San Diego Winery Showcase

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!

Grapes at Bernardo Winery 2014
Grapes at Bernardo Winery 2014

Old US 99 in Colton, CA

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.

Looking west along the original paving.
Looking west along the original paving.
Original paving, looking east.
Original paving, looking east.
Cross section of the original paving. Note the lack of rebar. This is most likely from the 1910's.
Cross section of the original paving. Note the lack of rebar. This is most likely from the 1910′s.

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.

Colton welcome sign and old Valley Blvd.
Colton welcome sign and old Valley Blvd.
Concrete from the 1930's visible under the asphalt cover.
Concrete from the 1930′s visible under the asphalt cover.
Looking west along Valley toward Pepper Ave.
Looking west along Valley toward Pepper Ave.

See Also:

New Stop Sign in North Park – San Diego

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.

Crew working on the eastbound side - adding striping and removing the red curb.
Crew working on the eastbound side – adding striping and removing the red curb.
Painting over the red curb on the westbound side.
Painting over the red curb on the westbound side.
The new sign makes its first appearance.
The new sign makes its first appearance.
Raising the new STOP sign on the eastbound side.
Raising the new STOP sign on the eastbound side.
STOP sign now in place.
STOP sign now in place.
Finishing up the eastbound side.
Finishing up the eastbound side.
Limit line on the east side being striped.
Limit line on the east side being striped.
Adding the westbound STOP legends.
Adding the westbound STOP legends.
Installing the westbound sign and STOP legends.
Installing the westbound sign and STOP legends.
Finished intersection.
Finished intersection.

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.

State 76 – Salvage Rail Bridge

Construction, or replacement, of bridges during WWII was not without its problems. As most materials were set aside for the war effort, highway departments had to get creative. In California, one of the materials chosen was salvaged railroad rails. This style of rail was in use mostly during the mid-late 1940′s. I haven’t seen it used after 1950, at least not yet. Other state highways in San Diego County have similar bridges, such as State 79 near Santa Ysabel. Most have been replaced or upgraded since construction. This bridge, along State 76 near Bonsall, is slated to be removed when the highway is upgraded to expressway standards on a new alignment in the next couple years.

Live Oak Creek Bridge (57-0070) looking west.
Live Oak Creek Bridge (57-0070) looking west.
1948 date stamp
1948 date stamp
Detail of the salvaged railroad rail.
Detail of the salvaged railroad rail.

Sharrows on Park Blvd

The City of San Diego has expanded the use of “sharrows” along Park Blvd to now include the section from I-5 to Market Street. This is helpful for cyclists climbing Park Blvd out of downtown San Diego, though still lacks “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs as used on 6th Avenue.

Looking north from Russ Blvd past San Diego High School.
Looking north from Russ Blvd past San Diego High School.

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