Caltrans is considering repairing a 4.4-mile closed gap in State Highway 39 in the northern section of the Angeles National Forest, a washed-out portion of highway north of Azusa, closed for 44 years, that blocks local access to ski areas and high-desert communities.
Highway 39 runs from downtown Azusa into the Angeles National Forest, taking 3 million to 4 million visitors every year to trails, campgrounds, picnic sites, river bends, Native American sites and off-road vehicle areas.
But motorists driving Highway 39, off the 210 Freeway, meet a dead-end about 27 miles north, just beyond Crystal Lake, a camping and recreational area. From rugged Snow Springs to Islip Saddle, the damaged state highway does not connect with its more famous cousin, Highway 2, known as the Angeles Crest Highway.
Completed in 1957, the dead-end road leaves motorists so close — yet so far — from higher elevations, picturesque vistas of pines, and snow country. If the road was repaired, closer access to the quaint mountain village of Wrightwood would be restored.
The road was washed out in 1978 by severe mud and rockslides. Caltrans has restored a rudimentary, one-lane shoulder only for emergency vehicles, such as Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and various fire agencies that fight forest fires in the rugged national forest.
A fully restored state highway for long-awaited public access, connecting the 210 Freeway with State Route 2, is one option of six on the table. Other options include: keeping it as an emergency route but closed to the public; building only a road for visitor shuttles and bicycles; constructing an elevated viaduct adjacent to the existing highway; or building just a single travel lane for vehicles, meaning cars would have to pull over for oncoming traffic to pass.
If restored for public access, residents of high desert communities such as Victorville — even Lancaster and Palmdale — could enjoy the mountains and then have dinner in Azusa, Duarte or Glendora, Castro said.
Moreover, San Gabriel Valley residents could cut their drive time to Wrightwood in half. Instead of going east to the 15 Freeway, Highway 138 and Highway 2, or west to La Cañada Flintridge and connecting with Highway 2 for more than 60 miles, the mountains and high desert would be a straight shot of about 32 miles up Highway 39 from the forest entrance gate just north of Azusa.
Azusa officials say forest fires in the mountains could leave residents and visitors stranded, since they can’t drive north to Highway 2 to escape. If the mountains are burning to the south, they would be trapped.
Azusa, as well as Glendora, Duarte and other foothill communities in eastern L.A. County get a lot of traffic as the cars that go up must also come back down, since there is no other way to return.
Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, has been pushing Caltrans to restore the state highway for nearly 20 years. Last month, she held a meeting with Caltrans, California Transportation Commission members and residents of Mountain Cove, an Azusa mountain community.
The latest Caltrans notice includes wording that says restoring and opening the closed segment “is also needed to bring this roadway into compliance with the California Streets and Highway Code.” The code states that Caltrans must monitor the impacts of “fragmented gaps in the State Highway System” for safety and long-term maintenance issues.
In 2009, Caltrans agreed to rebuild the washed out section, setting aside $32 million. But in 2011, just days before construction was to begin, Caltrans announced it had abandoned the fix. Instead, the $32 million set aside for Highway 39 went toward repairing a bridge on Highway 1 in Northern California.
Caltrans said a closer look revealed it would cost more than $32 million, but did not say how much. The agency 11 years ago said the project wasn’t cost-effective, may wash out again, and could put the bighorn sheep in danger of being run over by vehicles.
At the time, Caltrans cited the death of a neonatal bighorn lamb on the closed portion of the highway as evidence that a working road would increase the likelihood of lambs being run over. To prevent lamb deaths, the road would have to be closed or restricted during the sheep’s birthing season from January to June, Caltrans officials reported.
Caltrans chief of environmental planning, Aziz Elattar, had said that because the California Department of Fish and Game elevated the bighorn sheep’s status to fully protected, even one sheep’s life could not be lost as a result of the highway.
One of the alternatives includes building underpasses for the bighorn sheep to safely cross under the highway, something Napolitano mentioned as a possible mitigation.
Since Caltrans reneged on the project in 2011, many are skeptical about the state transportation agency’s refound proposal.
