29 January 2010

Kudos to CalTrans (Again)

A few days ago some of our Sleepy Hollow hoodlums who think it is really cool to imitate gang members by putting graffiti in their neighborhood were at it again (see the 11 June 2009 post which discusses when these same little ruffians tagged a larger portion of the Chino Hills portion of Carbon Canyon.)

Using astonishingly clever monikers like "142K", as in the highway number (get it?) and "Toker," which I believe stands for something, our little Canyon Crunksters marked up street signs along Carbon Canyon Road from the county line to Rosemary Lane.

After completing an online cleanup request with the Cal Trans District 8 office yesterday, I expected it would be several days before anything was done. Lo and behold, someone was out this morning cleaning the signs! The work is not done, or perhaps a sign or two were missed, but the response was rapid and effective.

So, kudos for CalTrans for the quick turnaround.

Meantime, there are some areas within Sleepy Hollow and off the highway tagged by our precious juvenile delinquents and a call was placed to the city's graffiti hotline on that one.

Oh, parents (or legal guardians,) where art thou?

Addendum: 12 February 2010

I received an e-mail from a District 8 maintenance supervisor a day or two ago thanking me for submitting the online request and letting me know what some of the details in the response were.  This just adds to my appreciation of what took place and I replied to that e-mail with further thanks.  It is a popular pastime for some to lambaste and ridicule government workers (and, yes, it is often justified), but I have to reiterate that I've made three maintenance requests in my six years in the Canyon and have had a quick and effective response each time.

28 January 2010

Post-Storm Views from Carbon Canyon

We had quite a week of rain a week back followed by a lighter storm on Tuesday. Consequently, the San Gabriel Mountains have had significant snow fall reaching to uncommonly low elevations.

In mid-December, there was a post here showing a small dusting of snow on Mount San Antonio (Baldy) after a couple days of precipitation. That can be compared to the heavier snowpack from the shots taken this morning from the S-curve on Carbon Canyon Road.

To date, rainfall totals have been around ten inches, four inches more than a "normal" year. After three bone-dry years, the wet weather is welcome, though the drought is far from over and we'll have to see how the rest of the rainy season fares.

So far, there has been some mudslide activity in the Canyon, particularly those steeper sections west of Olinda, but CalTrans has been staying on top of it and was running plows during the storms to keep debris off the road.

As for our hills, we will have a nice green carpet on the Chino Hills side and will have to see what pops up on the Brea portion that was charred by the fire of November 2008.

One of the cool aspects of heavy rain in the Canyon is the flow of water in Carbon [Canyon] Creek and when the precipitation was heaviest and traffic light, the roar of the creek was great to hear. It is still amazing that the creek is one of the few natural watercourses left in our region, with flood control having converted so many seasonal strams into concrete channels.

Incidentally, this morning on the way to school, my five-year old asked if that was a volcano in the distance, because he saw the cloud over Cucamonga Peak at the far right of the photos and thought it looked like one.

27 January 2010

Neighborhoods of Carbon Canyon, Part Seven: Carriage Hills

At a planning commission hearing in Chino Hills last year concerning the proposed Stonefield housing development, slated for an area north of Carbon Canyon Road and east of Fairway Drive in Carbon Canyon, Commissioner Karen Bristow pointed out to concerned citizens from the Carriage Hills development across the highway from the Stonefield site that she was part of many concerned citizens fighting the loss of prominent ridgelines and views when Carriage Hills was built in the late 1980s and 1990s. She was, of course, seeking to link the opposition of the folks in that development to Stonfield with good old fashioned NIMBYism.

Whether or not Commissioner Bristow was correct in that characterization, it is important to note that Carriage Hills was probably the first development in Carbon Canyon that attracted some widespread concern about the effects of housing tracts on the viability of the Canyon's lifestyle, environment and character.

It is also noteworthy that the tract was created just before the incorporation of Chino Hills, with one of the stated goals of the proponents of cityhood the desire for residents to control more of their own destiny, rather than leave matters purely to San Bernardino County.

