29 June 2008

Motorcycles in the Canyon, Part One

All right, let's just say this right off the bat: there are many, many motorcyclists who drive the canyon with respect for speed limits and with a minimum of noise; riders who enjoy the canyon for a little weekend (or weekdays, less often) cruise. In fact, as with drivers of cars and trucks, it is perfectly correct to say that a majority of motorcyclists drive the canyon safely and reasonably.
However, there are too often times when this is just not the case. Case in point: today, my wife with my two sons in the car was driving westbound on the Brea side when a motorcyclist passed her going at a very high speed and doing a wheelie.

So, let's review: Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) is a two-lane, curvy road on which there is no passing allowed. The cyclist was going at a high rate of speed, well above the 45 mph limit. And, the best part of all: this person was doing a wheelie in the opposite lane.
I've been passed on this road by motorcyclists many times in my four years here. I've been awakened late at night many times by riders letting their throttles out or racing through at high speeds. Whatever decibel level is generated by this noise is only exacerbated by the high canyon walls which act to amplify the sound.

I have a co-worker who has insisted that motorcycles like that owned by her husband have loud mufflers so that other drivers can hear them and, thereby, preventing accidents. Sorry, but I just don't buy that, at least not for all or most cases. There are lots and lots of cyclists who have loud mufflers because they like that full-throated roar and feel that this gets them some kind of attention. Excepting the few women cyclists I've seen, you can bet your bottom dollar that testosterone drives both the need for speed and the desire for a roaring muffler.

I just wish that more people gave consideration to the noise pollution, as well as the air pollution, that we have to put up with, obviously not just in the canyon but everywhere in our region. But asking for consideration, not just with motorcyclists, but other drivers, is like asking for people to change their behavior when it comes to gas guzzling vehicles. The sad reality is that too many people are selfish, self-absorbed, ignorant or just downright unconcerned about the effect their actions have for others.
So, let me just say once again that I am acknowledging that most motorycle riders drive the canyon sensibly. But, there are an awful lot who act as if there are no residents here. If the tables were turned (shoe on the other foot, etc.) they would know exactly what I'm talking about.
It's just fortunate that the rider who passed my wife today doing a wheelie in the opposing lane while going at an excessive speed didn't hit someone else or crash and injure or kill themselves, though I have to wonder if it really matters if the latter were to happen. After all, actions theoretically should have consequences. But, if they did, we'd have more police patrols here.
There'll be more on the issue of dangerous driving in the canyon!

Accident Report #1

Actually, I have to say that I'm surprised how few traffic accidents there have been in the canyon lately compared to what I've experienced in the four years I've lived here. Some of this might be due to people driving less with higher gas prices.
Today, though, a truck slid onto its side on Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) and caused the shutdown of at least one lane. There are probably two explanations for why this happened: one, the truck was trying to avoid something on the road or someone entering the road from a side street or two, the driver was going too fast around a curve and lost control. I wasn't here at the time, although my wife drove by the scene, but I'm going to go out on a limb here (!) and suggest that speed probably had something to do with it.

I am going to try and post whenever there is an accident that I have seen, heard, witnessed, or heard about, so there is some record of it.

Again, I can't say what caused this accident, it might have been some kind of road hazard. I have to say, though, that I would not be surprised if speed was a factor!

23 June 2008

Neighborhoods of Carbon Canyon, Part One

There are several distinct neighborhoods in Carbon Canyon within the cities of Brea and Chino Hills. The first installment of this series of posts will focus on the one I live in: Sleepy Hollow. The photo above shows the south side of the Hollow taken from (you guessed it) the north end, looking a little to the southeast. Note the repro Victorian at left center, the geodisic dome at lower left, and the brand spanking new Pueblo (?) style at the upper right. You can click on the image to get a larger view.

