Category Archives: Transportation

Metrolink Safety Concerns Raised At UNA Meeting

Several University neighbors raised concerns over the start of Metrolink commuter rail service running through the neighborhood in the next months. Here’s a recap of the concerns form a letter sent to Anne Mayer, Director of RCTC.

​​​​​Hi Anne,

I wanted to update you on several issues that neighborhood residents have raised.

First on the list: UCR is hosting a student group orientation on Tuesday the 22nd. Sargent Seth Morrison wanted to invite Metrolink Safety Program Manager, Martha (Marty) Jimenez from Operation Lifesaver. Could you please make the introduction?

Operation Life SaverMartha made her presentation along with her UCR Grad trainee Ariel Alcon Tapia. Her message would be best suited to the student population climbing the “C” Trail each day.

I asked Ariel, her UCR grad and trainee if he ever hiked the “C” Trail. Of course he had to admit that he had. The presentation fell flat for the neighborhood.

The key issue is a safe crossing. It’s not going to be solved by contracting with LA County Sheriffs for trespassing enforcement. The safety programming necessary as it is, is occurring as inauthentic.

The persistence in resisting tunnels or bridges, is putting RCTC in the unenviable position of appearing callous and guilty of misfeasance when the inevitable student fatality occurs.

Sorority Photo Op On Metrolink TracksI am forwarding a number of photos for you. One of them is a sorority group photo staged on the tracks.

Others point out an issue we’re having with cars driving into Islander Park entering from the Mt.Vernon/Linden crossing.

This is an open invitation to partying and dumping. It’s also an attractive nuisance which will no doubt result in additional drivers getting stuck on the tracks.

Islander Park Drive In Access 2

Drive In Access To Islander Park 3

Dennis McCulloch wants to know what is being contemplated to address his issue.

The seven properties identified in the EIR as requiring sound mitigation have asked when that is going to happen. Other residents have already used the mitigation money offered. These seven are due and want to know if there’s a timeline, a process or someone they should contact. Christopher and Debra Sanchez at 2282 Kentwood
have asked. Please advise.

A suggestion was made about addressing the safety issues of trail crossings by hikers. Dave Roddy is a neighbor and his suggestion was to slow the speed through the neighborhood from Linden to Manfield to 15 mph, about the same as the
current freight train speeds through the neighborhood.

I realize this will immediately bring up a number of reasons why that can’t work. However, in light of no other significant measure in place to successfully address the gaping public safety issue we’re facing, it might be worth considering.

Adding a few extra minutes to the route until we get this resolved is actually the one idea with the greatest chance of making an actual impact on public safety. I doubt the beginning ridership numbers will be significant enough to warrant being overly inconvenienced versus the possibility of a potentially fatal one.

At the very least, it buys us time to continue discussions about a tunnel or bridge. The cost to install either is far under RCTC’s estimates to the Friends Of Riverside’s Hills. To solve this crossing issue, we’re in the low six figures, not the millions as proposed.

In the project plan the crossing at Morton Road was to be gated and closed being accessible only to emergency vehicles. If this is so, what was the reason behind installing full crossing infrastructure? People want to know.

The last item relates to Quiet Zones. We know the City has to apply. What is the process or timeline for this? Do we wait until RCTC signs off as complete? Please tell us how the process works. We know it goes to the PUC. When is the key question in the neighborhood.

As always, I share this in the possibility of shared community benefit.

A vibrant, Badly Eroded C Trail Riverside CAsafe regional trails network starts with Islander Park. The C Trail is the second most popular trail after Mt. Rubidoux. The wear is obvious.

Imagining more crossings not less or none as RCTC insists, is where the majority of community stakeholders are focused..

The Riverside Stem Academy for one, is cut off from accessing the Box Springs Mountains Preserve because they can’t cross the tracks either. Same as the C Trail.

Healthy Riverside County General PlanThe draw to these natural resources has always been present. That was evident from the very first scoping sessions. Now we have significantly larger numbers of the community accessing these resources.

The County’s Healthy Cities Initiative is based on healthy food access and walkable communities.

We’re at a loss at RCTC’s position denying a community access to fulfill a stated health implementation goal.

These issues have already been solved in other Metrolink communities. We are the only residential area on the new Perris Valley line. We feel we should have gotten at least as good a project as in other Metrolink communities.

