03 June 2017

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #s26262/26389 + Bonuses

Two recent accidents on Carbon Canyon Road indicate more reckless driving.  On Wednesday, 24 May at 10:30 p.m. that familiar sound of screeching tires and skidding followed by a metallic crunch echoed through Sleepy Hollow.

By the time a neighbor and I got over to the accident scene at the old Party House liquor store where Carbon Creek crosses under Carbon Canyon Road, the vehicle was gone, but left behind a twisted, bent section of guardrail there along the north side of the state highway.  A neighbor who lives directly across the street went out upon hearing the wreck and found a young woman hightailing it from the scene.

Yesterday about 4:15 p.m. while heading westbound from Chino Hills Parkway on Carbon Canyon Road, another accident scene was encountered, in which an older SUV was on its side and glass scattered across the westbound lane.

A Summit Ranch resident just narrowly missed being hit by the SUV, which apparently drifted off the eastbound lane, went up a dirt embankment and then skidded across the road on its side acros the opposing lane of traffic.  It has been said, but not verified, that alcohol was smelled on the breath of the driver.

Meanwhile, Chino Hills councilmember Ed Graham, as part of his regular updates to residents, which is a great service that he provides, had this to offer in his most recent edition:
Chino Hills Police conducted a Carbon Canyon Joint Enforcement Action on April 25th. The Cities of Chino and Brea participated as well. A total of 80 citations were issued by the three agencies with Chino Hills writing 50 of those tickets. Twenty of the 80 citations were for excessive speed. Several of those were in excess of 65 mph. Thirty-six citations were issued to Chino Hills’ residents. The balance were spread over a wide range of Orange County and Inland Empire cities. Interestingly, 16 citations were issued for use of cell phone/texting. As expected, a number of citations were issued to trucks, mostly for crossing the double yellow line. All of those were residents outside of Chino Hills. 
It is always a good situation when our local law enforcement personnel are out on Carbon Canyon Road, because, if they write that many citations on one day, just think how many instances of dangerous driving there are every day.

It should be added that the action took place on a Tuesday and, though not stated by councilmember Graham, was almost certainly during daylight hours.  However, those of us who live in or drive the canyon regularly know that more reckless driving takes place weekend evenings than during weekday mornings or afternoons.

As the City of Chino Hills moves to phase two of a Carbon Canyon Road traffic study, the obvious conclusions in phase one's basic engineering analysis were presented last month to the planning commission.  That is, traffic volumes are in the D or F ranch for Level of Service (LOS); that volume will be increasing as more housing is built in the Inland Empire; and that there are some improvements that can be suggested to Carbon Canyon Road with the goal being to increase efficiency of movement on the state highway.

However, of the dozen or so speakers who addressed the commission, many asked for traffic lights at Canon Lane or Canyon Hills Drive so that residents seeking to turn (especially left) onto Carbon Canyon Road can do so more easily.  As a canyon resident who has to turn left all the time, but won't even have the opportunity to have traffic signals to assist because of the sight line issue in Sleepy Hollow, I really do empathize with those residents.

But, adding more traffic signals, while it may benefit a few, will actually slow traffic down and impede movement through the canyon for the larger numbers of commuters on the road.  As a state highway, Carbon Canyon Road has to be looked at in terms of the broader, rather than the more localized, impacts.

Again, I experience the same issues and frustrations of trying to access the road as do those speakers, but more traffic signals will be counterproductive and lead to more stoppages, less access, and slower commute times.

Here, though, is the bottom line in the big picture.  There are too many of us, me included, driving ourselves solo.  There is no way to improve existing freeways, highways and arterial roadways to address the real problem of inefficient volume.  The huge amounts of money and time spent on the 91 Freeway widening and the improvements of the 57/60 interchange, two of the worst traffic areas anywhere in the United States are the proverbial "finger in the dike," and won't address long-term traffic problems.

