In South Chino’s Preserve, You Can’t Get There From Here

Recent storms have exacerbated vehicular and even pedestrian access issues in a portion of the former Chino Agricultural Preserve which in recent years has undergone aggressive development into mostly residential subdivisions.
Kimball Avenue, a major east-west arterial into the newly established neighborhoods, was blocked off and closed several months ago to allow for utility connections to serve areas eastward to be installed along with storm drains, road widening and traffic signalization and other improvements.
That work was to be completed sometime this month.
On December 14, with the advent of the late autumn/winter storm season and the deluge that materialized that day, progress on those projects was suspended, and in some respects, set back.
The December 14 deluge flooded out several key areas within the city and the former preserve. City public works employees shut Bickmore Avenue between Euclid Avenue and Meadowhouse Avenue. Another main east-west means of transit, Pine Avenue, was blocked off between El Prado Road to Mill Creek.
This created a logjam at various points, making it virtually impossible to get directly into, or out of, certain neighborhoods.
Some residents found a way to go around or defeat the barriers but risked incurring a ticket involving a hefty $540 fine for doing so. In some cases, children, the infirm and elderly or pets were left stranded, unaccompanied and uncared-for at their homes while their parents, adult children and/or caretakers or owners were away and unable to get home.
The circumstance was fraught with danger. Inadequate drainage created a circumstance in which cold water was massing on several streets, rising to a level above the street curbs and spreading into front, side and sometimes back yards. This made negotiating cars on those streets, if not impossible, difficult. Meanwhile, young children, many of them cut off from their parents, were in danger of drowning or being run over by vehicles trying to wend their way through the nearly impassible streets. The police, using the threat of citation, hindered many parents being able to get into place in time to ensure their children’s safety.
There were places within the former Chino Ag Preserve development where access was literally fully cut off.
With this week’s downpour, the scenario from December 14 to December 16 was repeated.
City officials have indicated that they are maneuvering now to limit the possibility that further heavy rain in January, February, March and April will turn out to be as problematic, and they have already begun to clear debris from storm drains to allow faster flow of water on Bickmore and Euclid avenues and eliminate sheet flow onto east-west streets with sandbagging.
It is hoped that Kimball Avenue will be reopened in full by the end of February. The project that resulted in its closure is to be completed by May. Until then, further rainstorms are likely to greatly inconvenience the 16,000 residents of the district that has risen up on the land of the former Chino Agricultural Preserve.

Leave a Reply