24 July 2016

Stone's Smokehouse Closed!

Stone's Smokehouse, the restaurant that operated in the former Sol de Mexico space in the Olinda Village shopping center in Carbon Canyon for only a year, has closed its doors.

According to a statement on Next Door Sleepy Hollow, the reason given by the owner of the restaurant was that the center's owner wanted $100,000 for fire sprinkler upgrades required by the City of Brea.

In addition, the restauranteur wanted to sell the business, but could not, evidently, get approval from the building's owner to apply the lease to any sale.

This blogger's experience at Stone's consisted of two visits for the all-you-can-eat fish and chips on Fridays and the food was decent enough.  Others suggested that the food was good, but the prices a bit on the high side, while there were some who raved about the place.

In any case, the fifty-two year old center is continuing to look the worse for wear and only has a few tenants (a dry cleaner/scrapbooking place, the electronic testing facility, and Carbon Creek Realty), so who knows what the fate of the complex will be, especially if the report of fire sprinkler upgrades are true.

22 July 2016

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #19090

Looks like someone recently heading eastbound on Carbon Canyon Road through the S-curve on the Chino Hills side got a little extra momentum after the main curve halfway through and rode high on the shoulder after crossing lanes.

One of the directional signs requesting drivers to stay in their designated lane was taken out and deep ruts in the hillside remain to show the errant pathway.

CalTrans recently replaced several sections of guardrail further east and the one-legged 15mph sign up above still stands uncertainly, so we'll see how much more damage is done on this particularly vulnerable part of the highway.

19 July 2016

Carbon Canyon Historic Artifact #53: Los Serranos Country Club Scorecard

As noted here before, even though Los Serranos Country Club is outside of Carbon Canyon, their histories are intertwined.

Though created in the mid-1910s as a shortcut from the Inland Empire to coastal regions, Carbon Canyon Road was unpaved and not well-built when it opened to the public.

In 1924, Long Beach investors purchased a portion of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, known as the "Home Ranch" where Joseph Bridger's 1870s adobe still stood, for a subdivision, lake, and golf course, all given the name of Los Serranos.

Almost immediately, the country club's promoters worked to have Carbon Canyon Road substantially improved so that there would be a time-saving alternate route to their facility from Los Angeles.  At the time, the main route was to come out on Valley Boulevard through the San Gabriel Valley, then on Pomona Boulevard into Pomona and down the route of the old Butterfield Stage road to the club.

A vastly improved and fully paved Carbon Canyon Road, however, would significantly shave distance and time to get to Los Serranos.  By the end of the 1920s that work was done and by 1934, the road had been added to the newly created state highway system, though the assignment of a commonly used number (142) didn't take place for some thirty years.

So, with the fates of the two tied together, here is a score card from Los Serranos Country Club that appears to date from the 1960s, not long after the facility was purchased by tennis legend Jack Kramer, whose family still owns and operates it.

The rear cover has a map of what was then a single course, it now has two, as well as four rules for water hazards, lost balls, fences and holes and mounds.  Inside the card has the back and medium tee distances for each hole by gender, the par for men and women, including handicaps, and the total par for the course, which was rated at 70, and listed at 72 for men and 73 for women.

The front cover, which lists a 714 area code in those days when there were enough numbers for wide areas, is most notable for its unfortunate use of a Latino figure taking a siesta next to images of crossed clubs and a ball and a flag.

For the club to mention that the 300-acre facility was on a remnant of the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino granted in the Mexican era (1841) to Antonio María Lugo is one thing, but the napping figure in the big sombrero?  Whoa.

14 July 2016

Meet the Night Sky at Chino Hills State Park

On Saturday, 13 August @ 7:30 p.m., the Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association is hosting "Meet the Night Sky" in which participants will "learn about the scale of the universe and our place in it."

Jeff Schroeder, a founding member of the Pomona Valley Amateur Astronomers group some forty-five years ago and who retired not long ago after thirty-five years as an optical engineer and flight technician at JPL (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory run by NASA) in Pasadena, is the special guest speaker.

