Category Archives: Transportation

Perris Valley Line EIR Concerns – Talking Points

Talking Points:

PVL Concerns (feel free to add your own objections):

-RCTC needs to provide “quiet zone crossings” at the three street crossings in our neighborhood. Because of the slow speed of the trains (which won’t change due to the grade and curve) it takes as long as fourteen minutes for a train to rumble through the entire neighborhood. Because of the increased number of trains, we need every effort to be made to reduce all noise, and especially horns blowing. These quiet zones need to be paid for by RCTC and not the City of Riverside. This is a RCTC project and they need to pay the cost of mitigating the impacts of their project. Quiet zones should be in addition to sound walls.

-The Kinder-Morgan high pressure fuel line needs to be buried deeper and protected by a concrete barrier.

-RCTC’s claim that the risk of derailment is only once every 124 years is flawed as we have had a couple of derailments in recent memory. Given the dangerous cargo now being transported along this line, it is important that rail line right-of-way be constructed to contain derailments or spills where the rail is elevated above schools (like Hyatt elementary) and residences. A three foot berm or block wall fence is inadequate to contain a 30 ton locomotive.

-RCTC needs to develop with partnering agencies a master emergency plan for derailments and spills. This plan should be reviewed annually with partnering agencies, adjusting for changing cargo risks and operations.

-RCTC needs to develop a plan to address the possible situation of all three crossings being blocked by a parked freight train. We have seen this situation occur before and it is a public safety issue as it blocks Police and Fire from a major portion of our neighborhood.

-RCTC should provide one grade separation into the University Neighborhood.

-RCTC should provide pedestrian crossings for people to get to the county Box Springs Mountain Park. There are long established trails, such as the historic “C” that require access over the rail line. There needs be a safe crossing at key points into the park, such as at the east end of Big Springs Rd. RCTC consultants have stated that the answer is “easy, those people would be trespassing.” We should not have to trespass to access our parks.

-RCTC needs to develop a system to warn pedestrians along the Right Of Way. The rail line bisects a City and County Park, an area long established for hiking. The proposed public education program will not be adequate to ensure public safety.

-Landscaping and hardscapes in our area need to conform to the University Neighborhood Specific Plan, developed by the University Neighborhood, the City of Riverside, UCR and others.

-Sound walls need to be landscaped with clinging vine to discourage graffiti.

-RCTC should provide manned crossing guards for school children.

-RCTC should install air quality monitoring equipment at the two elementary schools to establish pre- and post- project data concerning rail related airborne particulate matter.

-AQMD has the authority to regulate mobile source pollution along publically owned transportation lines like the PVL. RCTC should request help in regulating exhaust from BNSF locomotives to protect residents from particulate matter.

-RCTC should charge BNSF for using this publicly owned rail line. Metrolink has to pay BNSF for their privately owned line; what’s good for one should be good for the other.

-RCTC could collect an impact fee from BNSF that could be used to mitigate future growth of freight traffic. Such a fee could be collected into a fund which could pay to relocate impacted schools at a future date.

-This project should have a stated upper limit for rail traffic, beyond which should trigger additional environmental review. In other words, additional expansion should require additional mitigation.
-In an earlier Environmental Assessment, done with a project description including fewer trains, it identified 111 homes as being impacted. Currently only seven homes are proposed for noise insulation. If 111 homes are impacted, RCTC needs to insulate 111 homes.

– If the purpose is to expand public transportation, we insist that the necessary land needed for this rail project include the Highgrove location. There is an existing Metrolink line from San Bernardino. This would give the public a 100% increase in public transportation options for the same initial project cost.

Here are some links to guide our public comments and written responses. Remember, Monday the 17th at University Extension Room C., 6 pm. Free Parking. This is the last public meeting scheduled for the Perris Valley Metrolink Line.

Here’s the link showing our public comments and the section of the EIR where they are referenced or addressed.

