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Old July 9th, 2013, 05:52 AM   #1701
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More freeways, nice....
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Old July 9th, 2013, 08:28 AM   #1702
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I drive this freeway everyday. It's already under construction, why is this news?

It truly is a terrible freeway full of congestion. I wish freight were shipped more by rails because trucks overcrowd this freeway.
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Old July 10th, 2013, 09:52 PM   #1703
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Major changes with an unknown purpose afoot at the old Harris-Gottschalks-Forever21 department store shell at Riverside Plaza.

I walked around the entire site and couldn't find any construction permits or notices of any kind. I imagine they're kept in the center's management office, but I have no idea where that's hidden. I'm pretty sure that, by law, permits must be available for review by the public.

I also scoured the city's online Planning and Building permit databases, and there's nothing reflecting this project for the address (3635 Riverside Plaza Drive). However, the city clerk's office has been reeeeally bad about posting even the regular Planning Commission meeting agendas online lately, so that is not surprising.







These structural elements are a bit strange too, I'm having a hard time visualizing what they might turn out to be:





Forever 21 is also opening a new, smaller location in the former Borders space. I like the new exterior paint color.





ADDITIONALLY

Across the street, a new independent coffee shop, Flight, looks set to open soon. I really like their branding design, and the reclaimed wood is a nice touch (albeit a little strange for this area. Very... New Brooklyn).







Too bad they aren't open yet. It was hot as sh!t yesterday and I would have loved to stop in for a giant iced coffee.
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Old July 11th, 2013, 01:15 AM   #1704
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The bookstore owner of Renaissance Books nearby told me that IKEA was planning on moving in to that property, although I've heard from other sources that a Nordstrom Rack is opening in that location.

Either of the two would be great, although I think IKEA would be a huge success and serve pretty much the entire Inland Empire.
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Old July 11th, 2013, 02:45 AM   #1705
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The building occupies about half the area of a standard Ikea store, and if my experience with Ikeas in several parts of the country is any indicator, the vertically integrated parking/shipping/receiving ground-warehouse first-showroom second level arrangement is consistent. Unless they're planning on unveiling a smaller format, Ikea seems unlikely.

Nordstrom Rack, on the other hand, I could see. Smaller footprint, more flexible layout.

Personally I think Riverside is sorely lacking a Whole Foods... this space is a little big for a grocery store, sure, but I think it's the perfect area for one.
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Old July 11th, 2013, 11:46 PM   #1706
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PRESS-ENTERPRISE: Perris Valley Line: $3 millions settlement reached with environmental group

By Dave Downey | July 10, 2013



A local environmental group has agreed to drop a lawsuit blocking a $237 million commuter rail extension from Riverside to Perris, in exchange for $3 million in concessions, officials said Wednesday, July 10.

The Riverside County Transportation Commission’s chief announced the Perris Valley Line deal with Friends of Riverside’s Hills at Wednesday’s commission meeting.

“The settlement agreement will allow us to move forward with the project,” Executive Director Anne Mayer said.

John Standiford, deputy executive director, said construction on the addition to Metrolink’s six-county system likely will begin in late summer or fall, after the agency secures final approval for a $75 million federal grant and the suit is withdrawn. With the work expected to take 15 months, the line could open in early 2015.

The commission selected Ames Construction of Corona in February to do the work for a maximum of $148.2 million.

The 24-mile line, following Interstate 215 much of the way, is to have stops in north Riverside, at March Air Reserve Base, in central Perris and near the Perris-Menifee border. Trains are expected to give 4,000 rides a day.

“This is one of my happiest moments as a public servant,” said Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, in an interview following the meeting. “This project is really important to all of western Riverside County, but particularly to Moreno Valley, Perris and Menifee.”

Ashley represents those three cities on the county governing board and serves as transportation commissioner.

“This is going to clean the air. It’s going to get cars off the road,” he said.

He said trains will provide access to jobs for families with one car -- or no car -- in low-income, high-unemployment neighborhoods.

“There is an economic social justice aspect of this that may not have been appreciated as much as it should have been,” Ashley said.
But first it has to be built.

The project was about ready to begin construction when a Riverside judge invalidated portions of the project’s environmental impact report. That was result of a lawsuit Friends of Riverside’s Hills filed in August 2011.

On May 14, Riverside Superior Court Judge Sharon J. Waters ordered the regional body to set aside its approval, potentially jeopardizing the $75 million in federal funding. That triggered serious negotiations between the warring sides in recent weeks.

“It wasn’t our intention to delay the project,” said Len Nunney, group secretary, in a telephone interview. “Our intention was to improve it. And the settlement does that.”

The agreement calls for nearly $3 million in concessions.

The commission agreed to establish a $1,005,000 fund that homeowners living near the tracks, in the vicinity of UC Riverside, may tap to lower the volume of passing trains. Homeowners can apply for up to $15,000 per residence for window treatments and up to $500 for trees and shrubs.

