UCR Environmental Health & Safety Facility Open House

UCR is hosting an open house for its Environmental Health & Safety Facility also known in the neighborhood as UCR’s Toxic Materials Handling and Storage Facility.

The date is Thursday September 30, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. – 11 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  The facility is located at South Campus Drive near the intersection of Citrus Drive and across the street from Parking Lot #6.

For further information contact:  Dr. Russell Vernon Phone:  (951) 827-5528.

A Little Background:
Thanks to Kevin Dawson for this:

While this facility does contain some office space and classrooms, its main purpose is being the campus hazardous waste storage facility.  This is where all the radiological, chemical, and biological waste is removed from the campus and stored until it is hauled away by a commercial waste company.

The purpose for this open house is to show the neighborhood that this facility is safe to relocate to a new location on Watkins Drive, in our neighborhood. They want to locate this on the site of the UCR community garden, next to the dorms, up hill a few hundred feet from the campus child care center, across the street from a proposed metrolink station, and next to our single family houses.

The waste would be hauled up and down Watkins Dr. We are talking about a facility that will include explosion resistant rooms, primary and secondary catch basins capable of retaining tens of thousands of gallons of affluent in the event of a spill or fire.

The campus proposed this project four years ago and we told them then that Child Care and Hazardous Waste don’t go together!! We suggested that there was plenty of room on the other side of campus, in the non-residential area that would be a more appropriate location. They weren’t happy but agreed. We were told that the EH&S would be put at the corner of MLK and Canyon Crest, next to the Freeway.

A few weeks ago, we were called to a special meeting where we were told that an executive decision had been made, and that the EH&S building must go on Watkins Dr.

The campus doesn’t want the EH&S facility at the location on MLK because the new Med School building is being relocated closer to that location. And so now they want to put it next to us.

They are also currently planning a 800 bed dorm (Glen Mor II)project for Big Springs Rd. and Valencia Hill Dr. The campus Long Range Development Plan specifies that all cross campus vehicle access will be closed. All the traffic for the new dorm will go through our neighborhood via Watkins Dr. That means all the kids, and all the service and delivery trucks.

The LRDP devoted several pages to how Watkins should be re striped to four lanes and have a light controlled intersection at Big Springs.  Installing a lighted intersection would require the removal of the stop signs further up Watkins so traffic wouldn’t back up and interfere at Big Springs. When I called the head city traffic engineer to ask why the city was going along with this plan, he said they didn’t.  He said he sat in the campus meetings and told them the city wouldn’t agree, but the campus put it in the plans anyway. (This is important to note because the neighborhood had worked with the city to stripe Watkins down to two lanes and put in the extra stop signs, to discourage cut through traffic and slow the traffic in the neighborhood. UCR is planning to undo our efforts.)

I think our neighborhood has already taken enough hits by UCR’s growth. The campus doesn’t seem to care the least what the impact of their development has on the off campus community.

If you have an opinion about these projects, it is important that you write or call the Chancellor now.

You should also forward the letter to the Regents of California and the legislators who are on the committee for higher education.  These projects are approved by the Regents as the lead agency, and they meet in San Francisco to make the decisions.

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