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22 January 2017

CV Link and the environment, part 1 appendices

This post is part of a series, CV Link and the Environment. For additional information, read these other posts:

The Appendices

The EIR has a long list of appendices, which provide the detailed analysis of the project, its impacts on the environment, and suggested actions that mitigate the environmental impacts. For the most part, the appendices are more like scientific articles than magazine stories. The following appendices list has direct links to each document:

20 January 2017

CV Link and the Environment, part 2

This post is part of a series, CV Link and the Environment. For additional information, read these other posts:

Impacts and Mitigations

The EIR has 36 pages of impacts and their mitigations presented in a table. While the rest of the document provides more detail, this table succinctly discusses each main consideration. The discussion covers sixteen areas:
No issues are "Significant and unavoidable" (the worst case); 24 issues are "potentially significant." These require a variety of mitigations. Another 42 issues are "less than significant," for which no mitigation is required. The linked posts list only the 24 issues that require mitigation.

* No "potentially significant" impacts found.

What is an Environmental Impact?

The study has five levels of environmental impacts.
  1. Significant and unavoidable
    Those impacts that may create a significant adverse change in the environment.
  2. Potentially significant
    Those impacts that may create a significant adverse change in the environment, but whose changes can be managed by certain mitigation measures.
  3. Less than significant
    Those impacts that can be reduced to an acceptable or insignificant level through mitigation measures.
  4. No impact 
    Those conditions that do not impact the environment.
  5. Area of controversy
    I cop to not certainly understanding what the study means by the definition: "There are no known areas of controversy in the project’s physical characteristics that are not resolved by project design, development management and operation, mitigation measures or standard on-going monitoring." I believe the intent is to say that the project's designers have considered all possible controversy and incorporated responses as the design developed.

What is a Mitigation?

Wikipedia defines mitigation thoroughly. Environmental mitigation is a debit-credit system that balances destruction or impairment of a natural resource with actions or features that improve or preserve a natural resource. When a business or project has a "debit," it is required to purchase or provide a "credit." Crediting systems can generate credits in different ways. Mitigation is a more development-friendly alternative to strict environmental laws because it allows development to occur where environmental laws might prohibit it.

What is CV Link?

CV Link is a 50-mile non-motorized, multi-modal transportation path that passes through the developed and populated portions of the Coachella Valley. CV Link provides access and connectivity between residential, commercial, recreational, institutional, and other land uses throughout the region and provides simultaneously recreational opportunities for pathway users. The Link reduces local traffic volumes on roadways, lowers overall air pollution, increases safety for non-motorized vehicles, and builds a sense of community among all parts of the Coachella Valley. In longterm view, CV Link affords connection to other alternative transportation in Southern California, including existing networks in the Cities of Riverside and Redlands and the Santa Ana River Corridor and potential networks in the High Desert Cities and along the Palms to Pines Highway.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 traffictransportation

Traffic and transportation

CV Link construction could conflict with traffic circulation. Six requirements must be met during construction:
  • Construction activities shall meet or exceed federal, state, and local laws for public safety.
  • Location and design of access points to CV Link and traffic improvements will comply with city standards, under review and approval by the respective City Engineers before construction permits are issued.
  • All necessary permits, approvals, and traffic control plans shall be secured prior to the start of construction, including grading, paving, and other construction at public streets. CVAG will collaborate with the public works departments of each city before site development, to ensure that construction causes minimal disruption to traffic on adjoining city streets.
  • The construction manager will identify and repair any damage to existing public roads at the end of construction. Accidental load spills will be cleaned up immediately.
  • Area lighting will be provided along the CV Link route and associated streets, roadways, and access areas. The lighting will follow proper design for the safe movement of vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic and to ensure good visibility under both daylight and nighttime conditions.
  • Construction management and traffic control will maximize the efficiency of construction and minimize the disruption of traffic flow through CV Link construction areas. Special attention will be given to minimize or avoid accessibility issues for nearby residences, businesses, and schools. At least one lane will remain open in each direction, and signage will be installed for road work and/or detours. Emergency vehicle access will not be affected.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 recreation

Recreation

CV Link could increase the use of existing neighborhood and regional parks or other recreational facilities, which would accelerate the deterioration of facilities. CV Link includes facilities or requires the construction or expansion of recreational facilities which might affect existing golf courses. Before the start of construction, CVAG shall obtain concurrence from the owners of the Tahquitz Creek, Cimarron, Cathedral Canyon, and Indian Wells Golf Resort golf courses that the final design of CV Link facilities located on those respective golf courses are adequately buffered from fairways, greens, tee boxes, and in play areas.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 publicservices

Public services

CV Link could affect the acceptable service ratios, response times, or other performance objectives for public services (fire protection, police protection, schools, parks, or other public facilities). Construction staging and storage areas shall be fenced and locked. All equipment shall be returned to staging and storage areas at the end of each work day.

