Results tagged “transportation” from Raincross Square

The presidential streets of Riverside

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Beginning near Arlington Avenue in Riverside and stretching eight miles southwest along Magnolia Avenue into the Home Gardens community near Corona, 17 streets placed at half-mile intervals honor the nation's first presidents.

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2012
Numero Uno

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2012
Intersecting presidents

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2012
Monroe Park neighborhood

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1954-55
From Washington to Buchanan
(Pre Riverside (91) Freeway)

Laid out in 1876 by the Riverside Land & Irrigation Company, the streets -- with one notable exception and two later changes -- were named in the order of presidential office, starting with Washington and ending with Grant (who was president at the time).

The most notable exception is the slight re-ordering of the first five streets. Laid out as Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Adams and Monroe, the order of Adams and Madison had been swapped. It's likely that the need to use the Adams name again as street number six (for John Quincy Adams) caused the swap, resulting in a single Adams Street at position four equally honoring John Adams (our second president) and John Quincy Adams (our sixth president).

Continuing past Monroe from Jackson Street southwest to Grant Street in Home Gardens, the remaining 12 are in order with two more exceptions -- Taylor and Johnson streets. Local historian Steve Lech indicates that (Andrew) Johnson Street was renamed McKinley Street, likely to honor McKinley who was assassinated in 1901. And sometime after 1955, Taylor Street was renamed La Sierra Avenue.

Though we haven't been able to confirm why Taylor Street was changed to La Sierra Avenue, three possible reasons emerge. First, it aligned the street under a single name (Holden Avenue and Taylor Street were in use north and south of Magnolia Avenue respectively). Second, it gave the growing La Sierra area a more prominent identifier. Third, the 1957 opening of the Riverside (91) Freeway may have created confusion with having both Taylor and Tyler as consecutive freeway exits.

In addition to the original presidential streets along Magnolia Avenue, there are several other streets in Riverside that also use the names of presidents. And although some of these also intersect with Magnolia, they do not match up with the original order. These include Garfield, Cleveland and Lincoln (not to be confused with another Lincoln Street near Corona), Hayes, Taft, Roosevelt, Coolidge, Kennedy, Nixon, Harding and McKinley (not to be confused with the other McKinley Street in Corona).

One other street -- Hoover Street -- is also present. However, the late historian Tom Patterson indicates it may have been named after a property owner. Also, a small neighborhood along Washington Street just southeast of Magnolia Avenue contains streets related to Washington: Mt. Vernon, Potomac, and Delaware.

Regardless of the minor changes and later ancillary additions, the original presidential streets remain an interesting trait of Riverside.

Sources: The Press-Enterprise, Riverside Public Library, "Along The Old Roads" (Steve Lech), "A Colony For California" (Tom Patterson)


After decades of nearly unfettered sprawl, the time has come to seriously begin changing the basic developmental patterns of Inland Southern California.

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2006
Corona Pointe
Corona

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2006
Crossroads Corporate Center
Murrieta


Ontario

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Downtown Riverside
MetroPacific Properties, LLC

Gone should be the days of leap-frogging, low-density development. In its place, should come more balance, both in densities and in types. More mid- and high-rise development coupled with higher percentage of business and commercial projects (and less residential).

As previously mentioned (one | two), we're not suggesting New York City style mega-density, but pockets of moderate densities -- particularly in downtown Riverside and around Ontario Airport -- similar to those found within the downtowns of Pasadena, Glendale, Santa Monica and Long Beach.

If the recent recession has demonstrated any major weakness within Inland Southern California, it's the region's lack of commercial maturity and continued reliance upon warehousing and residential development as its primary form of economic growth. Not only has such dependence created an unbalanced (and unreliable) economic engine, it's left the region with an unbalanced (and wasteful) landscape, one dominated by sprawling development and ever-growing commutes.

Quite simply, area residents, builders and government officials alike must begin accepting -- and more importantly, insisting -- on better quality, higher density, more diverse development patterns focused more around jobs and less on housing tracts. Moreover, such future development needs to be coupled with -- and encourage -- alternative transportation, else this region will remain a land of nightmarish commutes.

However, amid the hardships of the current economic downturn lies a silver lining. Or better yet, think of it as a golden opportunity. A chance for Inland Southern California to catch its breath, re-focus and begin adding balance back to the region's landscape. Fortunately, a smattering of projects, both built and proposed (some of which are stalled due to the current economic climate) may signal change is afoot. But just as it took several decades to get to where we are today, it will likely take several to re-balance. But without a doubt, the transformation needs to begin sooner rather than later.

Thus, the question remains -- will we take advantage of the current slowdown to begin addressing and planning for the region's long-term, sustainable economic and lifestyle needs? We think the clear answer is -- can we afford not to?


