Santiago Canyon Road show(s)

OC Public Works (OCPW) held a “Community Open House” Nov. 7 at the Library of the Canyons (formerly Silverado School) to publicize changes planned for Santiago County Road next year. Amid large maps and displays describing various safety features, county engineers fielded questions and encouraged attendees to fill out comment cards or attach Post-it notes to areas of concern on the maps.

Plans include the installation of flashing beacons, curve warning signs, guardrails, bike lane buffer space and delineators, and High Friction Surface Treatments (HFST).  Delineators are flexible posts with reflectors, similar to those near Jackson Ranch Road. HFST is special paving for improved traction on curves.

County Traffic Engineer Ed Frondoso said that he is interested in getting input from the public now, during the early stages of this project, so that suggested modifications can be incorporated. He has already heard some objections to flashing signals, for example. Some attendees mentioned the road’s scenic corridor designation.

According to Frondoso, this is not a major project since the road footprint would not change, even with added buffer strips between cars and bicycles traveling in the same direction. Currently, a single painted line separates cars and bikes, but Project Manager Wei Zhu said that bicyclists tend to ride close to that line.

The goal of the project is improved safety, as measured by accident data. Funding is affected by grant availability, and federal grants have requirements on how money may be spent. But the county can also pay for projects itself, or decide to not do them.

This project is actually only Phase 2 of three phases, according to the OCPW web page ocpublicworks.com (see SantiagoCanyonRoad). Passing lanes would be constructed in Phase 3, also set to begin with pre-design work next year -- but Frondoso described that as “up in the air.”

Those who missed the presentation should check out the OCPW web page mentioned above, which allows online comments.

Animals in the library
Cockroaches and snakes invaded the Library of the Canyons on Nov. 14.  And kids lined up to pet them, courtesy of Wild Wonders Inc., which teaches children about animals by letting them see (and touch) live animals.

In a one-hour program sponsored by ICL’s Friends of the Library, Michelle Engler and Zerlina Clements Smith introduced about 60 children and adults to Arlo the hairy armadillo (ears like little ice cream cones), Cody the green macaw (alarm clock of the rain forest), Lola the green iguana (chicken of the trees—everything else likes to eat it), Miko the kinkajou (racoon-related “honey bear”), Bonita the red-tailed boa constrictor (up to 12 feet long and smells with its tongue), and a Madagascar hissing cockroach (world’s largest, can’t bite, and the boys have two head bumps).

Of course, animals have been in Silverado libraries before.  Most recently, Megan the cat lived at the former downtown location until 2016. Before that, the resident feline was Alis (1985-2002). But shortly before last year’s move to new digs, library staff was informed that cats would no longer be permitted.

So birds that can snap a broomstick or finger in two are OK, as are lizards that can break a monkey’s arm with a swipe of its tail, but in the Orwellian logic of library administration, something that purrs quietly in your lap or snoozes on the circulation desk is too dangerous. Apparently the fairy tale is correct: some animals really are more equal than others.

Christmas in the Canyons
Santa Claus, in a custom sleigh pulled by a red pickup truck, is expected in downtown Silverado around 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 for Christmas in the Canyons, a day-long event featuring music, raffles, and crafts and food booths in the restaurant parking lot next to the market. As in years past, visitors should park across from the community center and walk or ride the hay wagon into town—admission is free but hayride donations are appreciated.

The holly and the ivy
One of the native chaparral plants common to our area is toyon, a large evergreen shrub also known as Christmas berry, due to its red berry-like fruit that typically appears around this time of year. Toyon’s long, toothed leaves also led to it being called California holly—landmark “holly” trees on old Silverado maps are probably toyons. And Hollywood was named for this plant back when that area was more rural.

There is an old toyon next to the Algerian ivy outside the Canyon Beat’s branch office here in Silverado. However, our building is nowhere near Tom Mix’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, despite being at the corner of holly wood and vine.

December 2018