Note: I don't see this mitigation as particularly responsive to the issue, but perhaps I read too much into the impact statement. It could be the impact relates only to the fact that the construction activity offers a higher need for services. On the other hand, I see the potential impact that the CV Link day-to-day operation raising the need for fire and police services.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 noise

Noise

CV Link construction will expose people to excessive ground vibration or groundborne noise levels. Construction activities will occur between the permitted hours of each local jurisdiction’s Municipal Code. Large bulldozers within 100 feet of residences, schools, and similar sensitive areas will be minimized and avoided if possible. Residences, schools, and other sensitive land uses within 400 feet of planned pile driving will be notified of the construction in writing. Two alternatives to pile driving will be employed:
  • Impact pile driving devices and Cast-In-Drilled-Hole (CIDH) piling methods will be used within 76 feet near the Thunderbird Channel and Deep Canyon Channel Bridge. Alternative piling methods such as Tubex piles, which can produce lower vibration levels (0.05 in/sec PPV at 25 feet), or other alternatives with equal or lower vibration levels are acceptable.
  • CIDH piling methods or alternatives with equal or lower vibration levels will be used for five bridge locations: Highway 111 overcrossing, West Magnesia Canyon Channel Bridge at Highway 111, West Magnesia Canyon Channel Bridge at Library, Cook Street overcrossing,  and La Quinta Channel Bridge.

CV Link construction will result in a substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient
noise levels. Construction activities will only occur during permitted hours of each jurisdiction’s Municipal Code. All construction equipment, fixed or mobile, will have properly operating and maintained mufflers. All stationary construction equipment will be position to emit noise away from the noise-sensitive receivers nearest the project site. Equipment staging areas will be located at the greatest distance between noise sources and noise-sensitive receivers nearest the project site. (Already 61 staging areas have been determined, as shown in the Alignments Map Book. The closest distance between a sensitive receptor to a staging area will be 30 feet.) Large bulldozer use within 100 feet of nearby residences and schools will be avoided if possible. Truck deliveries will be limited to the same hours specified for construction equipment by each local jurisdiction’s Municipal Code.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 landuseplanning

Land use and planning

CV Link could conflict with the privacy of adjacent property owners, as protected by applicable land use plan, policy, or regulation of an agency with jurisdiction over the project (including, but not limited to the general plan, specific plan, local coastal program, or zoning ordinance) adopted for the purpose of avoiding or mitigating an environmental effect. Where CV Link alignments abut residences and may affect their privacy, structural and landscape screening will be provided as designed in the Conceptual Master Plan standards and guidelines.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 hydrologywaterquality

Hydrology and water quality


CV Link could violate water quality standards or waste water discharge requirements. The project will comply with the requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). As applicable, CV Link construction will follow the CVWD and RCFCWCD standards and guidelines, including to the Riverside County Whitewater River Region Stormwater Quality Best Management Practice (BMP) Design Handbook for Low Impact Development (RCFCWCD, 2014) and the CVWD Development Design Manual (CVWD, 2013). The implementation of BMPs during construction activities will limit erosion and siltation from earthmoving and other construction activities. Exposed soil from excavated areas, stockpiles, and other areas where ground cover is removed will be stabilized to avoid or minimize the inadvertent transport by wind or water. The project is subject to NPDES Construction General Permit requirements. A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) will ensure that erosion, siltation and runoff do not result in flooding on or off the project sites. The SWPPP will identify specific best management practices to ensure that the project meets the requirements of the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) NPDES Construction General Permit and the Caltrans NPDES Permit. The BMPs will include a) Construction-related erosion and sediment controls, stabilization practices or structural controls, silt fences, earth dikes, drainage swales, sediment traps, check dams, reinforced soil retaining systems, temporary or permanent sediment basins and flow diversion. Temporary erosion and sediment control measures shall be installed during or immediately after initial disturbance of the soil, maintained throughout construction (on a daily basis), and reinstalled until replaced by permanent erosion control structures or restoration of the construction right-of-way. In addition, the following specific actions shall be taken to ensure that impacts are less than significant.
a. CV Link construction shall be avoided within the limits of identified waterways as depicted on the Jurisdictional Delineation Report prepared for this DEIR, except where authorized by federal, state or local permits.
b. Protect inlets and outlets of culverts from construction material intrusions using temporary berms to prevent channel incision, erosion, and sedimentation.
c. Erosion control measures appropriate for on-the-ground conditions, including percent slope, length of slope, and soil type and erosive factor, shall be implemented.
d. Temporary erosion controls such as straw bales and tubes, geotextiles and other appropriate diversion and impounding materials and facilities shall be properly maintained throughout construction (on a daily basis) and reinstalled (such as after backfilling) until replaced with permanent erosion controls or restoration is complete.
e. Where jurisdictional waters are adjacent to the construction right-of-way, the contractor shall install sediment barriers along the edge of the construction right-of-way to contain spoil and sediment within the construction right-of-way.
f. Ensure that all employees and contractors are properly informed and trained on how to properly install and maintain erosion control BMPs. Contractors shall require all employees and contractors responsible for supervising the installation and maintenance of BMPs and those responsible for the actual installation and maintenance to receive training in proper installation and maintenance techniques.
g. Project scheduling will include efficient staging of CV Link construction that minimizes the extent of disturbed and destabilized work area, and reduces the amount of soil exposed and the duration of its exposure to wind, rain, and vehicle tracking.
h. The use of a schedule or flow chart will be incorporated to lay out the construction plan and will allow Link construction to proceed in a manner that keep water quality control measures  synchronized with site disturbance, paving and other construction activities.
i. The sequencing and time frame for the initiation and completion of tasks, such as site clearing, grading, excavation, path construction, and reclamation, shall be planned in advance to ensure minimization of potential impacts.
j. Erosion and sediment control BMPs shall be incorporated into travelway construction plans.