Carriage Hills is a community of what could be described as executive homes, generally 2,500 square feet or larger on lots that tend to be around 10,000 square feet or more. Many have commanding views of the canyon and beyond to the Pomona Valley and to the San Gabriel Mountains and, in a few cases, there are some very large custom homes. One of these latter is prominently situated overlooking Carbon Canyon Road and is probably 5,000 square feet or bigger. Homes in the neighborhood are well-maintained and are attractive in appearance. As a community, Carriage Hills has a homeowners' association, although it appears that the only maintenance is for common landscape areas, as there are no amenities such as pools, tennis courts, a clubhouse or others found in, for example, Summit Ranch.

There is an interesting anomaly within the general boundaries of the subdivision; namely, a remnant of the old Carbon Canyon Road, which can be seen veering off to the south and east of the current highway path when at the summit of the S-curve as you head east, has some older custom homes, one dating back to the 1920s or 1930s, along it. This remarkable isolated stretch of Old Carbon Canyon Road would almost certainly not be considered by its residents to be part of Carriage Hills but is worth pointing out nonetheless.

Interestingly, this Old Carbon Canyon Road terminates at a dirt road not open to regular traffic and drops down a hill before meeting up with an unconnected portion of Old Carbon Canyon Road that then meets up with the current highway to the northeast. There are also a few custom homes along this latter stretch of Old Carbon Canyon Road, which has an entrance into the Carriage Hills development, the other gateway is on the downslope of Carbon Canyon Road from the aforementioned summit.

Residents of Carriage Hills undoubtedly prize their substantial homes on large well-kept lots and enjoy generally lightly-traveled streets and the privacy and quiet location of most residences. As said before, many houses have expansive views.

Still, as Commissioner Bristow pointed out, Carriage Hills also marked the changing landscape of Carbon Canyon and Chino Hills generally, as being one of the first (if not the first) subdivisions to spark protests about the future direction of the city and the transformation of the Canyon, which has lately become a much bigger issue.

In all fairness to the folks in Carriage Hills, however, it must be pointed out that, in the late 1980s, when work began there, most of Chino Hills did not exist and Carbon Canyon Road was lightly traveled and was not, for some years to come, the freeway alternate to Orange County that it now is.

One could make a strong argument that whatever might be said about ridgelines and views, which are very legitimate concerns (even under extremely lax, if not non-existent, county development standards), Carriage Hills was hardly the threat to the viability of the Canyon that development from this point forward will be.

There is only so much traffic the road can handle, only so much infrastructure demands that can be placed, only so much more rapidly disappearing open space that can be lost. Rather than blaming Carriage Hills residents for being concerned about new development 20 years after its creation, when standards and practices of planning have changed greatly, Planning Commission and City Council members ought to be far less concerned about perceived NIMBYism and more focused on how much more future development the Canyon can take.

Carriage Hills and all of its forbears are here to stay and that cannot be changed, but something could still be done about future development, if not by law than at least from sentiment. In other words, city leaders could be more forthright about the undeniable effects of more houses and do what can be done with the limited powers of mitigation available to them, even if stopping projects is legally not possible. That, however, is a debate about CEQA powers that might be better saved for another post.

Residents of Carriage Hills should not have to feel guilty for being concerned about future Carbon Canyon development when their community was approved a quarter-century ago, a whole different era in planning and development.

21 January 2010

The Carbon Canyon Area on an 1877 Map

The several images reproduced here are from a copy of an 1877 map of southern California. The area representing Carbon Canyon includes some of the nine parcels marked as "Coal Mining Claim," which almost certainly gave the Canyon its name. The ones within the Canyon would appear to be the three further east, including the area that is the burned-out "Manely Friends" stable and house and then the three lower parcels closer to the old La Vida Mineral Springs and Olinda Village.

The dotted line coming from the lower right on an angle, then moving straight vertically, a jog to the left, a short vertical and then an angle off to the right, before making two more jogs to the limits of the new town of Pomona is the boundary between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

Note that Orange County was not created until 1889 with the northern boundary running on a direct horizontal (east-west) line from the intersection of that county line where it meets the upper junction of two sections marked "1" and "2" and continuing westward to the property of "M. L. Barrows."