The first thing to know about Sleepy Hollow is that it is the oldest community in Chino Hills, dating to 1915. The subdivision was created with "cabin lots," smaller that residential tract lots, and marketed to appeal to city dwellers in Los Angeles and other more urban areas so that they could have their rural hideaway cabin or small home for weekend visits. The home across from me has a portion dating to 1915 and there are still quite a few homes that go back to the 1930s or earlier. An issue is that these were not built for full-time residence so they are often small, lacking in the amenities residences tend to have, lack parking, and have small septic systems. On the other hand, these "cabins" bring a great deal of character to the community.

The construction on the Brea side of La Vida Hot Springs, including its motel and restaurant and bar, back in the 1920s probably contributed to the sale of lots and construction of cabins and part-time homes within Sleepy Hollow. It has also been said that, during national Prohibition between 1919 and 1933, when commercial alcohol production was illegal, bootlegging flourished in the canyon and in Sleepy Hollow, in particular. Naturally, there were claims of "houses of ill fame" and gambling halls sprinkled into the mix, as well.

It wasn't until after the post-World War II housing boom and the spread of suburban sprawl that full-time dwellers in Sleepy Hollow really increased. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the community had a reputation as a haven for hippies, counterculture, and the inevitable linkage to drugs (and, presumably, plenty of drugs and rock 'n roll.) Still, longtime residents who've lived in the neighborhood since the 1950s and 1960s remember it as a place that was safe (where doors were left unlocked and that sort of thing) and where kids could ride their horses or bicycles on Carbon Canyon Road without fear because there was so little traffic. On the other hand, stories abound of cars racing each other on the nearly-barren highway and tales of horrific car wrecks are often related.

Even as late as the mid-1980s when I drove through Carbon Canyon on the way to a girlfriend's house in the Rolling Ridge area of what later became Chino Hills, Sleepy Hollow was very isolated and seemed so far removed from the surrounding area. The late 1980s housing boom changed that, to the point that the movement that culminated in the incorporation of Chino Hills in 1991 included Sleepy Hollow.

Once residential construction took off in Chino Hills and commuters began to discover the previously little utilized State Highway 142, a.k.a. Carbon Canyon Road, life in Sleepy Hollow, of course, changed dramatically. The housing boom of the late 1980s did lead to quite as few dwellings in the community, including the one I live in.

Still, the close bond of community, which was always part of life in Sleepy Hollow, still continues for many people. Although the old volunteer fire station (replaced by a new community center a few years back), the neighborhood church (now a residence), and other centers of the neighborhood are gone, there are still events for Halloween and Christmas, and a neighborhood advisory council occasionally has meetings. This isn't to say, however, that everyone shares in a unified feeling of community. There seem to have always been people in places like Sleepy Hollow who would prefer nothing more than to be left alone. Without getting carried away with stock symbols of hermits, anti-establishment folks, conspiracy theorists, and the like, it is probably quite safe to say that there are plenty of people within Sleepy Hollow who choose to live here because they are outside the "mainstream" and this can, I suppose, include the good with the bad! We also have our share of colorful characters, but I have to say that it makes the neighborhood more diverse and interesting and I can't really say I've seen anything much worse than the occasional BB gun being fired off, a few illegal fireworks (which does, however, pose a serious fire risk), and loud music played in the middle of the night or live bands on a rare weekend.

Beyond that, I've met some really great people, including young families, artists, teachers, and others who appreciate the uniqueness of our community. There are about 130 houses and almost all of them are custom and different from what you typically find "out there." This can be a great appeal for canyonites, even though it might turn off others who look down upon Sleepy Hollow for its rusticity. And, believe me, people do look down at us in our little edge of a town that thrives on an upper middle class tract home pattern of development.

After all, Chino Hills has just been ranked as the 15th safest city with a population over 75,000 in the U. S. and has long been the safest city in San Bernardino County. As Orange County-adjacent (plenty of real estate listings are sure to say just that), Chino Hills looks much like many planned communities in the O. C., just a lot less expensive. Sleepy Hollow, like the Canon Lane and Los Serranos neighborhoods, is very much an exception and for those Hollow dwellers who thrive on it, there are those in other Chino Hills areas who view the Hollow as . . . well, let's be polite and say "less than desirable."

