GNA Meeting Minutes for February 4, 2010
6:30 Welcome, Bonnie Tovaas, GNA Leadership Team Member
6:35 Introductions of all meeting attendees
6:40 Magnolia Avenue Grade Separation
Tom Boyd, Deputy Public Works Director, said that the bridge that will be constructed at Magnolia will look very different from the one recently built at Jurupa near the Martha Mclean park, but that the project is similar.
Phase 1 of project. Building demolition is underway, as is asbestos and lead paint abatement. The parking lot for the DMV will be closed because the railroad tracks will go through part of that lot during construction, and a temporary lot will constructed. Traffic from Merrill to the Riverside Plaza will be shifted to Beatty and Beatty will be widened to four lanes. Changes to Beatty are scheduled to occur through late May/June.
Phase 2. When construction begins on the bridge, Magnolia will be taken down to one lane of traffic. (Expected to occur in mid June 2010) The City will provide an alternate route from Beatty to Brockton to Magnolia. This alternate route will likely be in place for 9 months while the bridge is under construction. Two southbound lanes on Magnolia will be taken under the bridge so that traffic never stops for the train. The expected completion of the project is June 2011. Tom Boyd said that people should “get used to driving Beatty.”
When Magnolia needs to be completely closed to traffic, that will occur on evenings and weekends. Cindie Perry’s job is to inform residents of these closures.
Cindie, Public Works Manager, said that all information about alternate routes and traffic impacts is available on their website. (See http://www.riversideca.gov/gs/magnolia.asp ) She will also send out “e-mail blasts” and folks can sign up to receive their newsletter for additional information.
Remarks made during Q & A:
Tom Boyd indicated that the “little jog” from Central to Brockton will be shut down but might be reopened if they find that closure is not necessary. He said that a streetlight will go in at Beatty and Magnolia at the same time that Beatty is widened.
Bonnie Tovaas asked how the City make concessions for the traffic impact on Palm Ave. Tom Boyd explained that the City has done traffic counts prior to the project and will recount traffic during construction to assess impact on residential streets. They will work to reduce the impact on residential streets where necessary. The City is concerned about locals’ reliance on residential streets as alternate routes. If residents’ streets are impacted, they should contact Cindie Perry at the 311 number.
A meeting attendee asked how RPD would address the traffic issues. He indicated that they can’t do anything until they see how this plan actually impacts traffic in the area. They will address it then and “will be responsive” to residents’ concerns.
7:10 Grand Area Update, Mike Gardner, City Councilman
Mike Gardner said that he was happy to see so many people in attendance from the other side of Grand Ave. He explained the boundaries of the area and indicated that the other side of Jurupa goes to Ward 3 and therefore has a different councilman. He echoed the developments described in the written update, that the homeless guy at the strip mall at Jurupa and Grand has been moved out. He expects that he will try to return and if we see him back, please call Mike.
Regarding the filling the large vacant space left behind by the Rancho Sol market, Mike said that the economic climate is not conducive to finding commercial tenants. They explored the possibility of Fresh and Easy moving in, but F and E wants to build their own stores and has other requirements that make their presence at this location unlikely. One possibility that had been pursued was using the space as storage for the City.
He talked about the recent developments in the downtown area, with the opening of the Fox theater. “The revitalization of downtown is on its way,” he said.
He also talked about the electronic transmission line project. The capacity of the system is exceeded by demand each summer, so an upgrade is needed. (For more information about this project, please see http://www.riversideca.gov/UTILITIES/elec-rtrp.asp )
Several routes are being considered for new transmission lines. One route is along the bluffs that border the Santa Ana River Trail. Another is on the other side of the river in Jurupa Valley. It will be approved in a year or two and there will be opportunities for the public to give their input. Residents from Jurupa Valley have been expressing their concerns with Supervisor John Tavaglione. Residents in Riverside need to express their concerns for the route that might go along the bluff on our side of town.
Another project is the sewer trunk replacement which will go through (literally, tunnel through) Martha McLean Park. It will impact residents living along the bluffs. Bike traffic on the Santa Ana River Trail will be diverted from Grand to Jurupa and Jurupa to Van Buren. After the project is done, the path will go in as originally planned.
One resident asked if the “perpendicular” curves would be smoothed out during this process. Mike said that there might be small opportunities to smooth out the trail, but that much of the land around the trail where it needs to be smoothed is privately owned and therefore large changes are unlikely. There are areas where parallel dirt paths may be placed.
One resident expressed concern about the degradation of the bluff area of homes which run alongside the river trail, particularly given the possibility of transmission lines and now sewer trunk construction along the bluffs. Wendy DeBoer said that residents along the bluff areas should mobilize and write letters to the County Supervisor to stop the transmission line project, in light of the impact of the sewer line replacement. This area is currently endangered and should be protected.
Addressing the vacant lot behind the Grand/Jurupa strip mall, Mike said that there was a possibility of the builder constructing a senior living facility for approximately 40 unites. He feels that this type of property can be “a pretty decent neighbor.”
7:25 Riverside Police Dept. Update, Lt. Chris Manning; Nancy Castillo; Aurelio Melendrez; Sean Schwartz
Nancy Castillo handed out a “who to call” sheet
Lt. Manning handed out his card. He said that our area has been “calm and quiet” but that one concern that they have for the area is the “long term camping” that’s happening in the riverbed, particularly the fire potential caused by transients’ campfires. He strongly encouraged people to call the 787-7911 number and to then call him directly at 351-6045 so that he can make sure that it has been followed up.
One resident pointed out the difficulty of calling police because of the lack of landmarks along the river and thus the challenge of explaining where the camps are to police. He said that residents should find as good a landmark as they can and direct police from that point.
Another resident pointed out that there is a lot of new foot traffic through Old Ranch Rd. Lt. Manning said that residents need to call the police when they see this in their area. They can address “quality of life” issues and will work to displace transients, but they can only do it if residents notify them of the problem. He suggested the same for the addressing the undesirable elements at the strip mall of Grand and Jurupa.
Two residents from Grassy Trail Dr said that there have been numerous break-ins at the cul-de-sac near Grassy Trail and Deerfield. Lt. Manning said that residents need to call each time an incident occurs so that they can monitor what is going on.
7:45 Leadership Team, Website, and Survey
Wendy DeBoer, Leadership Team Member, discussed new developments to the leadership team. The group had begun to wane and the team decided to try to revive it. One decision that was made was to have quarterly meetings with the website operating as a way to get the word out between in-person meetings. Many residents expressed enthusiasm about the website but it was also noted that some folks don’t use computers and so there should be hard copies available as well. Wendy said that she will bring hard copies of updates to future meetings. A number of residents also expressed appreciation for the flyers that were handed out prior to the meeting. Many had lived in the area for years but did not know the group existed until they received these flyers last week. Wendy said that we need volunteers in the other “nooks and crannies” of the area to hand out fliers to get the word out about the meetings. She said that the group wants to move towards a more formal structure with by-laws, mission statement and elections.
Steve Whatley, Leadership Team Member, encouraged residents to fill out the survey so that the leadership team has a good idea of how to plan future meetings, and what issues really concern our area most.
Notes written by Wendy DeBoer, Leadership Team Member
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Save the date! Future quarterly meetings are scheduled for May 6, 2010; August 5, 2010; and November 4, 2010