In addition, the commission promised to install a rubber material beneath tracks to reduce noise and vibration, at a cost of $132,000.
Besides addressing sound concerns, the commission agreed to establish a $900,000 land conservation fund to be used to establish trails nearby or purchase open space.

And the commission agreed to provide $650,000 for bicycle and foot trails in the north Riverside area.

Finally, the settlement allocates $250,000 to Temecula lawyer Ray Johnson, who represented the group.

The deal sets a two-year limit for homeowners to apply for sound relief and for spending the $650,000 in trail money. Unused amounts are to be deposited in the land conservation fund.

Friends of Riverside’s Hills didn’t get everything they wanted.

In a June meeting with the Press-Enterprise editorial board, group leaders said they wanted an automatic shut-off valve installed on a jet fuel pipeline that crosses tracks, to prevent spills. Instead, the commission pledged to work with pipeline operator Kinder-Morgan to provide details on existing plans to shut down the line in emergencies.

Group leaders said they wanted underpasses built for informal hiking trails -- including a popular route to the gold “C” that looks down on Riverside. They won’t get that, either.

But Mayer said the commission will allow another agency to build a tunnel later, if one should pursue such a project. And transportation officials won’t put anything in hikers’ way.

“We’re not planning on fencing them off,” Mayer said.

________________________________________________________________

POSTER NOTE: This is exemplary of why CEQA needs reform. Friends of Riverside's Hills are not an environmental group, they're an anti-development group. But in a classic example of CEQA extortion, they hijack the environmental review process to obtain concessions from the public for their pet causes.

The CEQA reform currently in the state assembly specifically prohibits these kinds of actions. Expanded transit service serves the aims of the California Environmental Quality Act, as Supervisor Ashley points out when he says it reduces air pollution and traffic congestion and promotes environmental and social justice, extending transit options to the socioeconomically disenfranchised.
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Old July 12th, 2013, 01:19 AM   #1707
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Metrolink is quite costly, though. For example, a 10 minute trip from Downtown Riverside to the La Sierra Station in Riverside is $6 one way, $12 round trip! From Downtown Riverside to LA Union Station is $13.25 one way, $26.50 round trip! Rail transportation is just so pricey in SoCal...
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Old July 12th, 2013, 02:57 AM   #1708
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Not as costly as purchasing, owning, maintaining, and operating a car, that's for sure. Especially for one-car households whose non-motoring members have occasional trips to make.

In any case, a valuable public good moves closer to reality now that this is out of the way. Shame that it resulted in the public having to spend even more money for it.
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Old July 12th, 2013, 04:47 AM   #1709
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sun

Officials: San Bernardino County bus rapid-transit system nearly completed
By Canan Tasci
Posted: 07/10/2013 05:38:35 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO -- Construction of a $192 million rapid-transit bus system through 15 miles between San Bernardino to Loma Linda may be completed in a couple months, with service beginning in 2014.
http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_2363687...#ixzz2Yn985MAn
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Old July 12th, 2013, 05:41 PM   #1710
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
Metrolink is quite costly, though. For example, a 10 minute trip from Downtown Riverside to the La Sierra Station in Riverside is $6 one way, $12 round trip! From Downtown Riverside to LA Union Station is $13.25 one way, $26.50 round trip! Rail transportation is just so pricey in SoCal...
It is actually not too expensive at all for people commuting to work. According to Google Maps, it is 56 miles each way from the Riverside Metrolink station to LA Union station-- 112 miles round trip. Assuming a car gets 25 mpg and gas costs $4 per gallon, this is $17.92 just for gas. Parking in downtown LA is going to be another $10. Just gas and parking costs alone exceed the cost of the Metrolink fare. You also have to add maintenance and depreceiation costs for the vehicle. More significantly, you can be productive for the 60-90 minutes Metrolink ride. whereas you can't do anything productive while driving.

Furthermore, if commuting via rail allows a household to have one car instead of two cars, this is where the really significant savings start.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 12:30 AM   #1711
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_cyclist View Post
It is actually not too expensive at all for people commuting to work. According to Google Maps, it is 56 miles each way from the Riverside Metrolink station to LA Union station-- 112 miles round trip. Assuming a car gets 25 mpg and gas costs $4 per gallon, this is $17.92 just for gas. Parking in downtown LA is going to be another $10. Just gas and parking costs alone exceed the cost of the Metrolink fare. You also have to add maintenance and depreceiation costs for the vehicle. More significantly, you can be productive for the 60-90 minutes Metrolink ride. whereas you can't do anything productive while driving.

Furthermore, if commuting via rail allows a household to have one car instead of two cars, this is where the really significant savings start.
What if you're traveling with two or three people? Metrolink becomes a ridiculously expensive form of transportation and a car becomes the obvious choice financially. If you have a spouse or children, you pretty much need a car.

