Category Archives: Southern California

New website section coming soon

Back when this site was just covering Santa Clarita, it had a section called Civic Information. I plan to bring this back, with a difference. Instead of covering just that city, all incorporated cities in Southern California will be covered. City websites, contact information, and more will be posted. I feel it is important to be able to connect with your local government. We all want something better, why not do so by getting involved ourselves and working towards that goal together?

Sand Fire Information

As the Sand Fire has grown quite substantially in the past few days, it has become more difficult to track where it is going. I’ve found a couple of good links for up-to-date information on this fire. Map below courtesy of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Image of the Week – 7/17/2016

Four Level Interchange in 1998. US 101 goes left/right and SR-110 goes up/down.
Four Level Interchange in 1998. US 101 goes left/right and SR-110 goes up/down.

New Site Feature – Online Forum

I’m trying out a new idea for SocalRegion – a web forum. I’m not quite sure where this will go or how well it will be used, but there is no better way than to implement it. I plan to add subsections that mirror each section of the website in the future. Right now, I just have geology and roads. This is “Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads” after all. Right now, access to the forum is through the menu on the left side of the site. Please tell us what you think about the new addition!

Image of the Week – 7/7/2016

Southwestern Downtown Los Angeles from the US Bank Tower - SkySpace-LA. The building under construction in the Wilshire Grand Tower, soon to be taller, but not actually higher than the US Bank Tower.
Southwestern Downtown Los Angeles from the US Bank Tower – SkySpace-LA. The building under construction in the Wilshire Grand Tower, soon to be taller, but not actually higher than the US Bank Tower.

Old Highway 78 near Oceanside, CA

State Route 78, one of the original State Highways in the region, has has undergone many changes since it was originally built. Most of the original routing west of Vista, CA, known as Vista Way, has been eliminated by the current alignment of the highway. By the 1960’s, State 78 was an expressway west of Vista, CA. It was gradually upgraded further to a full freeway, bypassing or replacing yet more of the original alignment. Today, there are some original sections still around, albeit very short. The two main sections of old paving, mostly dating to the late 1920’s to early 1930’s, exists near El Camino Real and College Ave in the Oceanside area.

The first section, near El Camino Real, is located on Haymar Dr / S Vista Way and is only partly exposed. Here, the concrete has been repaved but is showing through some of the potholes.

S Vista Way just west of El Camino Real in Oceanside. Note the concrete peeking out from under the asphalt.
S Vista Way just west of El Camino Real in Oceanside. Note the concrete peeking out from under the asphalt.
Closer view of the concrete paving beneath.
Closer view of the concrete paving beneath.

To the east of this section, there is another and more exposed bit of old paving. Adjacent to the Marron Adobe on Haymar Dr (old Vista Way), this paving still retains the feel of the old roadway. No date stamps could be found, but the style of the concrete seems to date it from 1926 to 1935.

Intact section of concrete adjacent to the Marron Adobe.
Intact section of concrete adjacent to the Marron Adobe.
Marker for the Marron Adobe, as in Marron Road "fame".
Marker for the Marron Adobe, as in Marron Road “fame”.

Other sections of older alignments do still exist, but they are all completely reconstructed and no longer retain the old paving.

Motorcycling Pages?

I enjoy riding my motorcycle throughout Southern California. In my exploration of the region by motorcycle, I’ve found many roads that are a lot of fun to ride. As such, I have been thinking about adding some pages about motorcycling in the region. What the focus of the pages may be and what sort of extent they may cover is still undecided. Topics such as riding tips specific to Southern California, recommended roads, and other items of interest may be included. I am looking to see if there is indeed interest in adding these pages. If you are interested, please send me feedback and / or vote in the poll, which is on the left sidebar.

Image of the Week – 1/31/2016

The Arroyo Seco Parkway near Orange Grove Ave in South Pasadena, CA.
The Arroyo Seco Parkway near Orange Grove Ave in South Pasadena, CA.

Help the USGS with Earthquakes!

How can you help the United States Geological Survey? One simple way is to report to them when you feel an earthquake. This data helps them determine magnitude of the earthquake, how the geology affects that, and how the type of structure reacts to the event. Most earthquakes larger than 4.0 are listed in the “Events”  section of the page. So, help the USGS understand how earthquakes affect our region by contacting them at: “Did You Feel It?

Landslide Threats in Southern California

Southern California has many areas that are susceptible to landslides in many forms. The past couple of weeks have demonstrated that these slides can have dramatic affects on the regions infrastructure. While most slides aren’t that preventable, the damage they can create can be mitigated.

Understanding the signs of a pending landslide are fairly easy and should not be ignored. If you live in an area where landslides are possible, look for these signs:

  • Ground cracks, particularly ones that appear to pull apart
  • Sinking areas or changes in ground level
  • Unexplained leaks in pipes
  • Tilting poles
  • New cracks appearing in a structure
  • New springs or areas where water seems to drain without appearing on the surface

These signs are important to look out for. The first one, ground cracks, are the most obvious. They tend to arcuate and numerous. The largest ones may mark the head of the slide, though that is not a precise indicator of how large a slide may become. Ground cover itself doesn’t prevent deep seated landslides but it can help with smaller surficial slope failures. If you see any of these signs, please contact an engineering geologist or other local official to help assess the likelihood of a failure. Doing so can help prevent injury, loss of life, and property damage.

Mudslides, such as those that recently blocked Interstate 5 in Grapevine Canyon and State Route 58 in Cache Creek Canyon, are more common on steeper slopes with loose material. These tend to happen more commonly in areas which have burned recently, leaving little plant material and a soil that is less porous than it was previously. Those conditions, combined with a heavy rainfall, can turn that material into a thick mud which can easily move larger objects, such as boulders and trucks. As such, these slides can be very dangerous and fast moving.

The California Geological Survey has put together a series of maps to help determine the likelihood of a slope failure. These maps cover most of the metropolitan regions of California and are a great resource. They should, however, only be used as a guideline for potential slope failures. A more exact analysis should be determined through a geological report on your specific location.