07 August 2008

The Roadside Memorial: A Sobering Reminder

In my 4 1/2 years in the Canyon, there have been at least a half-dozen traffic fatalities on Carbon Canyon Road that I know of. One occurred the day we had our housewarming and guests coming from the O.C. side had to slog their way 1 to 1 1/2 hours through jammed traffic on the 57 and 60 to come around on the S. B. side because of the road closure. Another involved two Chino Hills teens who blew through the canyon in a Ferrari before crashing a few hundred feet near my house (I heard that one and it was nasty.) Another involved a guy who went off the road ascending Horseshoe Bend just east of Western Hills Country Club. A fifth was the motorcyclist roaring down the Bend east at Old Carbon Canyon Road and went under a delivery truck. I know I'm missing a couple more, but you get the point.

By the way, let's please not say that the road is dangerous, something that often is stated, but it's the people who behave recklessly not an inanimate slab of asphalt. And, sometimes, it's easy to be critical, cynical, judgmental (something about being human, I guess) about people who make a fateful decision and wind up cutting their own lives short.

Today, though, I finally decided to stop and photograph the two remaining roadside memorials marking where people have died on the road (there was a third for the guy I mentioned above who went off the road near the Horseshoe Bend, but CalTrans did some slope work there and removed it.) The one above occurred, I think, before I moved into the Canyon and I don't know the circumstances. It could have been an accident that didn't involve intoxicants or high speed, but usually that's not the case. Still, they were teens, kids, who had families and friends who obviously loved them enough to not just put up these remembrances, but to maintain them. You'd have to be pretty insensitive to not take a look at these (although who really does, other than those who created and tend to them?) and not feel something for those left behind.

Additionally, for every person who has died in an accident in the Canyon, there are many who have been injured and there has been property damage, as well. I spoke the other night to a resident who says that, in ten years, he's made 20 or 30 calls to 9-1-1 relating to accidents, many of which have gone over the side of the road. New guardrails have cut into the calls, because cars bounce off the rails (though there will be the occasional collision with other cars on the road to contend with.)

The first year or two that I lived in Sleepy Hollow, I made perhaps a dozen 911 or dispatch calls. Initially, I'd hear the screech and/or crash, leap up with heart racing and run for the phone to make that call. Eventually, and it's kind of weird to put it this way, I got used to it. Now, if I hear something, I'll peer out the window and casually walk over and punch (909) 465-6638 (memorized after the third or fourth call) for dispatch or 9-1-1 and calmly make my report.

I still believe that if the cities of Brea and Chino Hills and the state took the matter of traffic behavior on the road more seriously, there could be mitigation. Unfortunately, it might take an innocent victim, or a pedestrian (yes, we do have a few of those), or a bicyclist before notice is taken, but why wait?
The other memorial photo is at the bottom of the general blog screen.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog!

Paul said...

Hello "Anonymous,"

Thanks and come back and visit the CCC soon!

Anonymous said...

On the 28th of this month, it will be 3 years since my husband and I departed to retire in Oregon, but we did leave a large piece of our hearts in quaint Sleepy Hollow, up on Hay Drive. In addition to our possessions, we took with us irreplaceable memories of some of the last vestiges of nature in SoCal; heart stopping views of Mt. Baldy and the accompanying peaks; melancholy smiles created by coyote song and free summer night frog concerts emanating from the tiny creek. Most and above all, we will always cherish having met some incredible friends, staunch supporters of the environment, and the lynchpin of Sleepy Hollow, Dan Briney himself.
Via one of those valuable friends, we now have been made aware of your amazing blog. Having quickly created a shortcut to the desktop, we will eagerly visit you to keep informed on canyon life.
Thank you for such a treasure in a world of sensationalism and "all about me" media.
Ricky and Harvey
of Salem Oregon

Paul said...

Hello "Anonymous",

First, thanks a bunch for the nice comments about the blog and I hope you'll continue to enjoy it.

I really liked your statement about Sleepy Hollow and what it meant to you, so I created a post a few minutes ago to highlight it.

Will look for you again soon!

Michael Collins said...

Hi Paul,

Thank you for the linking of our Chino Hills cleanup page on www.EnviroReporter.com as this is an issue of great importance to folks in your community. It is not, however, a "view" as listed, connoting an opinion but rather fact-based multi-award-winning reporting. Your readers can judge for themselves by going to http://enviroreporter.com/chinohillscleanup.html

Again, thank you for this very interesting blog and I invite you and your readers to send any tips regarding Aerojet Chino Hills to us by going to our contact page: http://www.enviroreporter.com/contact.html

Michael Collins

Paul said...

Hello Michael,

Thank you for your comments. First, I've amended the link caption to, hopefully, more accurately reflect your concern. Second, I'm creating a separate post to bring more attention to your work on this. Before moving to the Canyon, I lived in Los Serranos Ranch, just a short distance east of the Aerojet site. I was somewhat aware of the reports of illnesses, but obviously gleaned much from your article. Thanks and keep in touch!