Narrow roads, diesel trucks, heavy construction, loud noise, and air pollution. The last few years have been difficult for Bloomington residents living near warehouses. Sadly, local leaders continue to prioritize this type of development over more housing and green zones that better serve constituents.
Fontana’s own vision of transforming 291 acres of land into homes and schools has taken a backseat to unproven claims made by developers that the proposed West Valley Logistics Center will be good for their community. As it stands, the proposal to build seven warehouses exceeding more than 3 million square feet on the outskirts of Bloomington and Jurupa Valley is irrational because it fails to provide a robust analysis of its land use compatibility. As a result, residents, environmental justice advocates, the Fontana Planning Department and even San Bernardino County officials are pushing back against this outlandish idea.
How will thousands of new cars and diesel trucks travel through residential neighborhoods without putting people’s livelihoods at risk? The West Valley Logistics Center will bring more than 6,000 vehicle trips, 2,000 of which will be diesel trucks. According to the Department of Transportation, heavy duty vehicles emit up to five times the amount of carbon monoxide per mile versus a light-duty vehicle. The original plan for this community (Valley Trails Specific Plan) is estimated to have 2,000 vehicle car trips less than the West Valley Logistics Center proposal.
Will Bloomington residents reap the alleged rewards associated with Fontana’s logistics development? Recent construction of warehouses along major corridors such as Cedar and Slover avenues is proving to be more of a headache than a benefit. It’s brought forth more traffic congestion and further compounded travel issues for working class families and their students. And what about truck drivers? Their trips through residential communities will make their jobs much more difficult, while risking the safety of residents.
Additionally, the project will certainly help to worsen the pre-existing pollution in the bordering communities of Bloomington, Fontana, and Jurupa Valley by adding approximately 2,000 more vehicle trips daily. The Office of Environmental Health
Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which uses its CalEnviroScreen 3.0 tool to identify overburdened polluting areas across California, demonstrates that the tracts of land slated for the West Valley project currently sit in the 90 percentile. Pollutants like ozone (smog’s main ingredient) and P.M. 2.5 (soot) are widespread there, causing damage to the lungs of people living nearby.
Fortunately, San Bernardino County’s Land Use Services and Public Works are rightfully raising concerns about the proposed project. We too believe that a “widened” Locust Avenue will fail to serve as a truck route and only serve to disrupt Bloomington’s rural, equestrian way of life. However, it’s important that they continue to follow the lead of the community and oppose projects that endanger sensitive receptors such as homes and schools.
The West Valley Logistics Center is not good business for Fontana because there’s no certainty that designated routes will have the capacity to accommodate thousands of new diesel trucks. The concerns brought forth need to be addressed before any plans can move forward. So far, we’ve received no answers and that’s very worrying. The fate of a community cannot be based on an unclear assumption and unanswered questions from developers. It’s clear from the confusion that this project is just not worth it.
(Andrea Vidaurre is the policy analyst at the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.)