I've got to say, however, that Sleepy Hollow is distinctive enough that when the real estate section of the Los Angeles Times did its regular feature "Neighborly Advice" on Sleepy Hollow in April 2006, there was a recognition of the distinctiveness of the neighborhood. I'd venture to say that it is highly unlikely that any other Chino Hills neighborhood, with the possible exception of Los Serranos, would be considered for inclusion in that feature. The sad thing is: the city could have used the publicity in a positive way and recognized the unique quality of Sleepy Hollow, but didn't.

In fact, it seems that many, if not most, residents in the Hollow look suspiciously on the city and believe that city leaders purposely avoid having much to do with the neighborhood. Objectively, it's really hard to know what the reality is. On one hand, the city invested significant sums of money to build the community enter and, yet, had to be largely prodded by community residents to do so after the old volunteer fire station was condemned. A common complaint is that the city and sheriff's department just flat out ignores the often dangerous and reckless driving that goes on in the canyon and specifically our neighborhood, which has far more homes directly off the road than any other section of the canyon.

Truth is, there seems to be a lot of validity to it, because the police presence here is definitely far more reactive than proactive. My own contact with city and police officials confirms this: this is something I'll deal with later in its own post!

I've only been here since 2004 and my wife has a less enthusiastic view than me, but I really like Sleepy Hollow and the canyon generally. I've enjoyed some great hiking in the hills, met some really neat people, like patronizing the local liquor store, and like the rugged hills, greenery, and open space in the area. I think my kids will greatly benefit from living here. Sure, traffic can be a real problem, turning onto Carbon Canyon Road is often something of a gamble, the risk of a major fire is nearly always present, and the occasional loud music in the middle of the night or the overflowing of someone's septic tank, and the unsightliness of a few poorly maintained properties can be a hassle. Sometimes it would be nice to have flat, wide streets to take family walks or to be able to walk to the store or a nice park nearby (as we did in our previous Chino Hills neighborhood, sameness notwithstanding).

But I think Sleepy Hollow has a lot to offer and I fully intend to keep involved as much as I can in community affairs and try to instill in my kids that the way of life here is increasingly rare and special.

There are other interesting neighborhoods, though, and I'll follow up once in a while with a post about them, too.

If anyone has any info on Sleepy Hollow's history or wants to offer some opinions about the neighborhood, let's hear from you!

Here is a link to the Los Angeles Times "Neighborly Advice" column from April 2006 mentioned above: http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/printedition/la-re-guide16apr16,0,7900315,full.story?coll=la-class-realestate

Hidden Treasures of Carbon Canyon, Part One

OK, now all of you prospectors of hidden gold by old time California bandits, or cash from Depression era bootleggers, or whatever might have been buried by hippies from the 60s, you can log out now!
I'm talking about two of the more interesting features of our area: Carbon Creek, which just happens to be the only natural flowing body of water in the canyon, or in Brea or in Chino Hills, or most anywhere else in much of our region, for that matter. This makes it one of the more notable and less recognized features of this area.
The creek appears to get its start at the west end of the S-curve about 1 1/2 miles east of Sleepy Hollow, passes through Western Hills Golf Course, into Sleepy Hollow, and then switchbacks a few times across Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) until it meets up with a small creek coming out of Soquel Canyon, just south of Carbon Canyon, close to the mobile home park in Olinda Village. From there it continues into Carbon Canyon Regional Park where a dam was built to prevent flooding downstream. Technically, I suppose the creek continues on, but in flood control form (read: concrete) once it leaves the canyon and the dam.