On the county line, the point at which the border goes from a straight vertical line to an angle moving to the southeast is where the boundary of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino comes in from the east.

To the west of the county line is today's Firestone Boy Scout Reservation. This is where the map shows the property of W. H. Swan. William H. Swan was a native of Canada, born there about 1830, who settled in Los Angeles in 1872 and appears to have purchased this land three years later. In the 1880 census, Swan is living there with his wife Harriet and children Clara, Lillie and William, Jr. In September 1895 Swan died, leaving his wife and a daughter living on the ranch. By 1910, however, Harriet Swan had moved into Los Angeles and died two years later at the home of her daughter Lillie St. Clair in what was then called the community of Lemon, now the City of Walnut.

Among the Swan neighbors were members of the Lugo family, owners at various times of the Rancho San Antonio (Bell Gardens area), Rancho San Bernardino, and the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, and the Ybarras who owned the Rancho Rincon de la Brea, in present-day Rowland Heights and portions of City of Industry. The Ybarra name can be seen on some of the details, including Luis and Jesus Ybarra.

Also nearby were Wilson Beach and George Butler, owners of most of today's Diamond Bar, which was public land under the Spanish and Mexican rancho system. These public area were for common grazing of the cattle from surrounding ranchos.

To the north and west of the Beach and Butler holdings are the lands of Alvin T. Currier. His property, bought in the 1870s, were from the Rancho Los Nogales, granted in 1840 to José Linares, then passed on to his widow, Maria de Jesus Garcia, and then sold to Ricardo Vejar, who built an adobe house on the ranch. It was from the Vejar family that Currier, a native of Maine who was a Los Angeles County Sheriff and California state senator, bought his property. This is now mainly in the City of Industry, north and west of the 57 and 60 Freeways and east of Valley Boulevard, but also including part of Diamond Bar as far west as near today's Lemon Avenue. The former Currier Ranch house was moved a few years ago to the grounds of the Phillips Mansion, a City of Pomona historic landmark, while the land has been largely converted to industrial uses. Real estate developer Ed Roski of Majestic Realty is planning to build a football stadium for an NFL team on a portion of the Currier Ranch. Currier's nephew Edward Hunter, who managed the ranch, married Clara Swan.

Also of note is the furthest north section of land marked "W. Rowland." William Rowland (1846-1926) was the son of John Rowland, original owner with William Workman of the massive 48,790-acre Rancho La Puente, stretching from roughly the 57 Freeway to Interstate 605 east to west and from Interstate 10 and the 60 Freeway from north to south. Rowland was a two-time Los Angeles County Sheriff, best known for capturing bandido Tiburcio Vasquez in 1874 and for forming the Puente Oil Company with William Lacy of Los Angeles about a decade later. Rowland built an adobe on this property for employees running cattle and this dwelling is a City of Walnut historic landkark in Lemon Creek Bicentennial Park.

Closer to Carbon Canyon to the west, there are two parcels, one appearing to be "Lambrachs" and the other "M. L. Barrows" that appear to be just west of today's Valencia Avenue and heading west toward where the 57 Freeway is. Between those sections and a grouping of five coal mining parcels are two sections that have names that are unreadable. These would seem to be located in today's Olinda Ranch area at the western mouth of Carbon Canyon.

19 January 2010

Further Exchanges About the Art of Navigating Carbon Canyon Road

I thought it would be better to take these very interesting comments to the last entry and make them part of a new post for two reasons: first, they are from people who clearly care about what happens in Carbon Canyon and second, here are examples of blog exchanges in which the respective parties don't call each other names and go off on each other, which is all too common on the blogosphere. So, to the two anonymi (?), thanks for keeping to the issue and not making it personal.