Schroeder, whose work involved such projects as the Galileo and Cassini space missions, the Infrared Astronomy Satellite, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory and more, has also, for thrity-six years, been a lecturer and show producer at the Mount San Antonio College planetariu,  Finally, he is a part-time operator of the massive 60" and 100" telescopes at the Mount Wilson Observatory.

Attendance to this event is limited to the first 250 people who register for the event here.  The program will end about Midnight and will be held at the Rolling M Ranch, which is accessible from 4721 Sapphire Road in Chino Hills and then, after paying the $5 park use fee at the entrance, driving along the Upper Bane Canyon Road to the ranch.

The adjacent campground is also available for participants who want to enjoy the park overnight, with sites available with additional fees on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more park information, click here.

07 July 2016

Carbon Canyon Commuting Crisis Context Carefully Considered (?)

It's been a hot topic on Next Door (click here) for a few months now--what should be done about all of those frustrated, short-cut seeking afternoon and evening commuters who, instead of enjoying the long wait to turn on to Carbon Canyon Road from Valencia Avenue or to continue as the road transitions from Lambert, are wending their way through the Olinda Ranch subdivision to turn left onto the state highway from Santa Fe Road, even though this is expressly prohibited by signage?

There have been a lot of ideas advanced, some sensible, others not so much, and the City of Brea has been conducting a study to determine what to do.  As reported in today's Orange County Register (click here), one suggestion is to turn the intersection of Santa Fe and Carbon Canyon into a right-turn only from Santa Fe to Carbon Canyon, using what, evidently, is called a "porkchop" island that forces vehicles into a right turn lane.  As for folks who live in the distinctly separate little "pocket" residential area further east at Brea Hills Road, there is talk of creating a very long left turn lane to allow those who live there to more easily access their part of Olinda Ranch.

Regular drivers through the canyon have certainly noticed a demonstrable uptick in volume since 2013.  As the Register piece states, more housing built in the Inland Empire, from which more and more commuters head to and from work in Orange County and Los Angeles County, means far more volume on Carbon Canyon Road as an alternative to the 91, 57, and 60 freeways.

There has been a noticeable increase in traffic on Carbon Canyon Road since 2013.  This is an example of the morning commute in May westbound at the La Vida Mineral Springs property east of Olinda Village.
Readers of this blog might recall a reference to a newspaper article in 1969 (almost a half century ago) about how congested Carbon Canyon Road was then--it was a mere pittance compared to what it is now.  Maybe in ten or twenty of thirty years, when commute times through the canyon are two hours or whatever, future residents will laugh at our complaining!

Extending this line of discussion beyond the scope of the article, however, when cities like Brea and Chino Hills continue to approve housing projects in the Carbon Canyon area, the thinking tends to gravitate towards the idea that, because more people are commuting through the canyon from points east than within the canyon, that means building more homes in the canyon becomes more justifiable.

This is not including the equally concerning issues of water supply, pollution generation, fire risk and the fact that housing developments are, in the long term, net drains on a city's finances, despite claims to the contrary.

Finally, as is usual, most of the discussion about traffic woes like those in Carbon Canyon don't look much beyond the immediate and narrowed focus on the place and the time.

In an era of accelerating climate change and a strain on resources, including, of course, water, general talk of moving ourselves away from not just the outmoded internal combustion engine using fossil fuels for power, but from the idea of single-passenger commuting is usually bypassed.

Also outdated is our overall planning method for development that, while some small examples of change have occurred, still utilized methods and philosophies that have not adequately accounted for and adjusted to the transformations that have taken place in recent years.

A little further west and a couple of minutes later on the climb up the hill towards Olinda Village.
The growing reality is that our society has to fundamentally change how we live (and drive) if we're going to make any reasonable progress towards addressing the issues that become more intractable and harder to address with each passing year.

It is totally understandable that Olinda Ranch residents and others who live in Carbon Canyon are frustrated by worsening volume on Carbon Canyon Road.  Those who have approached their city staff and electeds are to be congratulated for taking the time to try to do something.

There is, however, a larger context that local, regional and state officials seem to continue to underappreciate and under-recognize concerning applying outdated standards of development to rapidly changing circumstances.  These big-picture issues require large-scale fixes and adaptations and we're just not hearing enough about these.