It is unreasonable to think we can’t come up with a plan to develop the trail heads in Islander Park to function as safe, environmentally sound and effective.

The Metrolink project will alter the fabric of our neighborhood forever. The looming safety and access issues were always key points for us. They are not going away. We think it’s well past time for RCTC to mitigate them in the best interest of the community and the taxpayers.

As always yours for a neighborhood of our dreams,

Gurumantra Khalsa

Chair University Neighborhood Association.

Mountain Biking Mania Flourishing In Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Mountain Biking in Sycamore Canyon Park has always been a special treat. With vast changes in elevation and long stretches of trails, the largest wilderness park within City Limits West of the Mississippi continues to attract biking enthusiasts. But be warned, according to riders interviewed in Suzanne Hurt’s Press Enterprise story must be “willing to suffer.”

Mountain Bike Riding the Rocks in Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Related:

22-Mile Mountains to Sea Trail

22 Mile Mountian to SeaThe 22-mile Mountains to Sea Trail travels from the edge of the Cleveland National Forest to the Pacific Ocean. Considered the backbone of The Irvine Ranch open spaces, the trail begins in Weir Canyon and doesn’t stop until it reaches Upper Newport Bay. Located within minutes of bustling urban communities, the trail makes exploring the outdoors easy, fun and accessible. Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren announced completion of the trail in 2005; the following year it was designated a “National Recreation Trail” by the National Recreation Trails Program.

Stem Academy Traffic Plan Update

Stem Academy MapThe Press Enterprise recently ran with the headline: Stem Academy Traffic Irks Neighbors. While quite true, University Neighborhood residents are well aware of the long history of impacts to the community from education.

While most of us relish the benefits from high quality educational resources, we are all too familiar with unintended consequences and negative impacts. Fortunately, having lots of practice working collaboratively, a small group of neighbors has been meeting with stakeholders to come up with a plan that brings some resolution and relief. Here’s a brief summary:

At Dr. Kirk Lewis’ request, a small group of local Mt. Vernon/Watkins residents met with the RUSD staff and Riverside Traffic engineers on Monday night, August 10th.  Our City Ward Representative Andy Melendrez was also at the meeting.  The STEM Academy PTSA president was present.

A recap of Monday’s agenda:

New Student Drop Off Pick Up Area Signs STEM Academy

  1. Activities to date: Parking lot done, lights going in, portables 1 is in place and waiting for a second one to arrive 3 weeks after school starts.
  1. Future of RSA, they are still talking about moving the 9-12 kids to another location. UCR is still being discussed. Interestingly though, when we asked again about the 5-8 grades increasing in size to fill in the loss of the HS students and accomplish a 700 student cap that Mr. Hansen had told us to expect, the Board member present knew nothing about a 700 student cap! This may be good news for us as we continue to pressure them to keep the student population down closer to the 350 the school was originally intended to house.
  1. Presentation of a DRAFT traffic mitigation plan: Traffic engineers presented three plans. (feel free to come see them or wait for the next meeting for a finalized map)  The City’s proposal was to have traffic from the West come to the school up Mt. Vernon from Big Springs Rd, Barret Rd., and Broadbend Dr.  The proposal also includes posting no Parking Signs and Directional signs.  There would be No Left Turn sign upon exit of the school from 7:30 am to 8:00 am and 2:30 to 3:00 pmMonday thru Friday, directing the traffic during school opening and dismissal back down Mt. Vernon to these same 3 access points.  There would be no left turns on to Mt. Vernon East bound on Watkins for traffic from 7:30 am to 8:30 am and 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm Monday thru Friday.

City Representative Melendrez suggested we watch the suggestions in action for a month, and then reconvene to discuss the results.

  1. Bussing: Two options were proposed. Cluster bussing from several riverside areas and shuttle bussing from either Goodwin’s or the Newman Center parking lots.

The earliest date of busing would be January, 2016.

  1. Potential staggered beginning and dismissal times

They took our input and suggestions back and will finalize a traffic plan soon. I believe Mr. Lewis wants to meet on a larger scale at the next neighborhood community meeting. That date is September 10th at the church.

William Woodring, Kevin Tippets, Suzette & Herb Chavers, Gurumantra Khalsa, and myself have actual printed documents and maps from this meeting.  William, Kevin, and myself would be happy to share with anyone who wishes to see them. Just let us know.