Here is the thread:

Anonymous said...
How does the person that spoke about slow drivers suppose a person is supposed to make a turn onto any of the side streets without slowing down? Also if I choose to drive the speed limit I would appreciate it if I did not have someone tailgating me. I would definitely appreciate a police presence in the Canyon we pay taxes just like everyone else and deserve to have the peace and safety of the Canyon maintained.
January 17, 2010 9:34 PM

Anonymous said...
Please... Speeding in and of itself is not necessarily that dangerous. When the speed limit dropped unreasonably from 45 to 35 a few months ago, does that mean it would have been dangerous to continue to drive 45? Of course not. That drop in the speed limit probably resulted from both residents complaining that the cars drive too fast through the canyon, and a money-hungry government looking for more revenue from traffic citations.Also, realistically officers are not likely to pull over tailgaters in the canyon, whether or not there is a police presence. They're likely to pull over people who ARE in fact driving safely, but happen to be going several mph over the speed limit (and I already established that driving the speed limit does not necessarily mean driving more safely, especially in comparison to a hesitant, timid driver who does drive at or under the speed limit). Though I'm sure tailgaters have been cited in the canyon, it's easier and safer to pull over someone who is not being tailgated (someone who is speeding) then it is to pull over someone in a long line of tailgaters. People (including officers) are bound to tailgate, and a police presence won't change that. Also, most people tailgate during rush hour, yet I almost never see accidents at that time... Bumpers on the side of the road do not necessarily mean accidents caused by tailgating.Furthermore I don't deny drunk driving happens, but if the drivers are drunk, why do you think they would be reasonable about where they pull over. When the car to be cited pulls over, the officer stops his vehicle too. Sober drivers may choose poor places to pull over also, just from anxiety resulting from the situation. Thus it would be better and safer for officers to look for drunk and dangerous drivers near the entrances to the canyon, as I mentioned last time.
January 18, 2010 1:47 AM

Anonymous said...
I'm a little surprised at the comment one of the posters left about my post... If a driver who is speeding has to make a turn, then of course he or she signals, breaks prior to the turn, and makes sure his or her vehicle is in the proper gear. Breaking during curves can be very dangerous; it is actually safer to accelorate or lay off the gas coming into a curve than it is to break during one.Most drivers slow up around Olinda Village and the mobile home parks (I certainly do since the speed limit is 45 and the visibility is poor for those residents). Now they're getting a traffic signal. It's not that hard for competent drivers to turn into and out of most other communities, either because visibility is good or drivers are forced to slow down drastically by the curve of the road. Even Sleepy Hollow isn't bad once you get a sense of timing for the oncoming traffic, and it's even easier at night when you can see headlights from oncoming traffic before you actually see the vehicles. I think the people who have it worst are those who must turn into or directly from the parking areas of their homes. If I see someone who needs to get out or make a turn during rush hours, I will stop traffic to let them do so, as will many others.
January 18, 2010 2:08 AM

Anonymous said...
Some more thoughts, since I was tired last night and didn't explain this well enough: 1) People have already died on the canyon. Luckily fatalities are rare. It's a winding, poorly lit road with only one lane in each direction; it is very easy for incompetent (not necessarily speeding or impaired) drivers to lose control of their vehicles, especially at night when it gets foggy and oncoming vehicles have blindingly bright lights.2) I frequently drive the canyon at times when drunk drivers are most likely to be on the road, and have NEVER seen anyone driving who appeared to be impaired (though I have seen lots of incompetent drivers). I have seen police officers on the scene of accidents in the canyon at that time, I don't KNOW those accidents were caused by speed or intoxication.3) As I mentioned a few days ago, officers DO heavily patrol the nearest bars to the canyon, and the Brea police patrol near the canyon's Brea entrance. Chino Hills Parkway is not usually patrolled at night at the canyon's entrance, but is patrolled by the 71 and Shamrock's (a bar on Chino Hills Parkway). So, steps are already being taken to catch impaired driving before any person or property gets hurt.4) But you might say, "It's not enough." OK, well look at downtown Fullerton and Brea. Those areas are swarming with cops. Yet, accidents and fatalities still happen. So do drunk driving, speeding, and tailgating. A strong police presence is not a cure-all, and may not even significantly reduce unsafe driving.5) I agree that Carbon Canyon needs to be preserved. As I indicated last time, too many people use the road as a shortcut. These people take their bad driving off of the freeways and onto a road that was never meant to handle all that traffic. They carelessly toss their trash out of their windows, and most certainly contribute to air and water pollution. Housing developments only contribute to the problem, and the city of Chino Hills profits from it. So I certainly wouldn't trust the city to preserve the canyon, though do trust the city to profit from more traffic citations that do little, if anything, to help.
January 18, 2010 4:58 PM