Now, I am sure that most of the water that is there in non-rainy season periods is runoff, a lof of that probably coming from the substantial watering of the greens at Western Hills (presumably there are a fair number of pesticides there, too), but it is still pretty cool that there is water just about year round down here in Sleepy Hollow. When it rains (not so good in 2007, the driest year EVER RECORDED, better this year at a little less than average), there can be a nice flow that just adds to the rural, country feel that is so attractive about the canyon.
In the winter of 2004-05, our first here, we had that near-record rainfall, amounting to somewhere around 25-30 inches, and there were times when the creek's flow was nothing short of amazing. It rose to the point that, in addition to some pretty significant landslides requiring CalTrans work to clean up, sections of the road gave way, including a small portion next to a house on the Brea side, and, more notably, enough of a section between Canyon Hills Road and Canon Lane, on the Chino Hills side, that the road was closed for a couple of weeks for repairs.
Two remarkable consequences came of that closure: 1) traffic had to be rerouted through the "exclusive" community of Oak Tree Estates, which caused no small amount of consternation from some of the good folks there who objected to "outsiders" entering their little slice of paradise and 2) we, who had just moved into the area less than a year previously, were astounded at just how quiet it could be with motorcycles with ample pipeage (not a word, I guess), cars with equally ample enhanced muffler and exhaust systems, and assorted vehicles testing the road's curves and speed limits unable to completely pass through. In fact, we'd just, a few months before, added a second set of windows to the original windows in the bedrooms, so this was really something else--for as long as it lasted.

Anyway (focus, focus), back to the creek. That winter was really something special, in terms of seeing and hearing so much water rushing through. I often wonder if the native American Indians, either Tongva/Gabrieliño or more inland tribes, made good use of the creek and its eastern variations, including one that follows the northern side of Carbon Canyon Road in a natural form until it passes under Chino Hills Parkway and becomes the ubiquitous concrete flood control channel, in addition to having a narrow trail that wound its way through the canyon. I have to think that whatever trail was there is pretty much the route used by in the Spanish and Mexican eras and into the American period and now used by the highway and that the creek is mainly the same channel as it was for who knows how many thousands (or millions, sorry creationists and Bishop Usher--check your King James Version Bible history for that diversion) of years. I wonder, too, if that water was potable (drinkable) and when that would have stopped, thanks to "progress."
There actually is, in Sleepy Hollow, an old concrete stairway with a iron pipe rail that takes you down to the creek. I've only been a couple of times, mainly to pick up trash along the road and down below it there, and stood by the creek, but it sure is a cool thing to stand there and watch and hear the creek flow. Many of the homes that flank the creek were built as weekend cabins from 1915 onward and some of them have decks, paths, or other structures overlooking or adjacent to the creek. I'm the other side of the highway, so have to content myself with looking out a window, usually the one right next to the computer I'm typing this on, to get a glimpse of and sometimes to hear the flow.

Carbon Creek is officially under the auspices of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and their flood control section. I've often thought about the fact that it would be good to see if the Corps would either send personnel or let volunteers go down and clear brush, remove trash, and otherwise improve the creek so that its beauty and picturesque character could be made to stand out even more. Someday, I'll make that call and find out.
Until then, the creek remains a hidden treasure, or perhaps more accurately for most, an oversight. Which is too bad, because how often in this megalopolis called the Los Angeles Region (or my favorite, the SMSA--Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, I think is how it goes) do you find natural (or semi) water courses, much less ones that have water most of the year (even if it is runoff and, therefore, probably pretty nasty!)
So, there it is and, next time you drive through, try and locate the creek at some point between the S-curve near the Carriage Hills subdivision and then westward down to Carbon Canyon Regional Park. Maybe imagine the Tongva, or one of the rancheros ó vaqueros, stopping for a drink, or an early Sleepy Hollow cabin owner out for a weekend far from the madding crown of Los Angeles enjoying the trickling brook as a Model T or Packard rumbled by every few hours, or a hippie finding a spiritual awakening (or not) by its banks back in the Summer of Love. At least give it a thought because I'm not sure too many people do. And that is a shame.