Notes Sent on Behalf of Mary Simons

Mid-County Parkway Lawsuit Aims To Halt Construction

Mid-County Parkway Route

 

BY STEPHEN WALL / STAFF WRITER
Published: May 13, 2015 Updated: May 14, 2015 5:42 p.m.

Environmental groups are suing to block plans for a $1.7 billion, six-lane freeway from Perris to San Jacinto. The lawsuit, which transportation officials say is without merit, alleges that the Mid County Parkway would:

• Cause more traffic gridlock

• Worsen air pollution

• Force nearly 400 residents from their homes

• Displace businesses employing 171 people

• Harm farmlands and sensitive wildlife preserves

Environmental groups have gone to court to fight a proposed $1.7 billion freeway they say would cut through low-income neighborhoods, threaten wildlife areas and worsen air pollution.
A lawsuit filed last week seeks to block construction of the Mid County Parkway, a 16-mile, six-lane freeway from the 215 in Perris east to the 79 in San Jacinto.
“Rather than look for better, cheaper and smarter transportation solutions, they chose a project that will only lead to more gridlock and sprawl,” said Jonathan Evans, legal director of the environmental health program at the Center for Biological Diversity, a San Francisco-based nonprofit conservation group and one of the plaintiffs.
The agency planning the project, for which construction has not begun, says the lawsuit has no merit.
“It’s unfortunate,” said John Standiford, deputy executive director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission. “We disagree with the claims. We stand by our work in terms of the environmental process.”
The commission approved the environmental impact report for the project.
The suit alleges that the project is based on faulty premises that may not come true. For example, it uses inflated traffic predictions for 25 years from now, when officials assume the now-rural San Jacinto Valley will be fully developed, the suit states.
“The highway design includes intersections at town and park centers that don’t yet exist and encourages development far from transit, jobs and social services,” according to the lawsuit.
Widening the Ramona Expressway would be a cheaper and less environmentally destructive alternative, the lawsuit states.
“To make it a safer road is fine,” said George Hague, Sierra Club Moreno Valley Group conservation chairman. “A six-lane freeway that goes through where people live and work is not fine.”
The Sierra Club is also a plaintiff, along with San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, Friends of the Northern San Jacinto Valley and Friends of Riverside’s Hills.
The lawsuit, filed May 7 in Riverside County Superior Court, alleges that the project violates the California Environmental Quality Act. The state law requires the agency to take steps to reduce “significant impacts” related to climate change and air pollution, the lawsuit states. The groups says all work on the project should be stopped until changes are made to comply with the law.
Menifee Mayor Scott Mann said the project would benefit his city. He criticized the act for holding up a project he said would offer motorists another east-west route to reach the 215 without coming through the city.
“It’s lengthy, it’s burdensome, and it provides anyone and everyone a mechanism to delay infrastructure projects that are going to benefit residents in the region for decades,” said Mann, whose city is near the proposed route.
Building the freeway would force nearly 400 residents from their homes and displace businesses that employ 171 people. Property owners would lose their land and homes through eminent domain, opponents say.

Share Your Ideas Riverside

Some of the ideas already shared at Riverside Mind Mixer.com

Why not start sharing yours.

Riverside Street Car Community Workshop

Planning

PUBLIC COMMUNITY MEETING JULY 31, 2014

Join the Conversation!

The public is invited to attend a community workshop to learn about and participate in the Riverside Reconnects Streetcar Feasibility Study.

Date:
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Time:
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Door open at 5:30
Location:
César Chávez Community Center
2060 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92507

Light refreshments will be served
Download the Flyer

What is the Riverside Reconnects Streetcar Feasibility Study?

The City of Riverside is conducting a study to determine whether a streetcar system in the City is feasible and beneficial. The study is intended to analyze system requirements, potential routes, alternative technologies, construction and operating costs, community benefits, and potential financing options. The study will consider a route that extends from one end of the City to the other, traveling on or aligning near Magnolia Avenue, Market Street and University Avenue. The study will consider the benefits and challenges of connecting Downtown, UCR and destinations along University and Magnolia Avenues, as well as the Downtown Metrolink station and existing bus service. Although the route to be studied is roughly twelve miles in length, the analysis will evaluate the phasing of a transit system to start with a shorter segment with the most favorable ridership and costs.