The public may submit comments by email:firstname.lastname@example.org. By mail: Karl Price, Caltrans District 7 – Division of Environmental Planning, I00 South Main St., MS 16A, Los Angeles, CA 90012. All public comments must be received by Jan. 16, 2023.
Baldwin Park announced they’ve received a $761,000 grant from the San Gabriel & Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy to build a new mini-park on Maine Ave.
The Maine Avenue Mini-Park will join a series of new mini-parks along the soon-to-be-extended Big Dalton Wash Trail and the Susan Rubio Zocalo Park in Downtown Baldwin Park, which will come on-line over the next couple of years and promote public health, mental health, climate resilience and educational and employment opportunities for youth. A bioswale, smart water irrigation system and stormwater capture improvements will ensure the sustainability of the mini-park. Additionally, its proximity to the San Fe Dam Recreation Area and the region’s extensive trail network support active transportation, furthering local and regional sustainability goals…
When completed, the park will include various passive and recreational amenities for the community, including 14 shade trees, an outdoor fitness area, shade structures, picnic tables, a grill, benches, accessible play equipment for kids and restrooms.
The city suggests it will be a great stopping point for bicyclists using the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area.
The park will be built using an additional $346,000 in matching funds from LA County Measure A. It’s expected to open to the public in 2024.
Progressive Real Estate Partners has brokered the sale of Chino Village, a neighborhood retail center located at 4103 Riverside Drive in Chino. An Orange County-based seller sold the property to a Los Angeles-based private investor for $8.4 million.
The purchase included the retail center and approximately 2.5 acres of undeveloped land with flexible zoning. Built in 1984, Chino Village features 20,600 square feet of retail space with more than 380 feet of frontage along multiple points of access. Current tenants include Jiffy Lube, Subway, Wienershnitzel and a variety of daily needs service providers
Several new businesses have submitted plans to the City of Chino Hills to locate to The Shoppes at Grand Avenue and Peyton Drive, off the 71 Freeway.
According to the City, the former New York & Company women’s clothing store has been divided into three suites for the following businesses: Removery, a tattoo removal and fading service to be located adjacent to Gemorie; Love Sac, a furniture retailer that includes couches with surround sound delivered by speakers embedded in the couch to be located next to Sleep Number; and Cava, a Mediterranean food restaurant that would face the parking lot near Panera Bread.
In addition, Brunk’s Butchery will move into the former Smashburger storefront. Brunk’s offers gourmet cheese, meats such as ribeye, tenderloin, and filet mignon, and deli items. The store also sells a variety of deli sandwiches.
El Monte city officials and community members gathered as the Police Department swore in its new chief Jake Fisher.
Fisher served as interim police chief after the tragic loss of Chief Ben Lowry in October, who died due to health issues. A few months before that, two officers were killed in the line of duty.
Fisher, who spent his 23-year career with the El Monte Police Department, describes the day as a bittersweet moment, but said he is ready to rise to the occasion to serve his community.
Downtown Glendora has become a nice outdoor gathering spot for visiting families in the East SGV. More improvements are coming this Spring.
In addition to the dining decks, lounge seating, parklets and traffic barriers that were installed throughout the pandemic the parklets’ centerpiece, Meda Avenue, will be stepped up soon. City officials say Meda Ave and its adjoining bus plaza will receive new shade sails, lighting, furniture, games, and landscaping in the early months of 2023.
Like in other downtowns/uptowns/old towns, these outdoor pieces have become assets for placemaking on Glendora Avenue.
The city’s Transportation Manager, Steven Mateer, says that the seven permanent, city-owned parklets in the Village have been maintained due to popular demand.
The parklets are of a high quality being made by a company from Norway. They are meant to be outside and to be used. At present the parklets have been out for a year and, according to the city have had no issues.
The Village Parklets are part of the city’s broader People Movement Project to connect the town with active transportation infrastructure, including the San Dimas Wash Greenway. Additionally there is now new bicycle parking in the Village.
