29 November 2009

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #3443

With apologies to "Anonymous," who commented on my "On the Skids" post from the 19th that I need to "get over it" concerning what he or she determines is only a "complain, complain, complain" function of the series, here is the latest in the ongoing battle between driver and sign on Carbon Canyon Road.

This incident, on the eastbound side of the S-curve in Chino Hills, seems to have occurred sometime in the last four or five days, and is at least the third time this particular directional indicator has been dislodged from its post in the last couple of years.

The plain fact of the matter is that I would love to report more on the natural beauty and other positive features of the Canyon (and, of course, will; I promise), but posts that struck "Anonymous" as nothing more than useless complaining (and I fully acknowledge that what I consider to be the documentation of events like this might be useless in terms of official reponse) involve incidents that actually impact and degrade that natural beauty.

As do the housing projects that continue to be approved and built there . . . as did last November's wildfire which burned the entirety of the Brea side . . . as does the graffiti that appears from time to time. . .

If I don't cover (that is, complain about) these events, which have direct and important negative consequences to the natural features of the Canyon and, if all I do is deal with the natural and historical aspects of the Canyon, then I'm only looking at a narrowed aspect of the place that I've come to love in my short time of living here.

The truth is that I would be more than happy to not have to post incidents like this if I thought that all they were were isolated incidents that only affected those drivers and those signs. But, they don't. They are part of a problem of real significance that should concern those who live in and drive through the Canyon, and those responsible for its governance.

I agree with "Anonymous" that people will not slow down on their own, but only to the extent that this condition will continue in the absence of some meaningful enforcement. It is reasonable to hope that officials in Brea and Chino Hills use due diligence in making driving on Carbon Canyon Road as safe as is within their power. The problem is that they are not making that effort.

As to complaining, I, like "Anonymous" have tried raising the matter with officialdom, though it has been quite a while because I felt like the responses were crystal clear that there was no need or desire to change what was being done (or not) from an enforcement perspective. Maybe it's time to try again, if for no other reason than making some effort to do something about a problem, as opposed to just "complaining" about it.

So, believe me "Anonymous," I'd much rather not spend the little free time I actually have complaining about traffic problems in the Canyon (or housing issues, or fires, or graffiti), but I only do it because I care about where I live. That's the whole reason for this blog, the vast majority of which is, after all, about the beauty and history of the place.

But, I do want to thank you, because your comment motivates me to make sure that tomorrow I make some calls and send some e-mails and try to do something beyond complaining (or, as I would prefer to phrase it, "documenting" or "reporting".)

Next post: no complaints.

Postscript (1 a.m., Monday morning the 30th.) As a first step in "doing something", here is the text of an e-mail sent just now to the Chino Hills City Council:

Dear Council Members,
I wanted to bring attention to an issue that will be all-too-familiar with all of you: dangerous driving and traffic accidents on Carbon Canyon Road.

Within the last few weeks alone, there have been a half-dozen incidents involving cars that have gone off the highway and crashed into public and private property or overturned onto the road. Four of these events have occurred in Chino Hills, including an overturned vehicle in Sleepy Hollow a few evenings ago, two damaged CalTrans directional signs on the S-curve between Carriage Hills and Summit Ranch, and a car that crossed the highway and left the road east of Summit Ranch.

While, thankfully, there have been no serious injuries and no fatalities, the concern here is that any one of these incidents could easily lead to those results. I might add that, within that same period, I was nearly rear ended trying to make a left turn into my Sleepy Hollow neighborhood--this is the fifth time I've had to accelerate to avoid being hit in five and a half years of living in the Canyon. In that same time, though it has been quite a while since the last one, there have been at least eight or nine fatalities that I know of in the Canyon.

When I last contacted the Council by e-mail, about three years ago, I was referred to then-Community Services Director Michael Fleager. At that time, Mr. Fleager, who was professional and courteous, indicated that the morning and afternoon patrols for speeders were all that could be expected. Since that time, the economy has gone into recession, so I imagine that the explanation would likely be the same now and that financial considerations are even more restrictive of a change in policy.

Yet, these incidents and the many others that have happened since are about fundamental life-and-safety issues which form the primary reason for the government of our city. Surely, there is enough money in policing appropriations for a modicum of effort to patrol the Canyon periodically beyond the standard morning and afternoon scheduled times? Shouldn't there be ways for the city, Sheriff's Department and CalTrans to address what is obviously a recurring and potentially significant threat to those of us who live in and drive through Carbon Canyon? Will it take the serious injury or death of an innocent person, much less a reckless driver, to bring about even the most modest of changes in policy concerning the patrolling of Carbon Canyon Road? Doesn't it stand to reason that, as more development occurs in and around the Canyon, and more drivers use the highway, that incidents like the ones I've described will increase and thereby warrant a greater police presence?

When I was nearly rear-ended two weeks ago, my first thought was for my five and seven-year old sons who would have been most at risk in the event of a collision. Please give due consideration (and I'm sure the vast majority of Canyon residents would agree) for all of us who are potential victims of dangerous driving on Carbon Canyon Road.

Why wait until something terrible happens before acting?

Let's see what happens.


David said...

I like your "on the skids" posts.....I just dont see how people make these mistakes....hehe

CanyonNative said...

Those of us who have read your blog for quite a while recognize what a substantial contribution you make to understanding the benefits of living in Carbon Canyon and how fragile our remaining open space has become. Instead of accusing you of constant complaining, Anonymous should open his/her eyes to the threats to our canyon and work to mitigate them.

Paul said...

Hello David and Canyon Native, thanks for your comments. I'll just keep documenting and we'll see whether it has any effect or not!