Let me make a further contribution to this, as well:

I totally agree that speeding is not, in itself, a dangerous driving behavior--to a point. I drive at between 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit in most places and I think a sizable majority of drivers do, too. It is EXCESSIVE speed that is the problem and, naturally, the definition of "excessive" depends on the road, weather conditions, traffic patterns and other variables.

Accidents are caused, as we know, by many different factors other than excessive speeding and chemical impairment. Relatively new ones include cell phone conversations and texting. I will admit that it is possible that timid, slow drivers can cause accidents. Still, there is no doubt that excessive speeding and chemical impairment are major factors in a great many accidents occurring here in the Canyon and elsewhere.

Once again, there is no excuse for tailgating--it is an inherently dangerous behavior, whether the person doing it is "right" or not about slow drivers ahead of them. Besides, people have every right to drive the speed limit, though, believe me, I get as irritated as just about anyone by people puttering along in the Canyon below the posted limit when they don't have to be. Still, riding their posteriors is not the answer, nor is it inevitable that people have to do it.

As we all know, people tailgate or pass when we're driving over the speed limit. They also do so when people are trying to turn off the road into sidestreets--I've been nearly hit at least five times when stopped (with signal engaged well in advance) at Rosemary Lane to make a left turn since I moved here and only avoided being hit each time by carefully watching and then quickly accelerating when I saw that drivers were too close.

I fail to see how braking on curves can be dangerous unless you are excessively speeding. To do so when going so slowly that you don't need to is unnecessary, but I can't see how braking on curves can itself cause accidents. Moreover, while coasting around curves at a speed that allows for it is smart for preventing needless wear to brake pads, I'd love to know whether the Auto Club or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would actually advocate accelerating on a curve!

Incidentally, the brief lowering of speed limits last summer (which, indeed, was strange) was by CalTrans (which just issued a statement in December that there will be no reduction after all.) This was opposed by Chino Hills on the complaint of citizens. But, it was Chino Hills that would have stood to make money from resulting traffic citations, because the city is responsible for enforcement. Yet, they lobbied hard to get CalTrans to reverse its decision, which it did. I agree with the one "Anonymous" commenter that there are plenty of ways in which to have a HEALTHY distrust of government. In this case, though, it doesn't appear to apply. One other point here: you can have all the laws (and associated signage) you want, but, without enforcement, those laws are utterly useless.

As for bumpers and other debris littering the road, it is probably impossible to say with certainty unless there were witnesses or a news article explaining the circumstances as to whether drivers were timid, drunk or high, or speeding, but I'm putting my money on the latter two, and I think most people would, too, especially if there are lengthy skidmarks preceding the accident scene.

On the question of people being pulled over within dangerous areas of the Canyon, police cars have loudspeakers for precisely this reason and there is no reason to think that officers would not use them if they thought any driver (impaired or no) was pulling over in an unsafe area.

I say this, however, being fully aware that when police stopped traffic at the abovementioned DUI at New Year's, they inexplicably did so after, rather than before, the curve at Rosemary Lane. That still, though, did not justify the driver that came in to the area going too fast and who skidded into the car ahead of him. I witnessed that accident and that guy was simply going too fast.

Finally, on the last post and the five points mentioned in it. On #2: again, the incident I posted on just after New Year's Day was a DUI--I saw the kid get handcuffed and taken away. I have also been present when two Servite High kids going at an excessive speed eviscerated their Ferrari and themselves in Sleepy Hollow and when a young buck in a Cobra 427 would have seriously hurt himself when he flipped over going at an excessive speed, except that he had racing-style harnesses and a roll cage in the vehicle. Admittedly, these are anecdotal, but represent what I am confident is more the reality that "incompetence," whatever that signifies.