The legendary Irwindale Speedway is facing demolition to make way for a massive industrial space, city officials said.
In April, the city of Irwindale proposed knocking down the racetrack, which has been operating since 1999, and building 63 acres of industrial and commercial facilities in order to boost employment opportunities.
The city said it had been approached with the plan by an unnamed applicant.
Months after the city put out its proposal, the racetrack was purchased by the IDS Real Estate Group, according to a Sept. 22 press release.
The city said that IDS plans to move forward with the plan to demolish and rebuild.
But the current leaseholder said no changes are on the horizon.
According to the leaseholder, the plans are to continue operations of the speedway for years to come.
For more than 20 years, the Irwindale Speedway has hosted car races — as well as spectacular and fiery car stunts — in the city east of Los Angeles. Located near the 605 and 210 freeways, the speedway features a one-eighth-mile drag racing strip as well as drift racing and a stock car driving school.
It is not the first time the speedway has faced existential threats from the city. In 2017, the Irwindale City Council approved plans to demolish the racetrack to build a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall.
But that plan was put on hold just months before a proposed demolition date and the track continued to operate.
The city’s current plan still has to go through environmental impact reviews.
The city anticipates that the report will address the “potentially significant impact” the demolition and development of the industrial space would have on the area’s air quality.
On top of environmental issues, racers have long argued that closing the track would prompt some car enthusiasts to turn to illegal street racing.
Nearly 8,000 people signed a petition opposing the track’s demolition in 2015, when it was first slated to be turned into a mall.
In June 2022, Brandywine Homes began construction on VerdanaII, a new moderate-income housing development in La Verne which will contain eight two-story, detached single-family homes. This limited program will be open to those who meet a maximum household income of $109,000.
In 2009, the City purchased a property on Walnut Street with funds dedicated specifically for affordable housing under the former Redevelopment Agency. Once Redevelopment Agencies were abolished by the state in 2012, the property was transferred to the City’s Housing Authority. Since that time, the City aimed to partner with a developer to build high quality, single-family homes for eligible families to purchase.
After multiple attempts to partner with a developer, the City officially entered an agreement with Brandywine Homes in December 2020. The City sold the Walnut Street property for one dollar in exchange for Brandywine Homes to take on costs associated with the design and construction of eight affordable single-family units. This partnership made this affordable housing effort possible by alleviating a significant financial burden on the City.
La Verne is also working with Brandywine Homes to ensure the land is zoned appropriately and remains in accordance with Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)’s 2021-2029 Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). Additionally, 48.5% of the 1,343 units must be dedicated to affordable households.
To gather public input and educate the community on the project, the City, Brandywine Homes and the environmental consultants, LSA Associates, Inc., hosted two virtual neighborhood workshops in May 2021. As part of the environmental review process, a number of potential environmental impacts were evaluated including aesthetics, air quality, utilities, noise and traffic. Since no significant impacts were found, City staff, the La Verne Development Review Committee and the La Verne Planning Commission all recommended that the City Council conditionally approve Verdana and Verdana II.
Verdana, located on Fruit Street, consists of 50 market-rate townhomes. There are three floor plan variations ranging in size from 1,310 to 1,791 square feet with two and three bedrooms. Units will have private, open space patios and two-car garages with side-by-side stalls.
Verdana II residences are about 1,357 square feet and have three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. Amenities include spacious floorplans, private yards and energy efficient features. The City’s agreement with Brandywine Homes prioritizes La Verne residents on the interest list for an opportunity to purchase one of the homes.
The new developments are anticipated to finish in early summer 2023. Interested applicants are encouraged to register on the interest list to be notified once applications are accepted. For more information contact: Eric Scherer, Community Development Director Telephone: (909) 596-8706
The Ontario Economic Development Department launched its first-ever Downtown Retail Pop-up Program. The Downtown Retail Pop-up Program calls for two (2) qualified small businesses looking to grow into brick-and-mortar stores. The program will bolster the downtown retail sector by providing selected applicants with technical support in obtaining permits, marketing assistance, introductions to the Downtown Ontario Improvement Association (DOIA), and the opportunity to test the local market.