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Interchange flyovers set to open

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After many years of planning and 3+ years of construction, Caltrans is adding the finishing touches to the newly-built flyovers for the 60/91/215 interchange project in downtown Riverside. Although construction will continue on other aspects of the freeway project until about mid-2008, the flyovers are scheduled to open for traffic the last week of December.


Dec. 2007
60/91/215 interchange

The two freeway-to-freeway connectors -- northbound 60/215 to westbound 91 and southbound 215 to eastbound 60/215 -- are the main aspects of the $350+ million project, which also includes additional lanes and rebuilt bridges, mostly along a 5 mile stretch along the 60/215 toward Moreno Valley.

Long considered one of the region's worst bottlenecks, the project will greatly expand capacity of the 1950s-era cloverleaf and adjoining tributaries. The interchange was one of the primary projects promised from the county's half-cent transportation sales tax, first passed by voters in 1988.

Photo Gallery: 60/91/215 Interchnage project

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Growth as usual?

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Last month, a report issued by the California Department of Finance indicated Inland Southern California will likely double to 8 million residents by 2050. Whether all 4 million new residents show up within the next 40 years or not, recent history indicates the region can still expect a large influx of new residents.

As we previously noted, the million-dollar question is whether Inland Southern California will follow current patterns and continue sprawling farther outward? Or, will local officials, developers and residents alike begin accepting the need to begin growing smarter?


2007
The good
San Bernardino


2007
The not so good
Menifee
Google


2007
The better
Downtown Riverside

Two recent news items may give an indication of where we're headed. One article gives us hope that change is coming, specifically that both local governments and developers are beginning to add density -- and diversity -- to their mix of projects. The other article, however, gives us cause for concern and points to the notion that it is -- and will be -- "business as usual" in the ever-sprawling Inland region.

First, the good. Banking giant Wells Fargo recently announced the consolidation of various offices scattered about the region into a single, 5-story office building in the Hospitality Lane area of San Bernardino. Although we would have preferred to see the consolidation take place within downtown San Bernardino -- or even downtown Riverside -- the Hospitality Lane area indeed is a very successful campus-style commercial development. As such, its densities are not quite that of a downtown area, but at least a single 5-story building beats five, 1-story tilt-ups taking up five times the land area.

Second, the not so good. A recent article highlighted developers looking ahead toward the next wave of housing growth -- specifically, where it'll likely take place. In our opinion, the article displayed several problems for the future of this region if current development patterns are not changed sooner rather than later.

In particular, two aspects concerned us the most. One, the fact that most developers tend to be eyeing residential projects (as opposed to a balance of housing and employment projects):

Even amid the biggest housing slump of the past decade, Inland developers and planners are not asking if or when the market will rebound -- but where.

... Economists have forecast the housing market may not pick up until the end of next year at the earliest. In the meantime, some developers have turned their attention to commercial and industrial real estate, while others are focused on acquiring land to hold.

The Press-Enterprise

And second, that such development will likely be sprawling, single-family oriented development, simply gobbling up the next available tract of land:

...Most developers acknowledge there are obstacles to overcome in sprawling development -- from getting water to all the new homes to alleviating extra traffic on the freeways -- nevertheless, they say, growth will occur.

The Press-Enterprise

We feel these two notions must begin to change, most notably at the local government levels. Simply put, local governments must begin decreasing sprawl-oriented development, especially in the residential arena, as well as increase zoning for future employment centers, else the region will predominantly consist of sprawled-out bedroom communities -- and long commutes:

Much of the attractiveness of southwest Riverside County comes from its position between Riverside and San Diego, said Randall Lewis, executive vice president of Upland-based Lewis Group of Cos., another developer involved in several projects in that portion of the county.

"That means it's got a big commuter market," he said.

The Press-Enterprise

Is being even more of a "commuter market" what we really should be planning -- much less aiming -- for?

Bottom line here is that it's a lot easier -- and cheaper -- to zone ahead for impending commercial/employment uses now rather than having to rezone/redevelop pockets of existing residential uses later (which some of the region's older cities may find, in some instances, is closer to reality than they realize).

Fortunately, there is some hope as Riverside County is working to tackle the jobs/housing imbalance where it counts -- in land-use matters. With its Riverside County Integrated Project (RCIP), Riverside is attempting to manage future growth by simultaneously planning for it at three interdisciplinary levels: environmental, residential/commercial and transportation.

The crux of the plan essentially trades pockets of density for increased open space. As such, the pockets of moderate density keeps development from sprawling as well as allowing for the potential for varied transportation options -- namely, transit (think Metrolink versus freeway). However, the RCIP applies to the unincorporated areas of Riverside County and not the already established cities, so it's not an all-inclusive solution. Moreover, will the county and developers reasonably follow the "blueprint for tomorrow" as outlined?

As previously stated in a recent post, we're not envisioning New York City densities, but limited pockets of greater intensity, particularly in the existing downtown areas of Riverside and San Bernardino and portions of Ontario. In essence, we're simply going to have to begin accepting more mid- and high-rise projects.