This is what is proposed for the grade crossings in our neighborhood.

5 Spruce St.,
City of Riverside
MP 2.02
2-No. 8
1. Install 2 (two) standard No. 9 gates and flashing signal devices.
2. Install 72 T.F. concrete grade crossing panel.
3. Fencing along RR ROW from crossing to 100’ from intersection.
4. Install Access Control Gates.
5. Install pedestrian gates and channelization.
1. Revising street to allow for raised medians as feasible. Cannot have 100’
median on west.
2. Per Diagnostic Mtg, we are to replace the existing triangular open top
drainage inlets-outlets adjacent to the curb on both sides of this grade
crossing. To keep the crossing dry, a hydrology study is needed to
determine the “Q” coming from the north to design adequate drain inlets.
There are existing CBs on Spruce. Need to evaluate capacity.
3. Full ped treatments with ped gates on south side since this is a school
route. Prohibit peds on north side of street as no continuous sidewalk.


West Blaine/
Watkins Dr,
City of
MP 2.66
5-No. 9A
1. Install approximately 128 T.F. concrete grade crossing panels.
2. Modify existing medians to SCRRA standard length, width, and height,
which will include relocation of existing gate arms in medians.
3. Install signs/paint on curb ‘No Parking’ on east side of crossing.
4. Maintain existing signal.
5. Fencing along RR ROW from crossing to 100’ from intersection.
6. Install Access Control Gates.
7. Extend west median further east..
8. Install pedestrian channelization and pedestrian gates according to
SCRRA standards. Full pedestrian treatments on both sidewalks with ped
gates due to school route.
Mt. Vernon
City of Riverside
MP 3.41
2-No. 9
1. Install 64 T.F. concrete grade crossing panels.
2. Existing No. 9 gates to remain.
3. Fencing along RR ROW from crossing to 100’ from intersection
4. Install Access Control Gates.
5. Install raised medians at least 100 feet in length (residential driveway
6. Install pedestrian gates (pathway, railings, ped gates) on north side due
to school route.
7. No sidewalk on south side.
8 – C
Poarch Rd,
MP 5.02
1. Recommend closure to regular vehicular traffic.
2. Provide locked entry gates for emergency vehicles only.
3. Fencing along RR ROW for 400’+ both sides of current crossing.
8 – O
Poarch Rd,
1. Opening Poarch Road to vehicular access would require significant
lowering of the finished surface of Watkins Road and the Freeway on
ramp and significant construction of Poarch Road. Since alternate access
is available, this is included in this project. Refer to project memorandum
for further discussion.

Perris Valley Line Environmental Imact Report Released

Nothing new here.  It remains up to the neighbors to specify what mitigation is  wanted and needed if this project is going to have any positive impact at all.

We’ve all seen that it’s possible for a freight train to block two if not three crossing points at the same time. That would effectively cut a majority of our neighborhood off from emergency services.

It seems to me that this is what an EIR is supposed to address. We can all foresee the possibility of such an occurrence – an earthquake, rail spill, yet there is no proposed mitigation specifically addressing this very real, very foreseeable impact to public health and safety.

Grade separations are a major public infrastructure investment throughout Riverside. Magnolia Avenue is about to begin construction in a few short weeks.

There is no reason not to consider a grade separation as way to mitigate the impact.  It moves the City closer to safer, more efficient traffic flows and puts us one step closer to building out the necessary grade separations already called for by the City.

Since this project involves federal money, we all have a vested interest in forcing a serious look at the reasons for not considering the Highgrove station. This option gives every potential rail rider new options for travel by combining the site with an already operational Metrolink to San Bernardino and LA.

The reason given for not considering this option was the added exhaust pollution generated from having to back up. That’s supposed to be dangerous enough to nix the option? Aren’t they going to back up at the end of the line in Perris? This flimsy reason doesn’t meet the test that an EIR is designed for.

