Placerita residents want city to fix flood-damaged creek

Meadview Avenue near Placeritos Road, where heavy rains have made it difficult for residents recently. Katharine Lotze/Signal
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When two cars were swept away by torrential rainwater rushing through Placerita Creek three weeks ago residents in the pastoral neighborhood around Master’s College were inconvenienced, but glad no one was hurt.

Stones, boulders, mud, twigs, tree branches, and at least two cars were all swept down the creek in a deluge of floodwater.

When the storm passed and the creek water level dropped they learned immediately how severely the flood had gouged the creek, making the gully on Meadview Avenue deeper, narrower and mostly impassable.

When residents saw a trash truck get stuck, then saw a truck delivering water get stuck, they became concerned.

car stuck in mud Jan. 23 in Placertia Creek downstream from Meadview. (Santa Clarita Valley Search and Rescue)

It wasn’t until they saw a Los Angeles County Firetruck get stuck trying to cross the creek on Meadview that they really became worried about their safety and welfare.

“We can’t get emergency equipment in here when it rains,” Carolynne Mendell who lives in Placerita Canyon told The Signal Monday.

She quickly pointed to one of her neighbors who had to be rushed to the hospital.

“If this had happened a few days later,” she said referring to the creek flooding and gully transformation.  “How would she have gotten to the hospital?”

Mendell asked: “What if someone broke a leg or suffered a heart attack and paramedics could not get to them?”

It’s a question she and other Placerita residents are hoping city of Santa Clarita officials can answer.

Private property

City officials delivered an answer Monday, but not the answer residents were hoping to hear.

“Meadview is a private road not maintained by the City,” said city spokeswoman Carrie Lujan told The Signal Monday afternoon.

Water delivery truck stuck trying to traverse Placertia Creek on Meadview Avenue shortly after Jan. 23. Courtesy photo Carolynne Mendell.

As far safety concerns and worries about access by emergency vehicles, Lujan said: “There are alternate routes that allow our public safety partners access to the area.”

That said, city officials have promised to look into the situation.  “The City will be assessing the situation further,” Lujan said.

“We want to remind all of our residents to be prepared for storms, and the debris flow that could follow. Never drive through standing or moving water. We encourage residents to visit for information on what to do before, during and after a storm. “

Residents, meanwhile, see an urgent need for repairs to be  made to the flood-damaged road on Meadview at Placerita Creek,

They want the city of Santa Clarita work crews to raise the bottom of the gully at Meadview.

“The wash is now deeper than it was.  And, the next rain we have, it’ll be the same thing,” Mendell said. “Perhaps, they (city) can fill it with crushed granite, stones, permeable pavers and six inches of sand.”

Trash pickup halted

Trash trucks stopped picking up trash on Meadview three weeks ago after trucks got stuck and only resumed trash pickup on Monday.

“My crew just reported back from the area and spoke to residents who said that Waste Management had gone above and beyond to collect their trash,” Lujan told The Signal.

“That just this morning (Monday) they came out with a pickup truck that could maneuver the roads and reach the homes.”

Residents, however, fear an un-repaired gully will turn away firetrucks and ambulances the way it turned away trash trucks.

Safety concerns

How important is access across the Meadview Avenue gully?

“Ask my wife who’s waiting for a lung transplant,” said Meadview resident Al Frisch. “And, it’s not just her. There’s a lot of older people back here.”

car swept away Jan. 23 in swollen Placerita Creek at Meadview Avenue. Courtesy photo Carolynne Mendell

Residents pleased to see trash pickup resume Monday are also worried, they said, about what the next series of storms will bring. A storm is expected to move into the Santa Clarita Valley Friday.

“Mud has changed with whole equation for this neighborhood,” Frisch said.

Damage caused by the Sand Fire last summer stripped the vegetation in Sand and Placertia canyons which would otherwise have served to anchor the soil.

Warnings issued by the National Weather Service cautioning residents in fire damaged areas – such as Placerita Canyon – against flooding, debris flows and mud slides have become regular and frequent.

Fix it

Residents want the city to fix the Placerita Creek gully on Meadview and make the quasi-rural road traversable for all vehicles – more importantly paramedic vehicles and firetrucks.

“Whatever it takes to fix it, that’s what needs to be done,” said Carolynne Mendell who lives in the Placerita Canyon neighborhood.

One resident who lives on the bank overlooking the west side of the creek said he helped push at least three vehicles out of the gully after they became stuck.

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