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!

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