This month marks 16 years for me as an Adopt-A-Highway program volunteer. In August 1998, I adopted a section of Interstate 5 in Grapevine Canyon in Kern County. To be more specific, my section is on Route 5 between Postmiles 6 and 8 in Kern County. I chose that section initially as it allowed me to inspect sections of old US 99 that I couldn’t reach before. Now that I have adopted it and have a permit, I can stop along that segment and see the old roadway.
I found that the section I adopted was also quite scenic and special. Of all the sections of Grapevine Canyon, mine has the most of the wild grapes that gave the canyon its name. It also contains one of the more famous sections of the original Grapevine Grade, Deadmans Curve. During wildflower season, the canyon is green and alive with yellow, orange, and purple flowers. Deer, hawks, and other wildlife can be spotted in the canyon as well.
Passing through Grapevine Canyon now gives me a sense of pride. I’ve actually gone there many times to help clean the highway, given stranded motorists help, and fixed things along the roadway. It is something that I enjoy doing and something that I don’t do often enough. When I first adopted it, I lived in Santa Clarita. Now I live in San Diego, much further away. As a result, I don’t clean it as often but still try to get up there as much as I can. I’ve also had the help of friends at times which has been nice.
I encourage all those that have the ability to adopt a roadway to do it. You help clean up some of your community, or even someone else’s in my case. You help others and can be a lot of fun. Most counties and states have this sort of program. Find out what your local agency has and find a section to adopt. You never know what you might find out there.
While the buses aren’t running yet, most of the major changes to Park Blvd are complete. There are two new signals, one at Howard Ave and another at Lincoln Ave. At Howard Ave, left turns onto Park Blvd are now allowed.
At Polk Ave, things are a bit different. Polk Ave is now blocked at Park Blvd, with only a pedestrian signal in place. To get past Park Blvd, use Howard or Lincoln. Left turns from SB Park Blvd are also now allowed onto University Ave.
Sharrows have also been added to Park Blvd as a part of this project. They run from near Cypress St to El Cajon Blvd. These changes have made bicycling and walking around the area much easier. While it was at the loss of the historic aspects of the roadway, it is an overall positive change. Please be aware of these changes and adjust your trips accordingly.
Between 1970 and 1979, State Highway 67 was realigned between Archie Moore Rd and Mussey Grade Rd. This realignment left two sections of paving with white striping intact. Most likely, the paving dates to around 1948 when State 67 was realigned around San Vicente Reservoir.
Congratulations to the members of the San Diego Wine Country Association on another fine event held recently on the grounds of the Bernardo Winery. A dozen local wineries, including some without tasting rooms or local sales presence were on hand to pour one or two of their featured wines.
For a few vintners, this is their only means of getting the word out about their wines as well as giving long established wineries a chance to reach out to long time friends and customers all at the same time. Good to meet some new folks who are new to the San Diego wine scene.
It was also good to see grapes on the Bernardo Winery grounds. It is always amazing to see vines and grapes growing in the middle of a housing subdivision!
For more information on San Diego County Wineries, Click Here.
Realigned sometime in the 1930′s, the original alignment of US 99 is still visible near the intersection of Valley Blvd and Pepper Ave. Little remains of the original paving of US 99 through the Los Angeles area, so this is a special section.
Around late 2007, Valley Blvd was again realigned to better accommodate traffic at the I-10 interchange. Sections of the 1930′s paving are now sticking out from under the asphalt.
The intersection of Howard Avenue and Alabama Street is a fairly normal intersection. Until today, it was a two-way stop where Alabama St stopped for Howard Ave. This configuration hasn’t been all that successful. Since 2005, there have been four collisions, two of them with injuries. Visibility isn’t great and speeding is common. During peak times, particularly afternoons, traffic can back up on Alabama St due to Howard Ave being busier. To make matters worse, changes resulting from the busway on Park Blvd have added to the traffic on Howard Ave.
A few years ago, I petitioned the City of San Diego to install a stop sign at this intersection. I did so following the first collision and after having a few near collisions of my own. The City initially denied the stop, citing a lack of collisions. They did, however, add two red zones at the intersection on Howard Ave to help increase visibility. It helped for a while. People driving on Howard Ave would still honk at those pulling out from Alabama St that had a hard time seeing traffic coming. Two more collisions occurred before I decided to petition the City again a few months ago. Not long after I did this, yet another collision happened.
After I had sent the City the request, I had a phone conversation with the traffic engineer handling the request. I explained the situation, mentioned the collisions, and the pending traffic pattern changes caused by the construction on Park Blvd. They told me they would inspect the intersection and get back to me. In late June, they called me back. This time, the call was to tell me they had approved the stop sign. It seems that with the four collisions, it now qualified for the upgrade. The next day, I saw the traffic engineer marking locations for the limit lines and signs. I spoke with them, thanking them for the approval. In the process, I was also able to convince them to remove the two red zones since they would no longer be necessary. They did agree to remove them and marked the pavement accordingly.
Last Tuesday, July 15, a City crew came out to install signs informing the public that new stop signs would be added soon. Today, July 21, another crew came out to install the signs. I had the chance to speak with them and thank them for coming out. The crew that installed the signs was very friendly and worked quite efficiently. They added the signs, lines, and legends to the intersection as well as cleaned up one of the regulatory signs. It didn’t take long for people to start to stop at the intersection. Pedestrians can now cross the intersection easier, traffic on Alabama St can cross Howard Ave easier, two more parking spots have been added, and traffic is now slowed on Howard Ave.
It has always been my goal to help improve where I live. Those improvements can come in many ways. Getting potholes filled, signs replaced (or even added in this case), cleaning up trash, having graffiti removed, and even helping neighbors when possible are things that anyone can do. I strongly encourage everyone to help improve their neighborhood and make everyone’s lives better. Together, we can all make our cities a great place to live.