More carpooling, trains, subways, and, especially, buses are the only way to deal with volume.  For those who love to drive or want the convenience (compromised as those may be by lengthening commute times) of controlling our time by driving ourselves solo, we have to decide how much more we can put up with.

The Carbon Canyon Road traffic study is needed and it is good to see the city taking this project on, but the reality is that solutions will be temporary and minor.  What our elected officials and citizens need to do is embrace getting away from solo vehicle occupancy to mass transit in its varied forms.  Otherwise, it is more time wasted, more pollution generated, and our quality of life diminishes further.


Anonymous said...

What is standing in the way of fixing the road IS Sleepy Hollow. I wont be surprised if they recommend imminent domain of Oak Way Lane to bulldoze a 6 lane road clean through. There are not enough buses or trains to handle the amount of people that commute through the canyon so either the road gets widened, another road to bypass the canyon is built or the canyon turns into a toll road.

prs said...

Hello anonymous, thanks for the comment. There are many reasons why Carbon Canyon Road will never be widened, something the city engineer noted at the planning commission meeting. One is that the canyon is too narrow in several places, where steep hillsides and the creek are too close to the roadway. This is especially true on the Brea side of the canyon. Another is the S-curve in the Chino Hills part, where the distance and the grade or climb in elevation just can't accommodate a straighter wider roadway. Finally, there is what you noted. A significant amount of private property, from houses, to the Western Hills Golf Course, to the creek which has state and federal agencies overseeing it, and others, would have to be acquired and that's just too much land with too much expense to acquire. As for mass transit, we'd have to commit as a society to two main points. First, that solo driving is inefficent and wasteful and contributes to most of the volume and much of the pollution we experience, so we'd need to agree to get out of our cars more frequently, though not everyone can do this. Second, we'd have to decide to invest heavily in mass transit of various types (in Carbon Canyon's case, bus lines). We built the world's largest interstate highway system in the 1950s through 1970s, at the same time we developed the space program, fought a war in Vietnam, and engaged in many other kinds of massive projects. We don't have the resources now to do all of that, but we do have the ability to redesign our transportation system, as has been done in some American cities and others throughout the world. It not only takes lots of money, but plenty of time, and we should have started during the OPEC oil embargo years of the 1970s. The real barriers, though, are popular attitudes and political will. Thanks again for the commment.

prs said...

Hi again anonymous, I forgot you mentioned two other alternatives to widening Carbon Canyon Road. One is a toll road through the canyon, which seems highly unlikely because people live along its route, unless they were exempted, though there are other reasons why a toll probably won't happen, including who/what would manage it and whether revenue would pay for expenses. As to a bypass, Soquel Canyon has been floated as a possibility, but it has been removed from consideration and, even so, all it would do is terminate at Carbon Canyon Road at Olinda Village and create more traffic volume in an already busy area. There has been talk of pushing Eucalyptus Avenue in Chino Hills west through lower Tonner Canyon to connect with Valencia Avenue north of the Olinda Alpha landfill, but there is private property and other considerations there. Then, there is Tonner Canyon from Grand Avenue or Chino Avenue on the north to the 57 Freeway. Even then, Tonner's terminus at the 57 would be in a very crowded area either to the freeway or to Brea Canyon Road/Brea Boulevard and, again, there is private property involved. To me, mass transit is the only practical, efficient and economic way out.

Anonymous said...

California transportation system is not designed for mass transit. People will always drive because it will always be the most efficient way to to get around. If I want to take take mass transit from my home on Canon lane to work in Lake Forest it would take hours using mass transit verses less than an hour driving. Mass transit only works, at best, in heavily populated downtown areas for people that live and work a short distance. The only realistic solutions are alternate routes or widening Carbon Canyon Road. If we can put a man on the moon we can certainly widen the road. Imminent domain would need to used...most likely in areas like Sleep Hollow. We just have be willing to make the sacrifices for the greater good.