Government Affairs - Roads and Traffic Advisory Committee
Recent Meeting Minutes
January 10, 2019
Attendance: Austin Marshall, Maureen Auer, Stephanie Thoth, Susanne Saderup, Kathy Hawksford, Josh Garcia-Imeri, Scott Swift, Shannon Dunkle, Josh Monzon, Lt. Mike Selinas, John Harris, Officer Chris Carter, Sierra Orr, Danielle deClerq and Darien Schaefer
Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Stephanie Thoth:
Stephanie Thoth reported the Chamber’s current focus was on the upcoming gala on Saturday, Feb. 23. The event is themed “A Red Carpet Soiree” modeled after an evening at the Oscars, and will feature an 11-piece band out of San Diego called the Groove Mercenaries. The gala is a formal event.
The Chamber is partnering with the Career Center to develop a program in late April or early May for senior students and their guardians to show what is available after graduation, from programs at the Career Center for eligible students to trade school and college or university. Nearby college representatives and mentors such as Tony Vecchio and some local business owners will be invited to speak. This will be an educational opportunity to answer questions for students and families with a focus on workforce retainment and development for the Chamber.
Assemblyman Jay Obernolte’s Office, Representative Shannon Dunkle:
Shannon Dunkle reported that the new session has begun and that there is a new California Governor, Gavin Newsome.
Assemblyman Obernolte had 11 bills signed in last year by the previous governor. Shannon highlighted two bills (see legislative update attached):
- AB 21 Driver’s Licenses: Veterans Designation
- AB 28 High School Diplomas: State Seal of STEM
Shannon reported that the Assemblyman received legislative grades of 100% from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. He also was given the California Small Business Legislative Award.
Assemblyman Obernolte remains on the California budget committee.
Constituents are encouraged to bring applicable issues to the Assemblyman’s attention for assistance.
Mountain Transit, Kathy Hawksford for Sandy Benson:
Kathy Hawksford reported that Mountain Transit will begin an ad campaign for advertising capabilities in the back windows of the buses. The campaign will help the agency’s bottom line. The agency needs 10% return on their fare box revenue.
Off-the-mountain route 13 to Victor Valley will be ceased due to lack of ridership. The route was funded by grant money as a demonstration project. There will, however, be an increase in service along Big Bear Boulevard. The changes are expected to take place in April.
City of Big Bear Lake, John Harris:
John Harris reported he now has a new title, Director of Developmental Services, which will add the tasks of covering Public Works and Code Enforcement, in addition to his current duties. This came, in part, as a result of the resignation of Robert Dalquest.
There is a community meeting scheduled Sunday from 4-6 p.m. at Community Church organized by community members in response to increased traffic and tourism concerns. John plans to attend to listen in, and noted that there is much misinformation circulating on the traffic master plan and the involvement of the resorts.
In response to traffic backup and bottlenecking at the often-full Boulder Bay Park parking lot, the City has begun posting a Public Works employee to monitor vehicles entering and leaving the lot.
In response to traffic concerns, Kathy Hawksford noted that more buses cannot be put on the road as those buses would only be stuck in traffic, as well, and there is not a safe park-and-ride lot at the bottom of the mountain to bring people to Big Bear. She said that the resorts may qualify Mountain Transit for an event grant that could help with this issue, which would also enable the agency to purchase or rent alternate-fuel buses.
There have been many complaints about tourist parking along residential streets, which are responded with citations when possible. Business owners then complain that the City is not being inviting to visitors.
The City attempted to utilize signage along main routes to assist with the flow of the Traffic Master Plan. Caltrans removed the signs because the City was not permitted to place them.
The influx of trash continues to be a major issue. Additional workers were assigned over the holidays to only tend to garbage, removing bags along Village streets every two hours.
The recent power outage on New Years Eve took out several Village lights, which are still under repair.
John encourages continued communication so that he may address issues as they arise.
Caltrans, Scott Swift:
Scott Swift reported that Caltrans is now in 24/7 plow mode during winter weather and removing sleds. He also noted that the trash has been full and that there has been much more than usual. He stated the traffic was worse over the holiday season than he’s seen in 20 years. There have been no parking spots available from Rt. 330 to Big Bear, and plows can’t place the snow when all of the areas are full.
Snow Valley has been more proactive about parking issues. Caltrans has been filling areas with snow to deter illegal parking, but now snow seekers are parking at Snow Valley and walking with sleds along the busy roadways. While dangerous, it is not against the law.