In other words, it's time to begin growing up, both figuratively and literally.

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Time to grow up

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If population projections released this past week come to fruition, Riverside County will be the second most-populous county in California by 2050, ranking behind only behemoth Los Angeles County.


2006
Downtown Riverside


2006
Piemonte
Ontario

The report, issued by the California Department of Finance -- the folks responsible for statewide fiscal planning and demographics -- says Riverside County can expect to house 4.7 million residents in about 40 years. This would move the county from its current spot as the fourth most-populous to the No. 2 spot, with only Los Angeles County's projected 13.1 million being larger (indeed, much larger). San Bernardino County is projected to remain the fifth most-populous with 3.7 million.

If recent history is a guide, however, one thing is certain -- we cannot simply ignore the potential numbers. Although there's no guarantee that all 2.5-plus million residents will actually arrive as projected, there's no doubt Riverside County will still absorb a large amount of future growth (as we've learned over the past 40 years). So too will San Bernardino County. Thus, ignoring the growth is not the answer -- but aggressively planning for it is.

Therefore, the question is, will local officials and residents alike simply allow development to continue sprawling outward? Or, will we begin to realize -- and accept -- the time has come to begin growing upward?

In our opinion, we do not see any other option but upward. We're not talking a forest of 50-story towers. Instead, we're envisioning pockets of mixed-use, higher density developments consisting of modest 15-, 20- and 30-story buildings, mostly in the existing downtowns of Riverside and San Bernardino and possibly even Ontario. Likewise, we hope to see smaller clusters consisting of 5-, 10- and 15-story buildings in some portions of Corona, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Temecula, Murrieta and even Redlands. Such would greatly increase future options in living, working, transportation and cultural amenities while still maintaining the viability of existing lifestyles. In essence, simply adding balance to the current landscape.

Census: 2050
California's 10 most-populous counties
(w/ 2000 ranking)

Indeed, Inland Southern California cannot continue spreading outward, if only for two major reasons -- lack of efficient, multi-modal transportation and the need for stronger, more diversified employment centers. It's becoming more evident that continuing current development patterns is simply too expensive -- everything from environmental concerns and infrastructure constraints (think: freeway gridlock) to overall quality of life.

Quite frankly, do we really want our children and their children to spend countless hours commuting to LA, Orange and San Diego counties as many of us and our parents before have done? Whether it be for employment or even entertainment purposes, we think the smart answer is an emphatic "No."

Thus, it's now time to grow up.

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Out & About - 11/18/2006

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Saturday, November 18, 2006 - The weekend heading into Thanksgiving finds downtown Riverside in a state of transformation as finishing touches are being made to holiday decorations ahead of the annual Festival of Lights, which officially begins the Friday after turkey day.

This year, a new addition to an expanded FOL had workers assembling a compact ice rink. Slated to open in time for next weekend's FOL kickoff ceremony, the rink is situated on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall between Mission Inn and University avenues.

Oh, and during our stroll around downtown we noticed that the long-awaited Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is now open at the base of the California Tower. CB&TL joins fellow coffee purveyor Starbucks in joining the downtown mix.

In other news, the Mission Inn Coffee Co. has been officially replaced by Bella Trattoria Italian Bistro. Also, the small band stage outside City Hall is no more (likely in preparation for the eventual re-opening of Ninth Street thru the pedestrian mall). And the massive rebuilding of the 60/91/I-215 freeways interchange continues to move along.


New interchange partially opens

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The first significant portion of the soon-to-be rebuilt 60/91/215 interchange in downtown Riverside opened this week, bringing some long-awaited relief for locals and commuters alike, many of which have come to despise the antiquated interchange.

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2006
Westbound flyover
Flash: View photo overlay

The new eastbound connector, though still somewhat temporary in nature, should allow for smoother transitioning from eastbound Highway 91 to eastbound Highway 60/southbound I-215. Reconfiguring a portion of the existing eastbound 91 adjacent to the new connector will come next, eventually allowing for the full implementation of the new transition.

When fully completed in late 2007, the interchange will also sport two new freeway-to-freeway connector ramps, auxiliary lanes and a wider main line allowing for future carpool/lane additions.

Also included in the overall $320 million project are major improvements on the 60/215 portion between downtown Riverside and Moreno Valley, with new overcrossings, improved access to UC Riverside, carpool lane extensions and an eastbound truck-only lane.

Though partially delayed due to initial funding obstacles and rising costs, the downtown interchange project was one of the key elements of a half-cent sales tax/transportation improvement package (Measure A) that Riverside County voters overwhelmingly approved (79%) in 1988 and extended an additional 30-years (69%) in 2002.

No doubt, residents old and new alike will be glad to finally see the end is nearing for 'malfunction junction.'

Photo Gallery: 60/91/215 interchange project

Related

Previous

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2004
Westbound flyover
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2005
Westbound flyover
above Spruce St.
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2006
Westbound flyover

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