20 June 2008

Support Local Small Business, Part Deux

Someday, I'll get this blogging thing down better. Here is contact info for Sol de Mexico and Party House:
Sol de Mexico
150 Olinda Pl.
Brea, CA 92823
(714) 993-3904
Party House #2
1084 Carbon Canyon Rd.
Chino Hills, CA 91709
(714) 996-9120
Now, give 'em a chance and try 'em out!

Support Local Small Business!

The rustic charm of Carbon Canyon generally is appealing to most of us who live in the canyon. For many, the idea of living here means that there isn't the sameness of tract homes, strip malls and shopping centers, and other amenities of typical suburban life. Visitors are also drawn to the canyon because of its beauty and the sense of a temporary escape from the amped-up world around it. Sometimes, though, "chain store culture" means that the local small business faces real uphill challenges for survival.
Here are two local small businesses in Carbon Canyon that deserve the patronage of residents and visitors:
Party House Liquor Store

The building may not look like much and there have been owners who haven't exactly abided laws against underage purchases of alcohol, but Kenny, the relatively new owner of the store, needs our support! In a world where an AM/PM, 7-Eleven, and others of their ilk are nearly on every corner, the little local market like the Party House adds to the small-town like environment of Sleepy Hollow.
The Party House is located on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) about 1/10 of a mile east of the Orange/San Bernardino County line. If you're going through during a morning rush hour commute, take a moment to stop for a cup of coffee. If you're on the way home at night, pick up a soft drink or some ice cream for dessert. Weekend visitors on a "Sunday drive" can stop in for snacks and beverages. Sleepy Hollow residents can find the old "milk and bread" pickup right there in your own backyard. It's also a cool place to meet some of your neighbors and talk about the latest accident on the highway!
Why send your money to a corporate behemoth when you can help Kenny keep his small business dreams alive? Is it a little more expensive than the chains? Sure, but can't you afford a few cents extra to make a little statement. Plus, Kenny is a friendly guy and you're not likely to find that at the chain stores!
Sol de Mexico Restaurant
This Mexican restaurant in Olinda Village (enter from Carbon Canyon Road on Olinda Drive and hang a right into the shopping center parking lot--the restaurant is about half-way down) is a real treat. The food is cooked to order and is delicious. Especially recommended is the Camarones a la diabla (Shrimp with a spicy red sauce) and the fish soup is another favorite, but you really can't go wrong with anything on the menu. The salsa is also really good and the tortilla chips are home made. Prices are reasonable and the service is friendly and good. On a warm evening, there is a nice patio to enjoy.
Once again, folks, here's a family-owned small business that is really deserving of your patronage! Sadly, the rest of the shopping center is virtually deserted, except for a medical office or two, a small storefront church, and a real estate office. But, let's see if we can keep Sol de Mexico open and thriving!
Sol de Mexico is, however, a great Mexican restaurant. Try it and then leave me a response.

19 June 2008

Now for Something Completely More Positive!

One of the best features in the Carbon Canyon area, bar none, is accessibility to Chino Hills State Park, a true wonder of diverse open space and natural resources in the midst of suburban sprawl. The western portion of the park is directly accessible from the canyon in two locations: next to Carbon Canyon Regional Park on the south side of Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) and from the residential tract of Olinda Village to the north of the highway.

The hiker and mountain biker will find many great trails with panoramic views of the surrounding area, excursions into such canyons as Telegraph and Aliso, and a host of surprises including seasonal streams, the occasional sighting of wildlife (such as deer, coyotes, and, once in a great while, mountain lions), and other notable features.

I've hiked about a dozen times in the park since I moved to Chino Hills in 1997 (I lived near the eastern entrance to the park off Sapphire Road near Soquel Canyon Parkway) and have always found something new to appreciate about this special place.

