The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

Hahamongna News

Title:

Route Recommended for Hahamongna Silt Removal

Subtitle:

Date:

2011-06-02

Author:

Dan Abendschein and Redmond Carolipio

Publication:

Sierra Madre Patch

Content:

Representatives of the L.A. County's Department of Public Works recommended at a public meeting Thursday night that dirt-hauling trucks cleaning out the Devil's Gate Dam travel over Windsor Avenue in Altadena en route to the 210 Freeway.

The meeting was held Thursday to discuss possible routes in Altadena and La Canada Flintridge, and though no decision has yet been made for the June dirt-hauling operation, DPW officials called the La Canada side route "not viable," while suggesting that using Windsor would be the best alternative.


Residents of Windsor Avenue, La Canada Verdugo Road, Shelly Street and other neighborhoods came out to the meeting to voice their opposition to trucks in their neighorhood.

La Caņada High School's cafeteria was filled with voices offering input on a dam clean-out plan that could lead to public works trucks on the streets of Altadena and La Caņada Flintridge. The meeting, hosted by Public Works, was designed to inform people of a quartet of possible routes for those trucks, along with some of the methodology behind those routes.

The plan is to haul 25,000 cubic yards of dirt out of the Hahamongna Watershed Park, which would lead to a force of about 40 to 50 trucks running up and down city streets for about three to four weeks in the summer, according to Steve Sheridan, an engineer for the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and the main presenter at the meeting. In a series of slides, Sheridan outlined that the trucks would be operating from Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"We'd want to start the initial work in early June," he said. "And we'd like to start hauling after the Fourth of July weekend."

There were four alternatives presented. One would involve trucks traveling up through Jet Propulsion Laboratory parking, then onto the streets starting at the intersection of Windsor and Ventura in Altadena. The trucks would then travel up and down Windsor to the 210 Freeway. This was listed at the first alternative in Sheridan's presentation, which he said is the most "routinely used" and logistically seamless method available.

"There's no new construction, no impacts to the environment," he said. "The con, however, is that it's the longest route."

La Caņada Flintridge was the focus of the second listed alternative, which featured a route that would go on to Oak Grove Drive to Berkshire Avenue and eventually the freeway, passing right by La Caņada High School. Sheridan said that while this offers the shortest, neighborhood-free route, it also involves the construction of an access road, moving vegetation, grading as well as trying to get permits for everything -- all of which couldn't be done in the allotted time frame.

Planning hurdles were also mentioned with the third alternative, which involves heading through even narrower residential streets on La Canada Verdugo Road and Oak Grove Drive over to Windsor. Sheridan mentioned that along with congestion, parking, trash collection and other quality-of-life issues, the massive trucks used to haul the dirt simply aren't meant for skinnier residential roads.

Sheridan, however, touted the fourth alternative, with would temporarily treat the southernmost part of the basin as storage for most of the sediment until the much larger plan is implemented. The hauling project is a warm-up for a large-scale plan that could result in truck traffic on the same streets for years.

In the long term, Kerjon Lee, public affairs manager for L.A. County Flood Control, said they will need to remove roughly 2 million cubic yards of dirt from the dam over several years.

The full plan, which involves removing dozens of acres of mature black willow trees, require a full environmental impact report (EIR), a step county officials had originally hoped to bypass. The County Board of Supervisors ordered the department to do an environmental study after local wildlife and open space advocates objected to the plan.

Sheridan said this fourth alternative is "the one we'd recommend," as it would also use even larger trucks to speed up the hauling process. Once the hauling starts, the trucks would use the same routes as indicated in the Windsor/210 alternative, Sheridan said.

But speed was not on the minds of many of the dozens of attendees at the meeting, who voiced plenty of concerns about any alternatives that would involve impacting residential areas.

"I think it's funny that the first alternative traces right through the middle of a residential area, and how that's not a key factor," said one attendee about the proposed Windsor-to-210 route. "Well, it's big for us, which is a reason you see a big turnout of people who live there."

Altadena Town Council Member Tecumseh Shackelford voiced his support for the second alternative, the one that passes by La Canada High School and had been called not "viable" by Sheridan.

"That's the one we want, it keeps (the trucks) out of the neighborhoods. I know you said it's gonna take a little work, well, then you've got to put in a little work," Shackelford said, which drew applause and cheers from many in attendance. Hugh Bowles, a Shelly Street resident, asked people who wanted "Number 2" to raise their hands, and a majority of the crowd followed suit.

"Go get your permits!" he called out to Sheridan.

A heavy contingent of residents along La Canada Verdugo Road and Windsor also made its presence known. Pat Merrill came bearing three pages of signatures from residents opposing any use of the two roads for the trucks in the project, and also voiced her support for the second proposed route. Elizabeth Francis said a haul route already exists in the basin.

"I know it's there. We used to stand on the bridge and watch the trucks" the last time trucks hauled dirt out of the area a few years ago, she said.

Alonzo Edwards, president of the Windsor-Arroyo Neighborhood Association, took issue with the "piecemeal" nature he sees with project planning from the city and county.

"We're tired of having to keep coming to these damn meetings just to make sure we're heard," he told Patch. "We have the heliports, the 210, the water treatment plant ... if they do this right, it'd be fine, but this keeps getting patched together." This followed his public comment where he said, "We need to take a holistic look at this. What can be done now? What can we do now, so that we're not having this same discussion later?"

Bob Spencer, a spokesman for the Public Works department, has told Patch in the past that no ideal route exists.

"They've each got their benefits and their own downsides," Spencer said.

Edel Vizcarra, the planning deputy for Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Altadena's representative in the county, told Patch in a past story that a combination of the routes might be the best way to avoid the downsides of each one.

"On La Caņada you've got the Methodist Church and the high school, so you've got concerns over noise and traffic at certain times," Vizcarra said. "In Altadena you have the issues that you're putting them on more residential streets that are narrow."

One possible plan would be for the trucks to run through La Caņada Flintridge, when the church and schools are not in session, and through Altadena when they are, he said.

But residents like Shackelford know what plan they don't want.

"Get that No. 1 off there," he said. "We want No. 1 off there."

For more information on the projects, Sheridan pointed out a website (www.lasedimentmanagement.com) that will have the slides from this latest presentation up early next week. Readers can find past presentations and reports there as well.