Yeah!

Anonymous said...

These signs are a bad thing. It works on a paranoid public. The signs are posted all over the west coast. It give the impression that we have had major Tsunamis. Property values go down, tourist stay away, the state loses on taxes and for what? Nothing. Why not post earthquake hazard zone on every California block or neighborhood. Why not go to any community that has gangs and post gang hazard area. That might save lives. What a total waste of money. The folks that live in the areas also have to look at the signs every time they drive home as well.