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.
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?
Martha 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.
I 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.
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, safe 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.
The 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,
Chair University Neighborhood Association.