The money to pay for this option is never going to be cheaper. We can all foresee a much more robust, convenient, popular, rider friendly network of rail travel options.  The time to take small steps is right now before gas supplies or prices become overly erratic. This is something we can add at little extra cost and it gives us so much in future options.

If you want to make this work, to improve safety and access throughout the neighborhood, get educated and get involved.

Don’t forget to make your comments for the record. There’s a public meeting Wed., April 14th.

Perris Valley Line Public Hearings Announced

March 29, 2010


The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) proposes to extend commuter rail service from the existing Riverside Downtown Station to the City of Perris. The proposed project, the Perris Valley Line (PVL), would be operated by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) as a Metrolink line on existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and the RCTC owned San Jacinto Branch Line (SJBL) track that would be connected via a new short section of track near Citrus Street in Riverside (“Citrus Connection”).

The proposed project would include track rehabilitation with welded rails, new track for a 9‑mile segment parallel to I‑215 south of Box Springs Road and north of Nuevo Road, a new connection with BNSF north of the city of Riverside called the Citrus Connection, track relocated to a new platform at Perris Station, and four new stations. These stations would be located in the Hunter Park area, March Field/Moreno Valley, Perris, and south Perris. A layover facility would be constructed near the South Perris Station. Enhancements would be made at over 15 existing grade crossings and could include flashing warning devices, gates, raised center medians, striping, signing and pavement markings, crossing safety lighting, and pedestrian safety improvements. As a part of upgrading the track, two existing bridges over the San Jacinto River would be replaced.

Last year, RCTC circulated a proposed Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the PVL. In response to public input received (written comments and verbal testimony), RCTC decided to modify the proposed project and elevate the level of environmental document to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Draft EIR will be available for public review April 5, 2010. The Draft EIR will be made available online and hard copies will be available for review at the RCTC offices, the Riverside Public Library, the Moreno Valley Public Library, the Perris Branch Library, and the Woodcrest Library.

RCTC will conduct public hearings:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 9:30 AM
Riverside County Administrative Center
Board Room
4080 Lemon Street
Main Floor
Riverside, CA 92502‑2208


Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:00 PM
City of Perris City Council Chambers
(corner of San Jacinto and Perris Boulevard)
101 North “D” Street
Perris, California 92570

If you wish to make a comment on the Draft EIR, you may submit your written comments postmarked no later than May 24, 2010 to:

Ms. Edda Rosso, Capital Projects Manager
Riverside County Transportation Commission
P.O. Box 12008
Riverside, CA 92502‑2208

Riverside Loses Port Fight

An Orange County judge has ruled against Riverside’s 2009 lawsuit seeking to block expansion of the Port of Los Angeles and force the port to help pay for transportation improvements the project would require.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Bauer wrote in a March 10 ruling, made public this week, that the port expansion would have “an insignificant impact” on Riverside and that Inland-area demand for products will create increased train traffic even without the expansion.

I don’t know about you, but I seem to recall the City paying John Husing lots of money for his insight on how to promote the Inland Empire as the home of “cheap dirt”.

Judge rejects rule intended to limit train-yard pollution

Our economic destiny was supposed to come because of our unique suitability as a logistics hub.  After all we were only an hour from the mountains, an hour from the beach and an hour from the desert.  Just the perfect spot to sort crap and ship it on it’s way.

It just didn’t make economic sense to  sort all those goods at the port or pay for the full costs of shipping them from cheap labor countries to cheap dirt ones.

No, they had to stage them in the Inland Empire because we didn’t have the educational levels to support more advanced businesses like those that might come from green jobs.

I remember the Friends Of Riverside’s Hills suing the City and developers over the apparent disagreement over the value of cheap dirt in the Residential Conservation (RC) zoned areas of Riverside.

Husing questioned the city’s decision to take on the issue in court, particularly at a time when the recession has slowed shipping and train traffic. As if a 25 percent drop from 2006 to 2009 makes everything all right now.