Point #5, though, is well taken and all those statements are fundamentally true, with the exception of the last, because if the city really wanted to take financial advantage they would get more patrols out there--there are plenty of speeders (safe or otherwise) 0ut there to be cited! I would add this, however: government will not usually act on matters like this without citizen involvement. And, I should say that I am fully aware that I may be making way too much more of this than most people care about. If people don't care, that's one thing. If they don't speak out because they're jaded or have been ignored by their political representatives or figure that their voice won't be heard, that's another matter.

Again, thanks for the comments from both "Anonymous" readers and keep them coming, so long as they are respectful and to the point!

15 January 2010

A Little Exchange about the Art of Navigating Carbon Canyon Road

There was the following comment to the 3 January post about the DUI driver who took a slight detour on Carbon Canyon Road in Sleepy Hollow the day before that seemed worth giving some attention to. Courtesy of "Anonymous":

I live in Sleepy Hollow and wish Carbon Canyon were a toll road with a special resident access pass given to those who live inside Carbon Canyon and very close to it, though I know that will never happen (and probably couldn't, at least practically).

I absolutely do not want more traffic enforcement inside Carbon Canyon Road, since police officers would most likely target people who drive over the speed limit more than any other group. I've found that the worst and most dangerous drivers are usually not those who drive over the speed limit, but those who drive timidly and apply their breaks at most of the curves. This foolish breaking combined with the many drivers who are bound to tailgate such vehicles is most certainly an accident risk. Even without tailgating, breaking at curves may cause one to lose control of his or her vehicle. Hence I wonder how many of these accidents throughout the canyon that you write about are caused by timid drivers breaking and sharply turning the wheel once the car starts to lose control, and not excessive speed or intoxication like you assume.

Furthermore complaints of drivers going too fast through the canyon are what lead to absurd reductions in speed limits (which we saw on the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon Road several months ago, though luckily the speed limit was soon raised), and an excuse for more speed traps. Hell, complaints about drivers driving too fast probably contributed to that unfortunate traffic signal installation at Olinda Village and the mobile home park, which I pray will not worsen traffic too much.

In regard to drunk drivers, officers already heavily patrol around Shamrock's in Chino Hills and The Shady Nook in Brea, which are the nearest bars to Sleepy Hollow. Sometimes I see a patrol car sitting at Olinda Village, and have often seen patrol cars between the hours of 11:00 pm and 2:00 am near the eastbound entrance to Carbon Canyon Road. I wouldn't object to officers patroling the entrance to the westbound side of Carbon Canyon more than they do, but don't want a police presence inside the canyon. After all, even with a patrol car's flashing lights it may be hard to see a pulled over vehicle inside the winding canyon, which would pose a safety issue.

To which, moi responds:

  • Agreed that there are people who drive too slowly and brake every fifty feet on CC Road. Highly annoying!

  • To say, however, the people are "bound" to tailgate implies that it is inevitable and, applying that logic another way, that people are "bound" to be timid. The difference: it violates the vehicle code to tailgate (or, on SR 142, pass, another aggressive behavior we see frequently) but there is no minimum speed limit (though we might want one!) Tonight, a vertically imposing truck was riding my posterior because I had the audacity to drive 50 mph in a 45 zone. It had nothing to do with timidity and everything to do with stupidity (clever, no?) on my tailgating friend's part. It seems he (or, perhaps but not likely, she) got home to Olinda Village fifteen seconds slower than he (she?) would have if I hadn't been speeding so slowly. Highly dangerous!

  • Moreover, look at the damage to guard rails, power poles, reflectors and signs, and fencing; observe the bumper pieces and license plates and other debris; and then note the very long skid marks along many sections of the road. I would readily eat my hat (though my words would have to do) if these were from timid drivers rather than speeders and others driving too agreesively or chemically impaired.

  • On enforcement--if there is someone pulled over, it is to be expected that officers will instruct that person to do so in a safe area. More importantly, if police patrols aren't looking for speeders, what are they supposed to be looking for? Someone weaving (cell phone call, texting, applying makeup, drunk, high), OK. Tailgating, sure. Someone driving too timidly? Not so much.

