10 June 2019

Off the Rails on Carbon Canyon Road

It's a shame to see these shiny new guardrails and then have one of them, just weeks after installation as part of the ongoing rehabilitation of Carbon Canyon Road (State Route 142), get christened by an errant driver.

This took place westbound between Canon Lane and Canyon Hills Road and clearly took place at high speed, judging by the impact which left the end of the rail look like a fruit roll.

About a week prior to that, the taller directional and suggested speed sign on the middle of the S-curve at the summit to the east got its "ankle" broken clean and the bollard to the right of it, reinstalled next to the power pole there and which has been hit as many times as the sign, was also bent back by the collision.  This was just a few days after two of the three arrow signs put up by CalTrans as part of the current project to provide more advice on how to drive on the curve were flattened.

Finally, and this goes back a few weeks, the new fencing put up by the owner of the historic La Vida Mineral Springs property on the Brea side, also was welcomed to the neighborhood by a driver heading eastbound who obviously took a curve there too quickly, skidded across the westbound lane (fortunately no one was driving that way) and mowed down a good section of the fencing.  Late last week, workers were out putting up new sections.

So, while it is good to see improvements like signs, rails, reflectors and the like, dangerous driving, mostly on weekend evenings, is still a common occurrence, and likely will not diminish without some kind of patrolling.

05 June 2019

Sleepy Hollow Little Free Library Opens!

A resident of Sleepy Hollow has created Little Free Library, a concept many of us have seen in neighborhoods and which has become very popular in recent years.

Not only is there a cabinet on a wooden barrel for books to be borrowed and left, but the area, just off Rosemary Lane near the county line, has been improved with mulch, some plants, and hand-painted signs.

This makes the Little Free Library a really attractive space as well as a community benefit.  Hopefully, it will be regularly used both by donors and borrowers.

Thanks to whoever put this together!

03 June 2019

Carbon Canyon Road Brush Clearance Work Next Week

The annual brush clearance work done along Carbon Canyon Road (State Route 142) by District 8 of CalTrans will take place next week.

The flyer shown here explains that work will happen from Monday the 10th through Wednesday the 12th in both directions from Chino Hills Parkway to the Orange County line.

Work will take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and there will be one-way flagging.  CalTrans asks drivers to remember to reduce speed when approaching work zones and that delays are expected.

21 May 2019

Signs Point To . . . No

Well, that didn't take long and it doesn't take a Magic 8 ball to know why. 

It was just a few weeks ago that three shiny, new signs were put at the center level of the S-curve at the summit along Carbon Canyon Road in Chino Hills as part of the months-long rehabilitation project of State Route 142.

The signs, in reflective yellow, are meant to remind drivers to watch the curve and head to the left to continue the descent down the summit.  As many of us know from regular driving of this section of the state highway and as this blog has shown repeatedly over the last decade or so, this curve is among the two or three most common spot for exhibitions of errancy by drivers.

So, it was hardly a surprise to see yesterday morning while heading east to see two of the three signs pulverized by a vehicle.  Obviously, this happened over the weekend, probably late at night, possibly as a result of chemical impairment and/or speed.

New directional signs placed during ongoing rehabilitation work on the S-curve at the summit along Carbon Canyon Road lasted just a few weeks before being plowed down over the weekend.
As has been stated here before, signs are obviously necessary for our roads and highways, but, on Carbon Canyon Road and especially in spots like the S-curve, there is consistent dangerous driving that leads to accidents like this that show that signs are not enough if we want to mitigate these behaviors.

Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, there aren't injuries, or at least major ones, and fatalities continue to be rare, but how much of these crashes are matter of circumstance where it could have been a lot worse if there had been a slight change in behavior?

There has been talk in recent meetings concerning Carbon Canyon Road of more enforcement by the Sheriff's Department and the CHP, though the latter seems chronically underfunded and the former appears to be only out on the state highway on very rare occasions.

All of the improvements that have been and will be implemented on the highway are welcomed and needed, but signs can never be as effective as patrols, and it is hoped that the ongoing record showing regular dangerous driving on Carbon Canyon Road will lead to more consideration of this fact.

18 May 2019

Carbon Canyon Road Improvements in Sleepy Hollow

Slowly, but steadily, the months-long rehabilitation project by CalTrans District 8 to improve Carbon Canyon Road (State Route 142), moves along, despite the closure of the road last week because of a gas line break near the Summit Ranch community in Chino Hills.

So far, the bulk of the work has focused on drainage, reflectors and new guardrails along the project area, spanning from the Orange County line in Sleepy Hollow to the highway's eastern terminus on Chino Hills Parkway at the 71 Freeway.

Installed in rapid precision by crews overnight, a few hundred feet of shiny, new guardrails were installed along the westbound lane of Carbon Canyon Road (State Route 142) as part of a months-long rehabilitation project.

Last night, work in Sleepy Hollow was bright (with powerful lighting to assist workers) and noisy (as power tools were in prominent use), but crews worked very quickly to install a few hundred feet or so of new, shiny guardrails on the westbound side of the road where there is a steep slope dropping down to Carbon [Canyon] Creek.

Of course, the thinking behind installing the rails was to prevent vehicles from careening over the side of the road and down the embankment, but it is also possible that drivers may wind up bouncing off the rail and into oncoming traffic in the eastbound lane.  Bad as it would be to have a single-vehicle accident with someone going over the side of the highway, it may well be a lot worse to have a head-in collision or something like it between two or more vehicles.

More updates will be provided as major elements to the project are completed.