An then there’s Moreno Valley permitting a Sketchers warehouse for additional truck trips.  Maybe one day they’ll regret that decision and start to realize as Riverside apparently has, that seizing our destiny goes well beyond short term solutions. And that disregarding the true costs, impacts and consequences of those them does little to prepare us for overcoming them.

Berkeley Bicycle Dispute Goes Viral

Could there be too much success when it comes to adopting a bicycle centered transportation approach?

UC Berkeley police say they have issued 103 bike citations from August to November, a 41% increase over the same period last year, nabbing students for riding through designated “dismount zones” and locking their bikes to railings instead of often-overfilled racks.

UC Berkeley students — already squeezed by steep tuition increases — are banding together

to protest campus citations for bike infractions that run $220 apiece and exceed many vehicle violations.  And well they should.

Let’s hope we plan for a much better outcome in Riverside. No one except ousted City of Bell officials would sign off on that.

Corona Mayor Launches Facebook Campaign Against Red-Light Cameras

It seems it’s not only “we the people” who are revisiting the wisdom of extracting time and revenue out of the local tax base in service to public safety.  Maybe this isn’t such  a good investment after all. Find out why Corona Mayor Steve Nolan is going it solo for the voters.

Find out where the red light cameras are here in Riverside.

Tricks and Adaptations for a New Market Economy.

UNA Supports High Grove Metrolink Station

On behalf of the neighborhood, the following letter was submitted.

November 17, 2009

John Standiford
Riverside County Transportation Commission
4080 Lemon St. 3rd Floor
Riverside CA 92502-2208

RE: Perris Valley Line (PVL)

Dear Mr. Standiford;

Over 4 years ago on October 13, 2005, the University Neighborhood Association submitted a letter to RCTC supporting the concept of routing the PVL through Highgrove and of establishing a Metrolink station in Highgrove.

Our community continues to support this concept because that location seems to offer greater overall flexibility. In addition to servicing Metrolink traffic from the PVL, the Highgrove station establishes services to existing Riverside and San Bernardino traffic, and opens opportunities to increase the number of potential riders through the expanded capacity and the flexibility to serve them.

Further, Highgrove has adequate land for a station and parking. Plus, the people of Highgrove want the station and support the PVL.

Most importantly: Expanded passenger rail options maximize taxpayer dollars. The development of rail corridors must be looked at in a context that is bigger than a single project. The PVL provides an opportunity to do that with the Highgrove option. Watch the video.

Please take under advisement that while the UNA supports the Highgrove station concept, our own concerns remain. The PVL impact on our neighborhood continues to attract the attention of a growing number of our neighbors.

As you know we have several sensitive receptor uses immediately adjacent to the PVL right of way.

•    Within 500 feet of this project, we have
1.    two elementary schools,
2.    two city parks, a county park, and
3.    several day care facilities.

•    We have a number of public safety concerns
1.    the impact of noise, vibration, and air pollution on health.
2.    the safety of our school children due to the increased rail traffic.
3.    public safety due to hazardous materials now being carried by BNSF.
4.     public safety in crossing the rail right of way to access the county park.
In point 4, we refer to the PVL project bisecting our community, including  the City and County trails network. Access to the park and trails requires a safe, environmentally sound solution to connect with and enjoy the historic trails into the Box Springs Mountain Park.

Lastly, we are concerned with the PVL impact upon our quality of life.

To be clear, we wish to reiterate our support for the Highgrove solution. However,  do not construe that support as an endorsement for the PVL, especially in light of the fact that the EIR is not yet complete.

We remain committed to the healthiest result with the least impact for the biggest taxpayer payoff.

As our last work on the matter of the Highgrove station, if the PVL is really about regional transportation, then it makes sense to locate stations in locations that offer the greatest utility. The Highgrove solution is uniquely located to accomplish just that.


Gurumantra Khalsa
Co Chair University Neighborhood Assn.