And when you arrive at Union Station, you'll have quite the walk being that LA is not centralized. So you get around by taking the bus; add both the expense of fare plus the time spent on the bus. And if your destination has a free parking lot, free street side parking, visiting friends or family who will have free parking, or cheap parking (10 is excessive; I find plenty of parking lots for 3-5 bucks) then you're saving quite a lot of time and money driving.

Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic that we're being given an alternative to cars for transportation, but if rail transit were cheaper it would do much more good for public transit. The high costs are quite a disincentive to many people.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 12:41 AM   #1712
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"What if you're traveling with two or three people? Metrolink becomes a ridiculously expensive form of transportation and a car becomes the obvious choice financially. If you have a spouse or children, you pretty much need a car."

Agreed-- if you're going with two or three people, driving is more economical but for the tens of thousands of people commuting to jobs every day, Metrolink is absolutely competitive with the cost of driving. This is especially true considering the value of time-- on commuter rail you can read, check email, and get other work completed for two or three hours every day.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 07:42 AM   #1713
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_cyclist View Post
"What if you're traveling with two or three people? Metrolink becomes a ridiculously expensive form of transportation and a car becomes the obvious choice financially. If you have a spouse or children, you pretty much need a car."

Agreed-- if you're going with two or three people, driving is more economical but for the tens of thousands of people commuting to jobs every day, Metrolink is absolutely competitive with the cost of driving. This is especially true considering the value of time-- on commuter rail you can read, check email, and get other work completed for two or three hours every day.

Over the first five years of ownership, the median car costs more than $9,100 a year to own.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2...-own/index.htm
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Old July 14th, 2013, 07:10 AM   #1714
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Of course, if my house and job were located right next to a Metrolink station, I'd love to use it as my form of transportation. Gas and insurance alone cost so much money. I moved to Seattle recently and am in the process of selling my car and will rely on bus and bike for transportation (I'm an avid cyclist).

But in Southern California, it was impossible for me to live without a car. My apartment was a good 7 miles from the office I worked at. By bus, that's 1 hour 5 minutes and by bike, 1 hour. By car, 10 minutes. The office is far from any Metrolink station. Driving is the practical choice. This is the reality for the vast majority of Southern Californian residents. Public transportation is rarely convenient for people commuting to work.
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Old July 15th, 2013, 07:17 PM   #1715
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An hour to travel 7 miles by bicycle? Were you dragging it behind you?
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Old July 15th, 2013, 08:52 PM   #1716
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From my apartment to the office, I would have had to traverse some hills. It's not particularly flattering to show up to a law office drenched in sweat, either.
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Old July 23rd, 2013, 10:38 PM   #1717
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The tower element on the Riverside Convention Center expansion, from the Mission Inn (7/21/2013):




(A small part of me wishes it were staying purple.)
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Old July 26th, 2013, 07:59 PM   #1718
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Press-Enterprise:

New tenants in empty Forever 21 building

Laurie Lucas

The question on everyone’s lips in Riverside: What’s going into the 125,000-square-foot husk of the former Gottschalks/Harris/Forever 21 building in the Riverside Plaza?

Larry Vaupel, Riverside’s economic development manager, has seen the blueprints submitted by the Plaza’s owner, the Phoenix-based Vestar. Vaupel said two of the three stories have tenants lined up who want to be ensconced before the holiday season. However, the third floor might be used for administrative offices, he said.

The outside of the building will sport two glassed-in escalators leading to the two top stories. The Plaza owners are also considering replacing the pedestrian mall with a drive lane between the Forever 21 building and neighboring Killarney’s, Lounge 33 and El Torito — to connect the front and back parking lots.

The rumor still circulating is that a Nordstrom Rack is one of the tenants. Neither Vaupel nor the Rack’s flack would confirm. The flack said he would like to talk to me about this in several months. Hmmmmmm.

###

It seems like this could mean two new tenants. Escalators aren't cheap, either - Vestar must be pretty confident about this move.
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Old July 26th, 2013, 11:19 PM   #1719
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Replacing the pedestrian mall for driving lanes might actually be a worthwhile decision. I remember it being inconvenient to have to drive out of the shopping center to get from the north parking lots to the south.

I also think the owner of the Plaza should find a way to better integrate the locations north of Merrill Ave and West of De Anza Ave. There's a lot of underutilized space that surrounds the Riverside plaza.
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Old July 26th, 2013, 11:42 PM   #1720
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I've always thought the parcels north of Merrill were well-suited to high-density residential development. I imagine something on the scale of Raincross Promenade (hopefully with less schlocky faux-mediterranean architecture) that is set close to the street and encourages walking to errands, shopping and entertainment in MagCenter.

The three blocks between De Anza and Magnolia immediately west of the Plaza also feel primed for higher-density mixed-use redevelopment as well, but ownership of those many small parcels is complex. Also, you would have to displace a lot of small, independently-owned business to build there, especially along Sunnyside.
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