Still, it is sad to have to look south from Aliso Canyon and, in some portions, have to gaze at tract homes built on a prominent ridge line, courtesy of the City of Yorba Linda. It is also going to be highly unfortunate if the Canyon Crest development (see the blog of 18 June and links to the City of Brea and Hills for Everyone for more) of 166 luxury homes is built to the east of the portion of the park that is now adjacent to Olinda Village.
There is also some controversy about a proposal by the Metropolitan Water District to build a second access road to their treatment plant in the hills abutting the park's southwestern side. This road, proposed in exchange for help in building a visitor center off Carbon Canyon Road, next to Carbon Canyon Regional Park, is vehemently opposed by Hills for Everyone (again, see their link for more) and other environmental groups.
Finally, the latest budgetary woes in California due to the worsening economy (remember, though, it is not a recession) have led to the threat of the closure of many state parks. So far, it appears as though Chino Hills State Park will not be closed yet, but the question of raising revenue (yes, that obscenity called the tax) for all public services, including our state parks, really needs to be seriously addressed.
I should add that the state did complete some important improvements, including an expanded campground in the northeastern section of the park, that make for a good local weekend trip. Occasionally, park rangers have held talks about wildlife and other park features that are great for kids.
All in all, the park is an incredibly important resource in a metropolitan area that has as little open and recreational space as the greater Los Angeles Region. Anyone who appreciates the outdoors can only benefit greatly from a day-long or weekend visit to the park.
Check out the links in this blog for more!

Fire in the Canyon

In mid-May, a tree branch snapped a power line on Fairway Drive across from the entrance to Western Hills Golf Course, causing a grassfire that threatened the two hilltop homes on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road near the beginning of the S-curve.
Interestingly, a surge traveled to the end of line where Carbon Canyon Rd. meets Chino Hills Parkway and started a second fire, which charred much of the hillside on the south side of the Carbon Canyon.

What's curious about this is that, for all the attention paid to the hazard of tree branches getting too close to power lines by the fire department and Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council, including fire department inspections of my house weeks prior to the fire, that section had, it appears, not been inspected and flagged.

Typically, fire season is about the first of June, but with our current drought conditions is stands to reason that the fire season should be moved up significantly.
An irony is that just days before the fire, a meeting was held across from the origin of the fire at the clubhouse at Western Hills to discuss the risks. Kudos to the City of Chino Hills, the fire department, and others for holding the meeting, but this fire is a stark reminder that the important steps already taken (including providing for two emergency exits out of the canyon in new housing developments--an important improvement) are not enough.

Action needs to be taken sooner to clear brush, remove branches from in and around power lines, creating fire breaks, and addressing other issues.

We're seeing great improvement in fire protection, thanks to local authorities and residents, but, given the severity of the drought and the amount of dry fuel existing in the canyon, we've got a way to go yet!

Speed Trap Alert--Part III

OK, this is the last time I'll address this topic (hopefully.)
Westbound drivers on Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142): there was a 45mph sign just as you turn onto the road from Chino Hills Parkway, but, as of this morning, it isn't there. There isn't a sign until you pass Carriage Hills Rd. and it is a 45mph sign, followed by another one just past Canon Ln. From there, you meet a 35mph sign as you reach Sleepy Hollow. After crossing into Brea there is a 45mph sign and the limit remains this until you descend from Olinda Village, at which point the limit is 50. Once you enter the 6-lane portion of the road at Olinda Ranch, just a short distance before the road ends at Valencia Ave., the limit reverts to 45.

So, it would be interesting to know what happened to that first sign on the Chino Hills side; if there'll be a replacement; AND, how deputies would patrol that area under what limit.

There you go!

18 June 2008

It's Only 166 More Homes!

If you've driven Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) and have enjoyed its rustic beauty, prepare for some of that to change, if the City of Brea approves the Canyon Crest housing development!
This 166-home tract of luxury homes on large lots is proposed for the north side of Carbon Canyon between Olinda and the Orange/San Bernardino counties line.
Even though the recirculated draft Environmental Impact Report (yes, this means it has gone through a few versions over nearly a decade) filed by the developer indicates several significant, unavoidable adverse (how many adjectives do you need to know this does not sound good!) impacts relating to the loss of ever-shrinking oak and walnut woodlands; the airborne pollutants from one year (yes, a whole twelve months) of grading; and, surprise, on traffic for Carbon Canyon Road, which is well beyond its capacity--DESPITE THIS, the planning staff for Brea has recommended the city issue a "Statement of Overriding Considerations." This would effectively green-light the project.

