Radar enforcement in progress on Highway 243 near Idyllwild School. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Some may have noticed a recent increase in enforcement by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). This increased enforcement is due to community concern regarding unsafe speeds in and around town.
Long-time resident Eric Townsend said in an email at the beginning of July, “On busy weekends with crowded streets, pedestrians in the street, I see people speeding on North Circle Drive as if the street were empty. One to two times per week I get a speeder going maybe 50 mph on my street. Since my street is partially a school zone and there are kids in the street (no sidewalks), this is sort of nuts.”
CHP Captain Mike Alvarez heard the concern from the community. Alvarez and Supervisor Chuck Washington’s office decided to start a traffic safety campaign.
“Our goal has and always will be public safety for the communities we serve,” Alvarez said. “Our main focus during this campaign was to ensure the residents and visitors of Idyllwild and Pine Cove remain safe, particularly during these stressful times.”
The campaign was made possible by grant hours provided by entities like the Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“The grant objectives for our Idyllwild campaign focuses on speed reduction and other primary collision factor violations,” Alvarez explained. “I usually deploy resources using this grant when our communities and/or local elected officials express concerns about an increase in moving violations and/or crashes. The grant cycle lasts 12 months, so we try to be strategic about deployments.”
The campaign began Aug. 10. In a short 17-day period — from Aug. 10 to Aug. 27 — a total of 75 citations were issued, as well as six vehicle impoundments and two arrests due to impaired driving.
CHP broke down the citations by type: 65% were for speeding and 31% for failure to wear seat belts.
“On a positive note, no injury or fatal crashes were investigated during this 17-day period,” Alvarez said.
CHP also released an educational video on its social media platforms reminding the community to drive safely and educate the public on traffic laws.
“We will continue to partner with our community and elected officials to ensure we meet the public’s expectations,” Alvarez said. “I would like to remind all motorists to continue to drive safe. We always encourage community engagement and feedback, and request our community members contact us at [email protected].”
This campaign will be on-going as long as CHP sees fit. Alvarez explained, “As of right now, this traffic safety campaign remains on-going until statistics indicate driver behavior has been modified.”

California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Napier checks a vehicle on Saunders Meadow Road. Photo by Jenny Kirchner