Invisible Trajectories

NOTES ON THE CLOSURE OF CA ROUTE 30

In the early 1990s, the City of Rancho Cucamonga formed the Route 30 Freeway Ad Hoc Task Force Committee. Many public meetings were held in the 1990s, and it was decided that the City preferred to have the freeway depressed wherever possible. The original concept was for an elevated freeway, and the right-of-way that had been preserved was for a future elevated freeway concept. The portion of Highland Avenue between Woodruff Avenue and Fairmont Way was too close to the freeway, and had to be vacated in order to make room for the eastbound I-210 Freeway on/off ramps at Milliken Avenue.

In November of 1999, the portion of Highland Avenue between Fairmont Way and San Benito Avenue was temporarily closed for construction. In January, February and April of 2000, public meetings were held to discuss what should be done with the portion of Highland Avenue between San Benito Avenue and Fairmont Way after the I-210 Freeway was completed. It was decided to keep this portion of Highland Avenue closed until after the new freeway was opened and to re-study this issue then. The new I-210 Freeway opened to public traffic on November 24, 2004.

On February 21, 2006, City staff held a public workshop to discuss what should be done with the portion of Highland Avenue between San Benito Avenue and Fairmont Way. Approximately 300 residents attended this meeting, and the majority voiced their opinion that they desired that this street be permanently closed. Their primary concern was that if the freeway should become congested that drivers from the I-210 Freeway could use Highland Avenue as a bypass route.

In January of 2006, City staff sent out approximately 3,600 surveys to residents asking their opinion on whether Highland Avenue should be re-opened or permanently closed. Of the 3,600 surveys, 911 surveys were returned. The final tally indicated that 447 residents voted to close Highland Avenue permanently, 425 voted to re-open Highland Avenue, and 39 indicated that they were undecided and wanted more information. On April 16, 2006, this item was presented to the City Council for discussion. Over 300 residents attended this public meeting. Residents spoke both in favor of and in opposition to the re-opening of Highland Avenue. The residents in favor of re-opening of Highland Avenue expressed that it was inconvenient to drive on the freeway when going to the park and school from the west side of the Deer Creek Channel. At some time after midnight, the City Council decided to continue the discussion of this item to the next meeting. At the May 3, 2006 City Council meeting, the City Council by 3-2 vote directed staff to prepare an Environmental Assessment for the permanent closure of Highland Avenue. The City Attorney had determined that since Highland Avenue had only been temporarily closed for construction of the freeway that the City Council could order the road opened without any additional environmental studies. However, in order to permanently close a street, that there needed to be an environmental assessment prepared, and a noticed public hearing held.

On August 16, 2006, the City Council adopted the Environmental Assessment and approved the permanent closure of Highland Avenue between San Benito Avenue and Fairmont Way. City staff is currently working on plans to install electric gates to allow emergency vehicles access to the closed portion of Highland Avenue. Pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians will still be able to use Highland Avenue. --Jon Gillespie