The study will be performed in three parts. The first includes a review of existing conditions to understand development-oriented transit opportunities; the second will define the land use, development and transit possibilities of a transit system; and the third will develop an implementation strategy that is financially prudent and addresses the City’s growth forecasts. While the project investigates the feasibility of a streetcar system, the underlying objective is to inform decision makers of the costs and benefits of an enhanced transit system that is correlated with land development and growth, regardless of whether the transit is a streetcar or bus solution.

Please continue to visit www.RiversideReconnects.com for updates, announcements and opportunities to be involved.

Driving Safety Lessons From Other States

Driver Education TrainingAt the recent Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) Conference, a contingent from various neighborhoods came together to discuss driving safety, and particularly, raising the driving age.

Raising the driving age in California might never fly, but there are some potential lessons to learn from other communities. A post on RaiseDrivingAge.org has some useful related resources.

Fast & Furious 6Instead of restricting driving, I wonder what it would be like if we invested in driver education training. I’m not talking just about classroom rules of the road. I’m talking about skills training. Driving into and out of a skid, pulling a stunt driver one eighty.

Law enforcement gets some extra training. I see no reason why our youth couldn’t use some extra skills training along with simulator time.

Zip Cars At UCR

This update from Jeff Kraus:

Zip Car on CampusThis is probably more information than some of you on the email list wanted to know, but I was able to do some research on the Zip Cars at UCR yesterday.

 

For those of you that don’t know, Zip Cars  is a “car sharing” company that places cars in busy locations throughout the country that registered users can “borrow” by the hour for short trips for a set fee, potentially eliminating the need for an individually owned auto. At UCR, the rate is approximately $7.00 per hour during the week and $9.00 per hour on the weekend.

 

 

Here’s what I found out from out Transportation and Parking Services Department (TAPS):

 

 

The Zip Car Program began in February, 2010 at UCR.

 

 

 

There are 4 Zip Cars on campus during the academic year, 2 in the summer (they relocate vehicles to vacation oriented spots in the summer, such as near the coast). There are two cars near Pentland and other student housing facilities, one at Bannockburn, and one in Lot 2 near Hinderaker Hall. The number of cars is determined by Zip, not us. We provide the strategic placed parking locations free of charge to them.

 

 

 

The program is marketed by UCR to the students, particularly incoming freshmen and students living in campus housing through brochures, flyers, posters, etc. Zip does additional marketing, including the use of “street teams” on campus and booths near the bell tower.

 

 

 

In March, the cars were in use 45% of the time and generated $8,700 in gross revenue to the company. Usage varies between about 25% and 48% the past two years.

 

 

 

There are currently 851 registered users on campus, mostly students. This is increasing by about 5 a week. In March, 99 individual users used the cars 241 times at an average of 2.5 hours each use and 14,144 miles.

 

 

In addition to students, because Zip Cars are more prevalent in Northern California, out of town visitors to campus for business often use the cars as well.

Zip Car reports that their UCR venture is profitable to them.

 

 

Because TAPS is committed to alternative and more efficient modes of transportation, they said that if asked, they would provide additional parking spaces for Zip Car to increase the number of cars on campus.

University Neighborhood Traffic Study Results

Traffic Study UpdatesSlow Down Or Pay Up Traffic Sign

Glenhill e/o Flanders

·       Speed limit 25 mph

·       Average speed 20 mph

·       85th% speed – 30 mph

Glenhill w/o Flanders

·       Speed limit – 25 mph

·       Average speed – 26 mph

·       85th% speed – 32 mph

 

Mt Vernon n/o Shady Grove

·       Speed limit – 25 mph

·       Average speed – 32 mph

·       85th% speed – 39 mph

Blaine e/o Campus View

·       Speed limit – 40 mph

·       Average speed – 40 mph

·       85th% speed – 46 mph

Campus View e/o Maravilla

·       Speed limit – 25 mph

·       Average speed – 30 mph

·       85th% speed – 37 mph

All of these were taken after school started, except for Campus View – which was taken before ant stop were installed at Santa Cruz. The speed limit was lowered on Watkins from 45 mph to 35 mph between Knox and Mt. Vernon. (Enforcement is beginning). We are still assembling data for Spruce and will forward that when complete.

Spruce e/o Kentwood

·       Speed limit 25 mph

·       Average speed 25 mph

·       85th% speed – 29 mph

·       # sampled – 8438 vehicles ( WB traffic )

We still have one more to collect data on – Spruce e/o Thayer