Claremont Insider: Build It and They Will Come

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Build It and They Will Come

The City of Claremont is moving forward with the expansion of the parking lots for the Claremont Wilderness Park and the Thompson Creek Trail.  There are currently two small lots, one at the north end of Mills Ave. and one at the northeast corner of Mills and Mt. Baldy Rd.  The City intends to expand both lots.

The parking expansion plans are on the agenda for tonight's Community Services meeting.  The meeting begins 7pm in the City Council chambers at 225 W. Second St., across from Saca's Restaurant in the Claremont Village.

The plans call for the Mt. Baldy Rd. lot to be expanded east onto the empty land under the Edison powerlines.  The new lot there will add 178 spaces and will also have an entrance opening onto Mt. Baldy Rd., directly across from the Strasbourg Ct. cul-de-sac.  We've already heard complaints from hikers and residents who worry that traffic speeding along Mt. Baldy Rd. will inevitably lead to more accidents once the new lot is built.

Proposed Parking at Mills Ave. and Mt. Baldy Rd.
(Click to Enlarge)

The City is is expanding the existing north lot at the Wilderness Park trailhead and will add 127 parking spaces.  The expansion area will run south and west from the current lot at the terminus of Mills Ave.

Proposed Parking at North End of Mills Ave.

Whatever the lots' final configuration, one thing is certain.  There won't be enough parking in 10 years.  In 1999, we went through the same thing.  The original 15-space lot at the trailhead wasn't big enough, and parking was spilling over onto Mills.   The City's answer was to triple the number of spots by adding the 45-space Mt. Baldy Rd. lot.  Here we are again needing another parking expansion, taking the total parking to nearly 360 spaces, about three-fourths of the parking in the Packing House parking structure.

Claremont Courier, 2/20/99

At this rate, in 2021, we'll need to build a Wilderness Parking Garage.  Don't worry, though.  It'll be a LEED certified design and use recycled concrete.

Incidentally, the City has completed an initial study with a mitigated negative declaration, saying that the parking lots will have no negative environmental, traffic, biological or cultural impacts.   We had to laugh, reading this because if this had been proposed for the Claremont Village by a private developer, there would  likely be all sorts of language about how the added parking was going to generate additional daily vehicle trips and would therefore be a cause of more pollution.  Which just goes to show that these documents are a lot like the school district's Blattner Report - not much more than a political statement written by a consultant to support position whatever you need propped up with jargon.

Here's the information from the City's website:

Wilderness Park & Thompson Creek Trail Parking Lot Expansion (Nov 7, 2011)

The City will conduct public meetings regarding a proposal to expand the existing parking facilities serving the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park (CHWP) and Thompson Creek Trail (Project File #10-A01).

Currently, parking is located at the CHWP entrance on Mills Avenue, as well as in an overflow parking lot at the northeast corner of Mills Avenue and Mt. Baldy Road that also allows access to the Thompson Creek Trail trailhead. The proposed project would essentially be an expansion of these existing parking facilities. The proposed increase in parking spaces is intended to better serve and accommodate existing parking and use demands.

Two lots are being proposed to provide parking visitors. The north lot is approximately 1.45 acres, and is located at the northerly terminus of Mills Avenue. It will replace the existing lot and provide an additional 127 spaces. The south lot is approximately 3.0-acres and would be located within the area between Mills Avenue, Mt. Baldy Road, and the channelized stream. The expansion area is undeveloped land currently and will provide 178 spaces.

Staff has worked on the development of additional parking for the CWP and TCT because of the increased numbers of visitors to the park and trail that have resulted in overflow parking onto nearby public streets. At the City Council workshop, staff was directed to obtain necessary approvals for such an expansion and on April 12, 2011, the City Council provided staff with additional project direction.

The agreement details with Pomona Valley Protective Association are being worked out for the North Lot and plans are being reviewed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for portions of the South lot. Staff has also been working with Rincon Consultants, Inc. on the necessary CEQA documentation, Phil May Landscape Architect on related landscape plans, Andreasen Engineering, Inc. for civil engineering plans related to the North lot and RKA Engineering for civil engineering plans related to the South lot.