  • As it is, drivers have virtually free reign to do whatever they want anyway, because there is little enforcement on CC Road. If there are others who can correct otherwise, so be it, but last time I talked to the current Chino Hills city manager he stated that there were two usual patrol times, around 9:30 a.m. and about 4 p.m, precisely when the worst driving behavior does not happen. Is it more preferable to have patrols on weekend evenings or just evenings generally when engines are roaring and tires squealing? Or should it just be accepted that people are "bound" to do that too and that no mitigation be attempted at all?

  • Finally, the post to which "Anonymous" commented was a DUI by someone who went off the road at high speed. This was the flip side (almost literally) of timidity. I have not seen a checkpoint on CC Road directly, but would gladly have them if it would potentially save the lives of some innocent people on the road and, yes, even the life of the person who decides to drive the highway drunk or high.

By the by, a response to the e-mail sent to the City Council on the 3rd was received on the 5th with an attachment that said Chino Hills city manager tried to contact moi on 14 December, but typed in the wrong e-mail address. So much for my snide little comment about him being too busy to contact me after my 30 November broadside to said Council. That really was unnecessary and unfair.

I will respond that the offer to discuss is appreciated (and it is), but that there is really no more to say and nothing changed from our last discussion from three or so years ago. It's up to the city whether to act or not, and I suspect that "Anonymous" will get what he/she asks for; that is, no additional enforcement or demonstrative action. Excepting, perhaps, if an innocent person gets killed by a dangerous driver.

Besides, if the dustup over the Council's vote to remove Roman Nava as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner because Councilman Art Bennett evidently publicly stated that Nava's interest in running for the Council later this year is tantamount to a vote of no confidence in that body's incumbents gets any more heated, the City will have enough on its hands between now and election day!

11 January 2010

Businesses of Carbon Canyon: El Rodeo Stables

According to its web site, El Rodeo Stables, which is located on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road, just east of the Olinda Ranch housing subdivision, has existed since 1927.

Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about that history and the web site doesn't have any information on its background either and doesn't appear to have been updated for about two years. There is also a riding club entity that appears to be distinct from the stables.

The facility lost a structure in the November 2008 Freeway Complex fire and that and the state of the economy may have affected the business.

El Rodeo is, I believe, in the recently revised Carbon Canyon Specific Plan for the City of Brea zoned C-RC(PD), which stands for Commercial Recreational (Precise Development) and would, evidently, not be subject to conversion to a residential subdivision without a revision of that zoning under the CCSP.

Meantime, this vestige of the rural nature of Carbon Canyon is now one of two commercial stables in the Canyon (the other being Cowbiz on the former Camp Kinder Ring property in Chino Hills) and its proximity to Chino Hills State Park and its miles of riding trails would seem to be a major benefit to the sustainability of the business (pictured here in August 2008.)

Let's hope that it is viable and will survive.

03 January 2010

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #3942

This morning at 2:30 a.m. those familiar sounds on Carbon Canyon Road reverberated through Sleepy Hollow in Chino Hills. An engine's roar, the short, intense burst of squealing tires and the thud and crash of fiberglass and metal against trees greeted us in our deep slumberings right across the street from our house.

As I dialed 9-1-1, I could see a black sedan off the westbound (north) side of the road and several young men (I know, I know) standing at the side. When I went outside, I could hear that universal lamentation of a young intoxicated man in distress, "F$#k, dude!" The driver was out of the car and leaning against it, muttering the appropriate phrase over and over, "F$#k, dude! F$#k, dude!" . Of course, when a neighbor came out with a flashlight to inquire if everyone was all right, the tone turned polite and respectful, the way their parents would undoubtedly want them to reply to their elders, "We're fine. Thank you, sir!"

Actually, nothing was fine for the driver. As soon as the three Sheriff's Department patrol cars, followed by the obligatory fire engine and ambulance rolled up within a few minutes, said driver was administered field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. Alas, he was handcuffed, put in a squad car and taken away, to face his DUI-determined destiny. I could see his friends remonstrating with the officers to no effect (one wonders if these concerned compatriots were miraculously sober while their friend was the only chemically-impaired lad in the bunch.)

