Your Chino Hills traffic report

Expect traffic backups in Chino Hills today and throughout the weekend at The Shoppes, which open this morning. (Imagine me in a traffic helicopter, or maybe beating my palms against my chest to sound as if I were in a traffic helicopter.) Peyton Drive is being widened to six lanes but in the meantime it’s squeezed to two or three because of construction. If you go, enter off Grand Avenue or you may regret it.

I had a tour of The Shoppes, which we here at the blog pronounce “Shoppies,” on Thursday morning. Workers swarmed the place, washing windows, sweeping sidewalks, laying tile, painting overhangs and finishing mosaics.

It was sprinkling rain during the tour, which didn’t augur well for an open-air shopping mall. I suspect today’s opening will be a little damp.

As temples of commerce go, The Shoppes isn’t bad. It’s akin to Victoria Gardens, if one-third the size — all outdoors, walkable, chockful o’ chains and, if not exactly a radical design, rather pleasant. Unlike the VG, it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not as far as a retro look goes. (Although when the architect told our group solemnly that “we weren’t building a project, we were building a community,” I had to suppress my gag reflex.)

Despite the economy, the center is almost completely leased. Only about half the shops and restaurants will open Friday, though, so if you want to skip the madness this weekend, visit in a week or two and more places will be open.

Here’s the flackage:

“The Shoppes at Chino Hills is a 400,000-square-foot open-air lifestyle center, built by Opus West Corporation … The lifestyle center will be home to more than 60 retail and restaurant merchants. Among the merchants that have already been announced are the first H&M in San Bernardino County, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Trader Joe’s, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Chipotle Mexican Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, Yard House Bar & Grill, Pinkberry, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Bath & Body Works.”

One tip: Don’t miss the mural inside P.F. Chang’s. Depicting a rural China scene of centuries ago involving a river, laborers and a cart, it’s six panels long — maybe 20 feet? — and handpainted. Check it out.

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  • Lisa

    Yay! A bookstore and Trader Joe’s in the fine city of Chino Hills. I wrote to the city council a few years ago requesting they recruit Trader Joes and Nordstrom to open up shop in the Shoppies. No Nordys, but that’s ok. I don’t usually shop for makeup, shoes and veggies at the same time anyway.

  • Scott in R.C.

    Hey Traffic Guy,

    Any updated reports on the 57 northbound through the Brea canyon up to the 210 east? I’m afraid holiday traffic will be a bit thick this afternoon on my way home.

    If so, can I get a ride in your helicopter?

    [No, but I’ll loan you my umbrella. — DA]

  • allen

    If today is any snapshot of how The Shoppes is going to be, be prepared to enter the “zoo.” I was there at 9am today. The only thing open at the time was the bookstore, Trader Joe’s and Peet’s coffee/tea. The entire parking lot was already jammed! Took about 10 minutes to park and I was lucky. There were two noticeable long lines; one at H&M and the other at Active. Peet’s was to give ‘free’ coffee today, but could not do it because the store was so busy.

    My concern is parking. I was actually surprised that the city put in parking meters for all the spaces next to the retail outlets — some meters are only for 20 minutes. No other developement that I can think of in the city has parking meters. Nowhere to park at 9am with only a handful of stores open. I can only imagine the parking nightmare once everything opens up.

    I also found it interesting that quite a number of high school looking aged kids were in the lines at Active and H&M… um, seems to me a lot of kids are playing hookie from school today too.

    All in all, I am glad to have the addition to our great city and I enjoy that we are having greater choices at home. Also can’t wait until the Lowe’s project is done for even more variety. Soon, locals here will no longer will have to make the trek to Victoria Gardens, Orange County, or L.A. – also, we now can spend our money at home, helping our city tax revenue vs. giving it to other cities due to lack of choices.

    [Thanks for the in-person report. You’re almost certainly right about those being Chino Hills’ first parking meters. Meters are a very Victoria Gardens thing to do. The developer told me Thursday those were installed at The Shoppes mostly to keep employees from parking all day next to the stores where they work. With meters, there will be turnover and shoppers can use them. There’s free parking around the perimeter of the mall. — DA]

  • Ronald Scott

    Thumping of hands on chest huh? That was a classic scene from Good Morning Vietnam. The Shoppes is exciting…but as a longtime IE resident I’m really looking forward to Citizens Bank Arena being completed…I mean who would have ever thought the Lakers would be playing in Ontario!!

  • Charles Bentley

    I found one mention in allen’s entry — I was, at first, confused, wondering if David had added an update from the scene of breaking news — that might have a understandable explanation.

    Allen stated that it appeared “a lot of kids are playing hookie from school today.” Now it’s been MANY years since I was in high school, but back then (when dinosaurs roamed the earth!) the Friday prior to Memorial Day weekend was known as senior ditch day. It was the “unofficial” day when high school seniors would ditch class, en masse, to show their independence (or defiance, if you will) from the system.

    Popular “ditch” destinations were the beach, the movies, Disneyland or Magic Mountain, basically anywhere but school. I have a feeling the new “Shoppies” in Chino Hills was at the top of some lists, seeking trendy bargains to add to their already crammed closets.

    Just an observation from a “previous” generation.

  • Tina N.

    In fact, all of the public high schools in the cities of Ontario, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga and Upland had an official day off Friday. I thought they were just getting a four-day holiday, but maybe it’s to avoid losing the money from all those hookie-playing kids.

  • Shelli D

    Hi David,

    I was hoping that during the tour of the Shoppes that you also had a chance to sit in the plastic Pinkberry chairs that cost $500 apiece. I was surprised that plastic chairs could cost so much, although they were actually very comfortable.

    I had hoped you would evaluate the pricey plastic in your piece and figure out their significance ….

    It was good to see you again, take care,


    [Hi, Shelli. Wow, $500?! I had wandered away to look at the fountain or the pergola when your group was checking out Pinkberry so I missed the whole thing. But I’ve sat in Pinkberry chairs and they are indeed comfy. I guess you get what you pay for, even when it comes to plastic seating. — DA]