The City will offer selected businesses short-term rental of City-owned commercial tenant space for $1.00 monthly for up to six (6) months, including free utilities and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The available tenant spaces are located in the heart of downtown Ontario on the busy Euclid Avenue and B Street, 137 N Euclid and 141 N Euclid. Selected applicants must provide proof of general liability insurance, apply for all necessary permits, sign a release of liability waiver and Right of Entry permit, and make a refundable deposit of $1/square foot.
The program complements the suite of existing downtown programs, which are essential as the City invests millions in property acquisitions, infrastructure improvements, and redevelopment projects. The current projects in the pipeline will bring a total of 750 new employees, 600 new residential units, 13,000 square feet of commercial, and one (1) new college. All these efforts aim to revitalize the authentic and historic downtown into a vibrant, walkable 18-hour downtown.
Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-up Program application submissions are due December 9, 2022. For detailed program guidelines and program application, visit https://bit.ly/dtopopup.
CapRock Partners has received $50 million in construction financing for the development of 4200 W. Valley Blvd., a 269,740-square-foot industrial warehouse in Pomona.
Once construction is completed, the Pomona warehouse will feature 40-foot clear heights, 28 dock-high doors, two grade-level doors, 129 car spaces and 46 trailer stalls.
The structure is located on a 12.5-acre site positioned approximately two miles from the 60 and 57 junction providing convenient access to Los Angeles, the Inland Empire and Orange County. The warehouse is close to the City of Industry Intermodal Facility, which is seven miles away; and the Ontario International Airport, which is 15 miles away. The industrial building will also be relatively close to the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles, each roughly 45 miles away.
Assemblymember Holden, District 41, presented the City of Rancho Cucamonga with a check for $1.9 Million for the implementation of an Early Wildfire Detection System. The $1.9 Million will cover the installation of a newly available early wildfire detection system along the City’s northern boundary, following the wildland-urban interface to the Alta Loma and Etiwanda neighborhoods along the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. The system will provide rapid detection, reporting, and response to wildfires.
The northern boundary of the City of Rancho Cucamonga consists of a wildland-urban interface between the residential Alta Loma and Etiwanda neighborhoods and the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. This area is particularly vulnerable to the risks of wildfire due to the rugged terrain and high wind events caused by gusting Santa Ana winds which can cause wildfires to spread rapidly. In 2003, the Grand Prix Fire, part of the Grand Prix incident – Padua – Old Wildfire complex which caused an estimated $1.3 billion in damages. The area also experienced the 2014 Etiwanda Fire, and most recently in 2020, the Thorpe Fire, igniting a small fire near Almond and Mai Streets.
The proposed FIREBird wildfire detection system is produced by Lindsey FireSense LLC, of Azusa, CA. The FIREBird system is designed specifically to detect and report wildfires as small as 5 x 5 feet, up to a detectable distance of 900 feet, typically in less than two minutes. Rapid detection results in faster fire response and smaller fires to contain. The goal of the system is to save significant resources, money, and most importantly, lives.
The funding allows for the installation of the FIREBird camera units along the City’s northern border and provides funds for ongoing training, maintenance, and implementation.
Earlier this year, the City of San Dimas filed a lawsuit against the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority which could force L Line trains to temporarily skip San Dimas Station on its eastward path toward Pomona. That makes this next bit of news a bit awkward.
In November 2022, the San Dimas Planning Division kicked off the environmental review process for its new Downtown Specific Plan, which aims to use the light rail stop at the center of the city's lawsuit to foster the construction of new housing and commercial uses nearby.
The specific plan area, centered on Bonita Avenue, spans east to west between Gaffney Street and the 57 Freeway and north to south between First Street and Arrow Highway. The train station, located on the east side of San Dimas Avenue to the south of Bonita, would anchor the district, which is also home to San Dimas City Hall and other municipal facilities.
