The City wasted no time closing Dufferin. Barriers and signs went up the same day as the hearing. The City should have at least waited until the emergency swing gates could be installed, but I need to remember that they “don’t represent us”.
So what now? Some suggestions I have heard and/or read:
- Drive down Stewart and Dufferin even if we don’t need to, just so we can increase traffic.
- Drive down Stewart and Dufferin and honk our horns.
- Boycott all businesses in the City of Riverside.
I disagree. Instead:
- I will drive on Stewart and Dufferin when it is the best route for me to take, such as when I go to or from the Woodcrest area.
- I will be respectful as I drive through these areas.
- I will visit businesses that I like in the City, but when presented with options – such as Target on Tyler or Target in Corona Crossings – I will go to Corona.
- I will pressure the County to build “A” Street (or Street “A”) as promised, and urge others to do the same.
One person who spoke at the July 14, 2009 hearing wondered why we County residents were fighting the Dufferin closure instead of pressuring the County to build “A” Street. I think that most people did not learn of the closure or the “A” Street option until days or weeks before the hearing. Faced with limited time, what would you do? Try to get an existing route to stay open or try to get a new street built?
When I first learned about the pending closure, I called our County Supervisor’s office to find out what he was doing to keep Dufferin open. I was referred to a letter sent by the County to the City that asked for the City to take additional “steps before moving forward with this proposed action”. With limited time, I focused my energy on letting people know about the pending closure and the public hearing.
Now it’s time to put pressure on the County.
The County residents in this area (Victoria Grove, The Orchard, Stone Harbor, Bridgeport, etc.) are in the 1st Supervisorial District, and our Supervisor is Bob Buster. The 1st District also includes most of the City of Riverside. A little history about Supervisor Buster from the District 1 section of the County’s website:
- “represented the 1st District on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors since 1993”
- “served on the Riverside City Council for two terms, 1980-1983 and 1990-1992”
- “as a citizen in the 1970s and 80s Bob helped draft, gather signatures and lead the winning campaigns for the initiative laws that protect over 10,000 acres of citrus greenbelt, historic Victoria Avenue, scenic hillsides and arroyos, and the Santa Ana River wildlife refuge.”
- “has worked to preserve the historical integrity of Riverside’s citrus greenbelts and surrounding hillsides”
- “still farming the orange and lemon groves his grandfather planted 75 years ago in Riversides Greenbelt”
Supervisor Buster has strong ties to the City and the greenbelt, but he also represents us County residents. Unfortunately, he was one of the architects of the plan to close Dufferin Avenue and cut off our access to the greenbelt.
From the May 7, 2009 City Planning Commission Staff Report *:
The notes on Exhibit 12 were created by former City Councilmember Ed Adkison who worked directly with the developers, County staff, Supervisor Buster and a Citizens Committee (referred to as the La Sierra/El Sobrante Committee) to create a larger-scale master circulation plan for the area that included the termination of McAllister Street and Dufferin Avenue at the southerly City limits, the extension of McAllister Parkway westerly to connect to La Sierra Avenue and the creation of a backbone street (Street “A”) to connect McAllister Parkway to Van Buren Boulevard.
From Resolution No. 20354 adopted by the Riverside City Council on February 18, 2003:
WHEREAS, County Supervisor Bob Buster formed the El Sobrante Committee, a joint committee comprised of representatives of the City of Riverside, the County of Riverside and respective representative residents of both, to review land use and development in the area directly south of the City; and
WHEREAS, City Councilman Ed Adkison has been a committee member of the El Sobrante Committee; and
WHEREAS, the El Sobrante Committee has recommended that there should be no additional connection to City of Riverside streets within the Greenbelt area of Riverside by the developments being proposed within the unincorporated County
We can try to put pressure on the City and County to reopen Dufferin, but considering that Supervisor Buster was involved in the decision to close Dufferin, I’m not sure that we will be successful. Of course, it can’t hurt to try. Could “we” mount legal challenges to keep Dufferin open? Even if “we” could, I assume that the cost would be prohibitive unless everyone in the area decided to organize and agreed to pitch in. I’m not an attorney, so I’ll let any attorneys in the area comment on this if they so desire.
I believe that we need to focus on the fight that we can win, which is pressuring the County to build “A” Street. “A” Street will at least give us access to Van Buren, and both the City and County agree that it should be built.
From the May 7, 2009 Planning Commission Staff Report *:
While staff understands that there was a conceptual agreement that the closure of Dufferin Avenue and accompanying traffic pattern modifications would not occur until after Street “A” was complete, Street “A” is not planned to be constructed any time in the near future.
From the May 7, 2009 Draft Planning Commission Minutes (comments by The City’s Deputy Public Works Director) *:
He referred to A Street and stated that probably three or four years ago the developers in the area approached him and said that they are having problems acquiring the right-of-way for A Street and they wanted the City to help them acquire it. He stated that they came to the City, not to the County for help even though the road is 90% in the County. He stated that they prepared with the City Attorney’s Office all the necessary documentation for the City to acquire the necessary right-of-way under eminent domain, in accordance with the Subdivision Map Act. He explained that is was the City that was prepared to help build A Street not the County Supervisors.
And from the April 23, 2009 letter from the County’s Director of Transportation to the City *:
Due to significant concerns from nearby County residents, both the City and the County agreed to keep the minor, de-emphasized connection between McAllister Pkwy and Dufferin (which is about 2000 ft westerly of where the direct connection of McAllister was) on an interim basis at least until such time as new route (“A” Street) was to be constructed between McAllister Pkwy and Van Buren to the east. The timing of “A” Street, which was to be built by the McAllister Hills Specific Plan, has obviously been affected by the economy and is not apparently moving forward at this time.
This is a safety issue. We need another route out of our area. We need to pressure the County to build “A” Street.
In fact, I think we need to petition the County of Riverside to build this street. Not an online petition, but a real petition that is signed by residents of the area and delivered to the Board of Supervisors. If you have already started a petition, please let me know so we don’t duplicate our efforts. If there are any volunteers, especially an attorney or people who have drafted petitions before, please post a comment or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you have a better idea, please comment.
If you would like to contact Supervisor Buster directly, click here for his contact information.
* included as attachments to a June 9, 2009 memo from the City’s Planning Division to the Riverside City Council
Scott Elliot says
Thanks for seeing the gross injustice being visited upon the residents of the 3900 homes on the County side of the Dufferin closure barrier. There’s no doubt that someone will end up dying or sustaining a more serious injury as a result of extended EMS response times just so the few people living on Dufferin Ave. and Stewart St. won’t have their sense of aesthetics spoiled by County People invading their Piece of Paradise by driving on Dufferin and Stewart. As for Bob Buster’s conduct, even hillbilly County People know a conflict of interest when they see one. We might even be able to find a way to pool our vocabulary words and write letters to the DA’s Public Integrity Unit or even the Attorney General (I dun herd they got this thing called the Fair Political Practices Act!).
It appears that the vast majority of city residents (who have an opinion) are in favor of the closure, and the vast majority of county residents (who have an opinion) are against it. Of course, the Riverside City Council is only elected by, and only represents, the first group. Is anybody really surprised at the result?
The only realistic solution for county residents is to pressure their own elected representatives to build Street A.