This is even after dozens of Brea residents (and one Chino Hills resident that I happen to know really well) spoke out vehemently against the project at a 22 April Planning Commission meeting. Meanwhile, there was one half-hearted endorsement of the development.

The matter was continued at the 13 May meeting and will be taken up again by the Planning Commission at its meeting next Tuesday, 24 June @ 7 p.m. in the council chambers at Brea City Hall (Birch and Randolph) adjacent to the Brea Mall.

If approved by the Commission, the matter can be appealed to the City Council. Someone (maybe that Chino Hills resident I know) should ask what I consider to be the $64 million question:
"Why is the city enabling this project through its statement of overriding considerations?"
If city staff, Planning Commission members, and City Council members are sworn to represent the City of Brea in what it does, AND if 98% of persons who spoke in public comment before the Commission disapproved of the project, meaning that the constituents of these city representatives have let their elected and staff officials know they DO NOT want this project to happen, why has the city apparently disregarded its constituency and given a helping hand to the developer, the Shopoff Group?
It seems obvious that the unavoidable significant adverse impacts cited in the EIR are enough to squash this project without any liability on the city. YET . . .
Does the City of Brea believe that this is a financially sound project for the city?
Does Brea believe that luxury homes will boost the image of the city?
Well, we don't yet know until someone within city government explains why the need to override significant environmental impacts AND the will of its citizens to get this project built is so necessary?

You know, I haven't even mentioned water! Even though the developer uses several-years old data to argue that there's plenty of water, we now are hearing (after 2007 was the driest year EVER since official records were begun in 1877 and 2008 was below average rainfall) that rationing is a very real possibility. Homes in the 6,000 square foot range on lots averaging near a half-acre are about the least water-friendly kinds of residences you'd want to consider building in our current situation, seems to me.

Finally, the main entrance for this development is intended for a part of Carbon Canyon Road at which there is a significant curve. Can you imagine the excitement when cars are trying to turn into this development from the road or vice-versa? Especially at night or when drivers are testing the limits of their motorcycles, cars and trucks. Brea police, fire, and EMT personnel are likely going to be kept pretty busy!
So, if anyone happens to read this before Tuesday--click the links I've provided to the City of Brea, where you can do a site search for "Canyon Crest" and read all about it and for "Hills for Everyone," a great non-profit group that seeks to preserve what little is left of the Puente-Chino Hills wildlife corridor.
If you care about what this project portends, come to the Planning Commission meeting next Tuesday or stay tuned for developments at the City Council level.
Oh, and don't forget--there are proposals for an additional 114 homes on the Chino Hills side, too!
But, don't worry, that would only be 280 more homes in Carbon Canyon (even considering the depressed housing market, the potential sounds depressing!)

CORRECTION: Speed Trap Warning!

Perhaps a blogger should do a little fact-checking and research before posting! AND, perhaps not trust an authority figure, such as a Sheriff's deputy, before said fact-checking, research, and posting!
So, now for the correction:
East-bound drivers on Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) should note that the speed limit is 45 from the road's beginnings at Valencia Avenue in Brea through Sleepy Hollow and past Western Hills Golf Course. The limit drops to 40 when you ascend the S-curve at the Carriage Hills community entrance. After you descend the curve, however, and begin to enter the straighter portion of the road a short distance past Old Carbon Canyon Road, there is, after all, the 50mph sign.
The deputy told me the limit was 45 from the golf course to Carbon Canyon Road's end at Chino Hills Parkway. NOT TRUE, AFTER ALL.
As for westbound drivers from Chino Hills Parkway, the posted speed limit is 45. I'll doublecheck tomorrow (there's my caveat!), but I don't believe there is a speed limit change until you get to Sleepy Hollow, at which point the posted limit is 35mph. Once you leave Sleepy Hollow, Chino Hills, and San Bernardino County, you're back to 45mph. When you reach Olinda on the Brea side, there is a 50mph sign on the downhill stretch as you head to Olinda Ranch, Carbon Canyon Regional Park, and the road's end at Valencia.
BUT, REMEMBER: this only really seems to matter for those established, never-changing times when deputies actually patrol the road. Otherwise, the de facto speed limit seems to be whatever the driver decides applies to them!