The proposed specific plan would include six different districts, each with distinct development standards and goals. They include:
Gateway Village West: Located between the 57 Freeway and Cataract Avenue, the Gateway Village West zone would accommodate residential and commercial uses under a single roof, as well as community-serving open space and amenities.
Gateway Village East: Situated between Gaffney Street and Walnut Avenue, the Gateway East Zone is described as a transition zone between the Downtown core and lower-scale neighborhoods to the east.
Transit Village: Focused on the blocks directly adjacent to the station, the Transit Village zone is envisioned with residential, commercial, retail, and restaurant uses of similar scale and density to the Grove Station development at 182 S. Commercial Street.
Town Core: Comprising the commercial core of San Dimas along Bonita Avenue between Cataract and San Dimas Avenue, the Town Core Zone is intended to retain historic buildings with pedestrian-oriented uses at street level. New construction in the area would be required to match the form and site design of existing construction.
Also included are Public and Open Space zones, which pertain to the San Dimas Civic Center and Civic Center Park properties.
While the exact development potential of the specific plan is not stated, the plan area notably includes 14 sites which the city has identified for potential development as part of its 2021-2029 Housing Element update, which requires San Dimas to rezone to accommodate 1,248 new homes - nearly half of which must be affordable to low- and very low-income households.
The lawsuit against the Gold Line Construction Authority, filed in August, relates to the condemnation of an existing park-and-ride lot at the intersection of San Dimas Avenue and Railway Street, which would be expanded to serve Metro rail passengers. The Daily News reports that the decision to condemn the park-and-ride lot was originally suggested by San Dimas city officials, which objected to an earlier plan to convert a nearby maintenance yard into parking.
While reports indicate that both the Construction Authority and the city may come to a settlement agreement, a prolonged legal dispute could mean delays for the L Line extension, which is scheduled to begin service in 2025. In that event, Metro trains may initially skip San Dimas entirely to keep the project on track.
Sure Stay Plus by Best Western has opened in Upland. The hotel features 115 well-appointed guest rooms, complete with large flat-screen televisions, microwaves and mini fridges. The Sure Stay Plus Hotel by Best Western Upland also offers an outdoor pool, fitness center, guest laundry, meeting room, business center with complimentary printing and faxing, complimentary hot breakfast and free wireless internet.
The property's location at 1151 E. Foothill in Upland, is optimal for guests interested in exploring some of Southern California's most popular attractions. Located not too far from Los Angeles and Anaheim, guests can easily reach Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Angel Stadium and Downtown Los Angeles. Ontario International Airport is just a short drive from the hotel, as are the offices of Frito-Lay Inc. and Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
Twenty (20) new homes are currently under construction on San Jose Hills Road just west of Grand Avenue behind the Stater Bros. Shopping Center.
The project has reached a major milestone as framing of the first phase of homes has started with an estimated completion date of summer 2023.
The new development will offer the following:
• Four (4) product types with home sizes ranging from 1,838 square-feet (3 bed/3 bath) to 2,585 square-feet (4 bed/4bath), all with two (2) car garages and private yard space.
• Community amenity area comprised of an outdoor BBQ, gazebo, and green space.
• A combined 15,000 square-feet of community open space/common area(s) is provided.
• Located within a 5-minute walking distance to Mt. SAC and adjacent shopping center and restaurants.
• Located within the Walnut Valley Unified School District boundary.
For more information on this project, and other exciting new developments coming to Walnut in the near future, please contact the Planning Division at (909)595-7573.
The City of West Covina announced the completion of Cameron Park’s restroom improvements.
Enhancing and upgrading city facilities throughout the community has been a top priority for the West Covina City Council. In that effort, the recently completed upgrades of the Cameron Park restrooms are a prime example of the importance that the council has placed on providing the best public spaces for its community.
The Cameron Park Restroom Improvement Project was first approved by the West Covina City Council on April 5, 2022, and was awarded to Ace Construction, Inc in the amount of $210,584. The project includes vastly needed upgrades and improvements to both the men’s and women’s restrooms. The facility will feature new restroom fixtures including sinks, toilets, partitions, dispensers, and wall tile.