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Gridlock may be a fact of life, but it’s also a subcontractor. Gridlock Solutions, a Temecula company, offers traffic control on construction jobs like this one in Riverside. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Gridlock may be a fact of life, but it’s also a subcontractor. Gridlock Solutions, a Temecula company, offers traffic control on construction jobs like this one in Riverside. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
David Allen
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If you’ve crawled through a certain construction zone in Riverside in recent weeks, like me, you’ve seen orange cones, tube-like barriers and equipment with one word stamped on them in black: “Gridlock.”

Talk about rubbing it in. Does someone in traffic control have a sense of humor?

They do. , a subcontractor on the sewer-line installation, is a Temecula company that specializes in traffic control. Its role is to keep traffic flowing, slowly and safely, so crews can go about their job while separated from cars.

Why name a company Gridlock?

“Every name was taken,” company co-founder Cory Buchholz tells me of names using variations of “traffic” or “road.” In desperation, he cracked a thesaurus and paused on “gridlock.”

“It stands out. It’s catchy. You remember it. If you’re in the traffic industry,” Buchholz says, “it sticks with you.”

Buchholz had been doing traffic control for 17 years before starting the company in 2021. His wife, Rebecca, is president. He’s the vice president and does the field work.

Gridlock handles lane closures and flagging operations — when someone with a paddle stops traffic so another lane of cars can pass — and also installs roadway signs.

Calling your company Gridlock Solutions is self-descriptive, but possibly optimistic. “We’re trying to create Gridlock Solutions, although at times,” Buchholz admits, “it’s like we’re causing gridlock.”

I tell Buchholz that on my slow drives past his skinny orange barriers — tubular delineators, in industry parlance — the name has made me laugh, not my usual reaction when stuck in traffic.

“Obviously the public gets a kick out of it too,” Buchholz agrees. “Either that or they’re cursing it, seeing cone after cone with ‘Gridlock,’ ‘Gridlock,’ ‘Gridlock.’”

Tubular delineators stamped with the word "Gridlock" have greeted motorists for months on Riverside's Canyon Crest Drive. It's the name of the company doing traffic control while the street has been torn up for a new sewer line. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Tubular delineators stamped with the word “Gridlock” have greeted motorists for months on Riverside’s Canyon Crest Drive. It’s the name of the company doing traffic control while the street has been torn up for a new sewer line. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Jobs so far have been in Ontario, Carlsbad, San Diego, L.A. and Santa Maria. Gridlock, at least in the narrow sense of this particular company, is evidently acceptable, perhaps even desirable.

“If I can slow traffic down in the work zone and keep people safe,” Buchholz says, “I’ve done my job.”

The project along Canyon Crest Drive is wrapping up this week after seven months of traffic control along 1.2 miles of road.

Starting as soon as Monday, Riversiders will see “Gridlock” emblazoned on cones and equipment on Brockton Avenue from Mission Inn Avenue to 14th Street. A water line will be replaced, necessitating street digging and traffic control until about March.

In Riverside, it seems, Gridlock isn’t moving.

Silent ‘Phantom’

Just in time for Halloween, the 1925 version of “The Phantom of the Opera” with Lon Chaney will screen at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Mission Inn with live organ accompaniment. It’ll take place in the hotel’s Grand Parisian Ballroom — about as close in name as Riverside can come to the movie’s Parisian setting, the Palais Garnier.

Friends of the Mission Inn is the host, with proceeds — or $30 at the door — used to further Friends’ mission (so to speak) of protecting the historic hotel.

Friends’ most recent movie was “Blood and Sand” with Rudolph Valentino back in May. I was there and it was great fun, the audience reacting audibly to the drama-drenched plot while the organist punctuated the action on the room’s Kimball organ.

Some $8,500 was raised from ticket sales, the (appropriately) silent auction and donations. Some of those tickets were sold in 2020, but the screening had to be postponed two years due to the pandemic.

“This is the first time we’ve done a movie in the fall,” Mary Jean Comadena, president of Friends, tells me. If Friends can show two movies per year instead of one, she says, that may mean twice the proceeds.

Doors open at 12:30 p.m. In another innovation, there’ll be a no-host bar for the first time, in case you need some liquid courage to face the Phantom.

Costumes are encouraged. If you wear a mask, see if you can persuade someone to tear it off your face, as in the movie, and back away in horror.

See me in Ontario

Also on Oct. 30, I’ll be reading from my non-bestselling book talking about my work and taking your burning questions. This starts at 4 p.m. at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art, 217 S. Lemon Ave. in Ontario, hosted by Ontario Heritage. Admission is free.

Come see me! And please, don’t back away in horror.

brIEfly

In Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday, the City Council meeting was adjourned in memory of a local public servant. That would be , a bloodhound assigned to the Rancho Cucamonga sheriff’s station since 2012. She accounted for more than 250 confirmed finds before her retirement in 2021. , the department wrote of her Oct. 8 death: “She served the residents of San Bernardino County for many years and we will always be thankful for her service.”

David Allen writes Friday, Sunday and Wednesday, three more dogs. Email dallen@scng.com, phone 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.

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