I stumbled back upstairs to bed, but, from past experience, should have known better. Fifty minutes after the accident, a tow truck rumbled up and the noisy business of pulling the mangled sedan from its precarious roadside perch began.

Yet, the excitement was hardly over: within fifteen minutes, as cars were stopped in both directions for the removal of the mangled vehicle, another dark sedan, going too fast westbound at the curve leading toward the Rosemary Lane intersection, skidded and then rear-ended an expensive-looking European-styled convertible. This was within just a few feet of a patrol car that had its lights flashing to stop cars that we're approaching the initial accident scene.

I suppose that police vehicle probably should have been stationed at the curve directly across from Rosemary Lane and, five minutes after the accident, it did so. Then again, why was said driver (who was, yes, yet another young man) in the second sedan traveling so fast anyway?

Once more, the obligatory fire truck was called back for a brief, cursory inspection and the second sedan and the fine convertible stayed at the new accident scene for twenty minutes before being allowed to continue on their way to Orange County.

Well, it took a few takes, but the tow truck successfully removed the first sedan, sans bumpers, and headed back towards Chino Hills with its quarry, which may be totaled. Two patrol cars remained behind, parked on Rosemary Lane at Carbon Canyon Road, until about 4:10 a.m. and then drove back eastward.

Quiet remained supreme once more in Sleepy Hollow!

Addendum: Text of an e-mail sent at 2 p.m. Sunday to the Chino Hills City Council

Dear Council Members,

On 30 November 2009, I sent an e-mail to you detailing my concerns about frequent traffic issues on Carbon Canyon Road after a truck flipped onto its side after leaving the roadway going eastbound at the intersection of the state highway at Rosemary Lane in Sleepy Hollow, where I live.

Shortly afterward, I received a reply on your behalf that I would be hearing from City Manager Michael Fleager. I have not yet received any contact from Mr. Fleager.

In the meantime, earlier today, at 2:30 a.m., a driver lost control of his vehicle on the westbound side of SR 142 just past Rosemary Lane and went off the side of the road directly across from my home.

[a concise description of the accident follows]

The chemically-impaired driver was moving far too fast. A simple matter of a change in steering could easily have led him into opposing lanes. Assuming that there was a probability that another car could have been in that lane, the results could have been serious and, perhaps, deadly.

My fundamental concern is no different now than it was on 30 November 2009 nor in any one of a dozen times or so that I've had to call 9-1-1 or police dispatch for accidents just in this Sleepy Hollow area where I live since I moved here in March 2004. Regular incidents occur on SR 142 on both the Brea and Chino Hills sides that amply demonstrate that dangerous and potentially deadly driving behaviors are a regular occurrence.

Yet, I will reiterate that almost no traffic enforcement at all takes place at the times when most of the incidents occur, mainly evenings and weekend evenings, in particular, as has been the case with the last two incidents I've written to you about.

I would also like to state that I've spoken to Mr. Fleager before about my general concerns, when he was Community Services Director. I do not see how it would accomplish anything meaningful to have you ask him to contact me again, whether he is too busy to do so (as was evidently the case after my last e-mail) or not. No disrespect is intended to Mr. Fleager, who I understand to be a professional and conscientious public servant, but I think the solution (or set of solutions) are already at hand, should the city choose (and it is a conscious choice for it to make) to do so and any discussion between him and me would not be the best use of his time nor mine.

Carbon Canyon Road needs at least occasional patrolling. In the last two major incidents, three patrol cars responded. Could not one of these, at least on a semi-regular basis, be assigned to patrol the roadway on evenings and, especially, weekend evenings? Wouldn't the cost of somewhat consistent patrolling be far less to taxpayers than a full emergency response several times a year or wouldn't the attempt to mitigate to the greatest extent possible dangerous driving behaviors on the highway be a worthwhile investment? Doesn't the thought of a young man arrested for DUI who could easily have injured or killed an innocent person concern you as officials responsible for the most important role of government: protection and preservation of life and property?