During the comprehensive outreach that has been done about this project, the CV Link project team has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions. If your question is not covered, please feel free to email us and we will have a project representative answer your question.
CV Link is a 50-mile bicycle, pedestrian, and low-speed (up to 25 mph) electric vehicle pathway along the Whitewater River from Palm Springs to Coachella. Expanding on existing portions of paved trail, CV Link will provide a continuous transportation and recreation route connecting the Coachella Valley cities. Future route segments include connections to Desert Hot Springs, Mecca, and the Salton Sea.
No, the path will generally be built on top of the levee, not in the bottom of the wash. Trails like this have been built in many places along storm-water channels/rivers, such as the Santa Ana River.
There is an identified community need across all social demographics for more transportation choices and recreational opportunities. CV Link will be designed as a safe and comfortable route for bicycling, walking and jogging, with sufficient width and/or separation elements to also accommodate golf carts or low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles.
Low-Speed Electric Vehicles (LSEVs) are federally regulated to a maximum speed of 25 mph and include golf carts and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). NEVs are about the size of a golf cart and can carry 2, 4 or 6 people. NEVs are permitted to share a general traffic lane with cars on roads with posted speed limits up to and including 35 mph. Like golf carts, they are maneuverable, lightweight, and produce zero emissions.
CV Link is a phased investment in our economic future. As detailed in the Conceptual Master Plan, the current estimate of construction cost is nearly $100 million. This estimate will be further refined as the designs and alignments are finalized. The actual cost will be determined when private contractors prepare bids to construct the project. Much of the cost is associated with under-crossings and bridges over roadways that will allow CV Link users to safely avoid busy streets. A comparison of estimated costs shows that while the CV Link could be about $2 million per mile, the next interchange project on I-10 is estimated to cost $55 to $60 million; a 6-lane arterial roadway costs $14 million per mile; and a freeway costs $30 million per mile!
I understand that the project received air quality funds. Is the project an emission reduction project?
"Multi-modal" transportation facilities like CV Link are an eligible project for air quality mitigation funds. The $53 million fund, of which CVAG received $17.4 million, was created through the approval process for a natural gas fired power plant located near Desert Hot Springs. Every project evaluated by the Air Quality Management District for funding demonstrated emission reductions and this project is no different, it was evaluated for its improvements to local air quality. Mobile sources like automobiles are the largest contributor to greenhouse gases in the Coachella Valley. CV Link will provide non-polluting transportation options for many people, as well as reduce dust generated from the Whitewater River by paving levee tops and improving the slope protection.
While some commutes are indeed long, research shows that the average one-way trip length for all trip purposes is about 2 miles for motorists, 2.6 miles for bicycles and up to 5 miles for NEVs. CV Link will provide an option that encourages more people to walk, bike or use low-speed electric vehicles more often, not necessarily for every trip.
Are your usage estimates realistic, given the intense desert heat in summer? Isn't it unsafe to encourage physical activity in summer heat?
CV Link will feature closely spaced shade and windbreak structures as well as water fountains. From a transportation perspective, much of the commuting use will be in the relatively cooler morning hours, and the trip home can be done either at a more leisurely pace, at later hours, or using transit. CV Link will provide another recreational option for the many people who can be seen outdoors throughout the day in locations such as the Palm Desert Bump-n-Grind Trail.
Yes. Building roads, trails and bridges not only creates construction jobs but leads to many other benefits. For example:
- In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a $6 million investment in bike infrastructure is estimated to benefit that tourist region by about $60 million annually!
- More than half of the visitors on the Greenbrier River Trail in West Virginia spend more than $100 per visit and most come from out of state.
- Biking and hiking trails in Teton County, Wyoming are estimated to create an annual economic benefit of more than $18 million.
- Bicycling projects create an average of 11.4 jobs per million dollars spent, compared to just 7.8 jobs for road-only projects
An economic analysis of CV Link prepared by a renowned Inland Empire economist through the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership determined an estimated $1.47 billion economic benefit through the year 2035. This includes $152 million in reduced medical costs due to increased physical activity!
Activists, community groups and private citizens throughout Southern California and the nation are clamoring for more projects like CV Link BECAUSE of impacts on air quality, congestion and public health. In fact, the State's Attorney General recently joined a lawsuit against the San Diego Association of Governments because, in large part, as Attorney General Kamala Harris bluntly claimed, "SANDAG can't meet Greenhouse Gas goals set by state law by building highways now and other transportation options later." She also noted the low amount of funding going toward walking and bicycling in the plan.
Sections of this regional path system are already in place. In Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Palm Springs and Palm Desert, small sections of the pathway exist and are being used. Most of these sections will need to be widened and improved, but this can be accomplished relatively quickly, in the next few years. Other sections will require working with the Coachella Valley Water District on easements and other detailed engineering and analysis. Some segments will take up to a decade to plan, design and construct.
Aren't there golf courses in part of the Whitewater River? Will CV Link go through the golf courses?
There are a number of golf courses in the river bed. The Tahquitz Creek Trail already exists along Mesquite Country Club and Tahquitz Creek Golf Course in Palm Springs - and CV Link will provide a parallel alternative along Mesquite Avenue. The Abrams-Butler Trail runs from Frank Sinatra Drive to Country Club Drive along the Morningside Country Club in Rancho Mirage. In other private golf courses, it is likely that the path would be routed around the country clubs on city streets or through an access controlled channel that does not interfere with the fairways. Detailed engineering and environmental analysis and public outreach and involvement will help determine actual routes.
Isn't mixing Low Speed Electric Vehicles, bikes and pedestrians a recipe for conflict and accidents?
There is always the risk of accidents on bike paths and roads. CV Link proposes to have a separate path for pedestrians, while bikes and LSEVs would share a 14-foot wide paved path. The intent is to reduce accidents involving bikes and pedestrians on busy streets like Highway 111, Ramon Road and Fred Waring Drive by giving families, seniors, tourists, and others a safer route away from fast, heavy automobile traffic.
Dozens of organizations, individuals and agencies have indicated their support for the project. The organizations represent business and real estate groups, the tourist industry, regional governments, environmental groups, hospitals and public health care organizations and economically disadvantaged communities. The breadth of support reflects the project's potential public health, recreation, economic development, congestion relief and air quality benefits. These supporting organizations recognize that much engineering, environmental and public involvement work still needs to take place.
Fortunately, this is public infrastructure, not building a hospital, recreation center or creating a new program which requires expensive staffing and large government budgets. Still, pavement management (repair and replacement) will be necessary as will stewardship (e.g. ensuring that motorcycles aren't zipping up and down the trail). Stewardship of CV Link will largely come from how much the path is utilized. A popular trail with many feet and "eyes" is a safe path and one that is largely managed by the users. The per-mile costs of maintaining CV Link are similar to what local cities pay to maintain other public trails. Maintaining CV Link in top-notch condition will be essential to encouraging use.
The entire path will be accessible to emergency services, and evenly spaced distance markers will help users advise their location. Part of the project is to develop a security and enforcement plan agreed to by city police departments. Path rangers could be another response option. Cameras and adequate lighting will be considered to help address personal security concerns, but the key will be having a well-designed and maintained facility that attracts many users and hence discourages undesirable behavior.