The recent Saturday evening storm proved challenging for Caltrans as there were accidents everywhere. Caltrans hired CHP officers to designate as chain control out of the agency’s own funding. This made it possible for the officers to remain at chain control without having to be pulled away on calls. Drivers were not using turnouts, but rather lining up in the slow lane along 330 to place chains on tires.
Rt. 38 was closed for seven miles from Onyx Summit to the South Fork Grade due to jackknifed trucks making it impossible to plow that stretch during the Saturday storm. Austin Marshall noted that there was no signage at the bottom of 38 warning drivers of the closure during his ascent to Big Bear around 9:30 p.m. Scott said there should have been signage at Crafton and Bryant Road in Mentone.
Scott noted that the issues revolving around the Saturday storm were most likely due to drivers not carrying chains as required. Chain requirements need to be pushed to the public more intensely.
Senator Mike Morrell’s Office, Representative Josh Monzon:
Josh Monzon reported the Senator is working on his bill package with the deadline approaching.
Josh highlighted several new laws:
- AB 2103 Firearms: License to Carry Concealed
- SB 1046 Driving Under the Influence: Ignition Interlock Device
- AB 626 California Retail Food Code: Micro-Enterprise Home Kitchen Operations
- AB 1976 Employment: Lactation Accommodation
- AB 1884 Straw Bill
Congressman Paul Cook’s Office, Representative Josh Garcia-Imeri:
Josh Garcia-Imeri reported the government remains partially shut down. There are discussions about passing legislation to keep the IRS open. Tax returns will continue. The shut down could be in place until the end of the month, pending negotiations. Constituents are encouraged to contact the Congressman’s office should they need assistance with any issues pertaining to the shutdown.
Josh highlighted the following resolutions:
- Desert Protection and Recreation Act: To provide for conservation, enhanced recreation opportunities, and development of renewable energy in the California Desert Conservation Area, and for other purposes. The act designates six off-road vehicle locations and OHV areas within the desert regions.
- HR 5513 Big Bear Land Exchange Act: H.R. 5513 would direct the Forest Service to exchange, at the request of San Bernardino County, California, 73 acres of federal lands in the San Bernardino National Forest for 71 acres of lands owned by the county. The bill would require the county to pay any administrative costs associated with the land exchange. H.R. 5513 also would direct the Forest Service to relocate a portion of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail that is currently located on the federal lands to be exchanged. Using information from the Forest Service, CBO estimates that relocating the trail would cost less than $500,000; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Most of those costs would be for environmental reviews and trail construction.
The Congressman has written letters to support federal grants, such as the USDA grant for water infrastructure to update aging Big Bear water pipelines.
Josh reported that this would be his final attendance to the Regional Traffic Advisory and Government Affairs Committee meetings as he would be transitioning his employment to the office of the new 3rd District Supervisor Dawn Rowe. He stated that they are accepting suggestions and ideas for our community.
California Highway Patrol, Lt. Mike Salinas and Officer Chris Carter:
Lt. Mike Salinas reported that officers issued 400 citations around the problem area of Snow Valley for illegal parking between December and January. Parking tickets are currently only worth $20 and California Highway Patrol receives none of those funds. The county is discussing a fee increase. While citations can continue to be issued, officers cannot have vehicles towed. In addition, it is legal for vehicles to park in turnouts and along the shoulder where no parking signs do not exist for up to 72 hours, per the county.
During the holidays, there were 12 cars towed, eight DUIs and 600 service calls. CHP assisted Caltrans during inclement weather.
Officer Chris Carter reported there are 15 senior volunteers assisting the department. The volunteers cannot enforce the law, but assist with administrative duties and patrol. The volunteers served 3,000 hours in 2018, saving the State of California about $80,000.
The Cheaters Program identifies California residents maintaining an out-of-state registration. It is required by law that residents register within the state if they reside and/or work in California for six months plus one day out of each year. There have been $50,000 in registration fees collected through the program at the Lake Arrowhead office.
Big Bear Lake Department of Water and Power, Sierra Orr:
The USDA Pipeline Grand has been received and replacement work will be off of Big Bear Boulevard and will not impact traffic. The work will begin at Ridgecrest, where surveying is under way.
Several pipes have broken throughout the Valley. Residents are encouraged to winterize. The Chamber has offered to include winterization tips provided by the Department of Water and Power in a special recurring winter eNews section.
There is an opening for a financial analyst. Application deadline is Jan. 18.
Bear Valley Electric Service, Danielle deClerq:
Locals are encouraged to follow Bear Valley Electric’s Facebook page and website for accurate information on outages. The information is updated often. The Chamber has offered to include this in a special recurring winter eNews section.
Austin Marshall adjourned the meeting at 10:25 a.m.