17 June 2008

Speed Trap Warning!

OK, folks, there is some selfishness to my creating this blog (isn't that a given in the blogosphere anyway?), based on some of my concerns about what is happening with Carbon Canyon.
This post deals with a little issue on traffic enforcement.
First: eastbound drivers on Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142), please be aware that the 50mph zone from Old Carbon Canyon Road (at the base of the S-curve) to Chino Hills Parkway has evidently been changed! I had the pleasure this morning to be pulled over by a San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy when I was going 55mph, only to be told that 1) I was going 64mph, according to the deputy (who then wrote on my warning [yes, warning!] that I was going 60, after I vehemently protested that I was going slower than that) and 2) the speed limit is now 45mph.
The problem is: CalTrans removed the 50mph sign while doing some general work a couple of weeks ago, but didn't replace the sign with a new one. The governing sign is way back near Western Hills Golf Course, at least a mile or mile-and-a-half further west.
Second: remember that, even though speeding and reckless driving through the canyon is pretty rampant on weekends and weekend evenings, patrols on the San Bernardino County/Chino Hills side only occur between about 9 and 10am and 4 to 4:30pm (more or less) on weekdays.
The lesson? If you're a regular user of Carbon Canyon Road (142), watch your speed only during those times, because there is just about no other time that a police presence is on that road.
I've had several conversations with Chino Hills city officials and the traffic sergeant at the Sheriff's station, reminding them of the several fatalities, many injuries, and regular run of property damage that has occurred, most at night or on weekends, to no avail (hence, this blog!) The stated reason is: not enough deputies and money to staff more patrols.
The fact is, however, that if there were a spate of robberies in the canyon and property was at stake, you can be sure the deafening roar of residents would get something done on that score.
Sadly, it will take a major accident and the serious injury or death of an innocent victim to get anything done. Why the city, county and state would take that risk is beyond me, but being reactive, instead of proactive, is the order of the day.

If anyone reading this feels compelled to respond, send something on. I will archive comments and save them for sharing with whoever in city government is interested. Who knows, maybe this blog could have an impact!

A Tentative First Step

Tonight is my first post for the Carbon Canyon Chronicle blog. I've lived in the canyon for four years and find living here to be a great experience overall. Living three miles from the nearest stoplight, store, tract home and other "conveniences" of modern suburban life is a great appeal. I am intrigued by the history of the canyon from what must have been Indian trails from the coast to inland regions, to early Spanish and Mexican travel through the canyon, to American-era use and settlement. I also enjoy the great diversity of people and homes found within the canyon, as well as the rugged canyon walls, density of trees and plants, and the occasional deer, coyote, and mountain lion. At the same time, other consequences of these "conveniences" find their way in, mainly in the form of proposed residential tracts, increased traffic, more reckless driving, fire hazards, and other threats to the well-being of this special place. This blog proposes to discuss it all, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the timelessness and the signs of "progress." It will be greatly appreciated if those of you who stop by leave a comment or two about the canyon. The hope is simple: learn, appreciate, and, perhaps, take that knowledge and appreciation and take concrete action if your views and concerns, like mine, lead you to want to anything, however small it might appear, to help keep the canyon a special place for all who live in it, drive through it, and use it in whatever way they do.