14 May 2019

Carbon Canyon Road Closed

UPDATE, 15 May, 9:30 A.M.  While there are no alert updates, SoCal Gas estimates that repairs on the broken gas line, confirmed to have been caused by a third-party contractor working on Carbon Canyon Road, will be completed about 1 p.m. today.  Meanwhile, one lane is open with flagging operations until the work is done.

UPDATE, 11:54 P.M.  A half-hour or so ago, an update was given saying that Carbon Canyon Road will be open one lane at a time with flagging operations starting at 5 a.m. until the repairs to the gas line are finished.  Commuters are being asked to take alternate routes (such as they are!) and allow locals access, but delays should be expected.  There is no estimate right now on a complete reopening.

UPDATE, 6:15 P.M.  A few minutes ago, a revised notice came out saying that Carbon Canyon Road is closed UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE as repairs to a broken gas line continue near Feldspar Drive where the Summit Ranch community is located.  Access is to Azurite Drive and Old Carbon Canyon Road from the Brea side only.

UPDATE, 4:50 P.M.: No change to the estimate of AT LEAST 6 p.m. regarding the closure of Carbon Canyon Road.  This article in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin notes that the rupture was caused by CalTrans crews working on the state highway.

UPDATE, 10:15 A.M.:  About 45 minutes ago, an update was provided that Carbon Canyon Road will now remain closed until AT LEAST 6 p.m. because of the gas line break.  Carbon Canyon residents will be able to access the road from the Brea side, however, through Azurite Drive.

A gas leak has led to the closure of Carbon Canyon Road from Chino Hills Parkway to Azurite Drive at Summit Ranch until Noon today, though the first message late last night stated the closure would only be for a few hours.  Updates to be added as made available.

11 May 2019

A Double Dose of Tres Hermanos in the Champion

This week's edition of the Chino/Chino Hills Champion has not one, but two, front-page articles concerning Tres Hermanos Ranch, which is situated in Tonner Canyon directly north of Carbon Canyon.

One article concerns last Monday's Chino Hills Historical Society presentation to about 125 people on this history of the 2,450-acre ranch, owned by the City of Industry since 1978, but for about sixty years before that the property of the "three brothers," William R. Rowland, William B. Scott, and Harry Chandler.  Rowland died in 1926 and his share was evidently sold to the heirs of Scott, who passed away six years before that, and Chandler.

The talk actually went back to pre-history to mention that native indigenous Indians of the area and their likely use of the ranch site for hunting and gathering and noted that, during the Spanish and Mexican periods (up to the late 1840s), the property was part of public lands set aside for neighboring ranches to have additional grazing land for cattle and other animals.

Reference to Tres Hermanos Ranch and some legal trouble with cattle brands, San Bernardino County Sun, 1 June 1935.

By 1870, these public lands were made available for purchase by private citizens and among these were George Butler and Wilson Beach, who acquired the Tres Hermanos area by mid-decade and then sold an interest to teamster Charles Wright.  A few years later, Santa Cruz lumber baron Sedgwick Lynch acquired Butler and Beach's portion of the property and left that to his wife, Jane.  She and Wright held onto the Tres Hermanos area as part of an expanded Rancho Los Nogales, a 1,000-acre land grant from the 1840s that swelled to about 9,000 acres by the end of the century.

In 1908, Pittsburgh dentist and real estate investor Walter Fundenberg bought Los Nogales from Lynch and Wright and hoped to find oil, though the lucky strike never materialized.  Within a decade, he split Los Nogales through two sales:  one to Frederick Lewis, an East Coast millionaire who created the Diamond Bar Ranch, from which the city of that name was later developed, and the other to Rowland, Scott and Chandler as Tres Hermanos.

Examples of parties and other events at the ranch and some other tidbits were given in the talk and brief summaries of some of the later history, as well.  These latter included mention of the installation of a Metropolitan Water District feeder line through the ranch in the mid-1960s, plans early the next decade by the Pomona Valley Water Company to buy the ranch and create a massive reservoir for water storage and delivery; and the sale to the City of Industry, which contemplated residential development when early planning for Chino Hills was launched and later looked at a reservoir and a solar farm.

Speaking of the solar farm, the headline article on the front page of the Champion concerned yet another lawsuit filed about Tres Hermanos and the scuttled solar farm plans.  William Barkett, who'd signed a long-term deal with the City of Industry a few years back to develop the farm and then was informed that the deal was off by a new administration in that city, has brought suit against Industry, Chino Hills and Diamond Bar (these latter two cities recently acquiring interests in Tres Hermanos in a landmark deal with the City of Industry), as well as the Tres Hermanos Conservation Authority established by the trio of municipalities.  Each of the four has its own legal representation.

A view of Tres Hermanos Ranch from near Diamond Ranch High School, March 2018.
Claiming potential lost revenue of $246 million, Barkett's San Gabriel Valley Water and Power alleges that the three cities illegally denied the firm's opportunity to develop the solar farm with the City of Commerce.  As noted here before, the proposed arrangement with Commerce, which came out of the blue led to some confusion on the part of Commerce's public comments about its commitment to the abruptly announced plans to pursue the project.

The company claims that the cities violated the Brown Act concerning public meetings to discuss the business of the municipalities, to which Chino Hills council member Ray Marquez responded that everything was done to the letter of the law and that the suit's allegations were "nonsense."

The three cities have until 22 May to file responses to the amended complaint of SGVWP, which was made on the 1st.  In turn, the firm will have until 21 June to reply to those responses.  Chino Hills Assistant City Attorney Elizabeth Calciano implied that there are no legal grounds for the suit, so that it should be tossed by the San Bernardino Superior Court.  She added, though, that there will be a 17 July hearing before a judge, who will decide what to do.

So, stay tuned for further news on this latest legal twist and other news relating to Tres Hermanos Ranch!