To prevent petroleum products from contaminating soils and water bodies, the following BMPs shall be implemented:
a. Construction equipment and vehicles shall be properly maintained to prevent leakage of petroleum products.
b. Herbicides, fertilizers, vehicle maintenance fluids, petroleum products shall be stored, and/or changed in staging areas established at least 100 feet from delineated streams and other drainages. These products must be discarded at disposal sites in accordance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.
c. Drip pans and tarps or other containment systems shall be used when changing oil or other vehicle/equipment fluids.
d. Areas where discharge material, overburden, fuel, and equipment are stored shall be designed and established at least 100 vegetated (permeable) feet from the edge of delineated streams.
e. Any contaminated soils or materials will be disposed of off-site in proper receptacles at an approved disposal facility.
f. All erosion control measures shall be inspected and repaired after each rainfall event that results in overland runoff. The project contractor and CVAG shall be prepared year round to deploy and maintain erosion control BMPs associated with CV Link.
g. Existing culverts shall be carefully maintained in place in order to ensure that they function properly. Considerations include: maintenance of inlet and outlet elevations, grade, adequate compacted material cover, and inlet/outlet protection.

Restoration involves restoring the right-of-way to pre-construction conditions by final grading, installation of permanent erosion control measures such as slope breaks and retaining walls at appropriate distances to prevent rill (channel) formation between slope breaks, and re-establishing vegetation where it has been removed to facilitate construction.
a. Cleanup operations shall commence immediately following backfill operations on slopes approaching delineated streams and other drainages.
b. Final grading to restore pre-construction contours shall be completed and soil left in pre-existing condition within 7 days after backfilling the trench.
c. Restoration crew shall follow construction crews as they work systematically from one end to the other end of each Link alignment. If crews cannot work systematically from one end to the other, then erosion control BMPs shall be maintained on all slopes approaching a delineated stream and adjacent to these sensitive areas. If seasonal or other weather related conditions prevent compliance with these time frames, erosion control BMPs shall be maintained until conditions allow completion of cleanup.

CV Link will create or contribute runoff water, which would exceed the capacity of existing or planned stormwater drainage systems or provide substantial additional sources of polluted runoff.
The implementation of BMPs during construction activities shall ensure that erosion and siltation from earthmoving and other construction activities is limited. Exposed soil from excavated areas, stockpiles, and other areas where ground cover is removed shall be stabilized by wetting or other approved means to avoid or minimize the inadvertent transport by wind or water. The project is subject to NPDES Construction General Permit requirements. Project implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan shall be required to ensure that erosion, siltation and runoff do not result in flooding on or off the project sites, and that impacts are less than significant.

A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) shall be prepared and implemented during construction of the Proposed Project. The SWPPP shall identify specific best management practices (BMPs) that will be implemented during project construction. BMPs implemented as a part of the project will ensure that the project meets the requirements of the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) NPDES Construction General Permit and the Caltrans NPDES Permit. BMPs appropriate for and applicable to the CV Link project include the following.
Construction-related erosion and sediment controls, including any necessary stabilization practices or structural controls, shall be implemented at and in all potentially affected drainages. General structural practices may include, but are not limited to, silt fences, earth dikes, drainage swales, sediment traps, check dams, reinforced soil retaining systems, temporary or permanent sediment basins and flow diversion. Temporary erosion and sediment control measures shall be installed during or immediately after initial disturbance of the soil, maintained throughout construction (on a daily basis), and reinstalled until replaced by permanent erosion control structures or restoration of the construction right-of-way is complete. In addition, the following specific actions shall be taken to ensure that impacts are less than significant.
a. CV Link construction shall be avoided within the limits of identified waterways as depicted on the Jurisdictional Delineation Report prepared for this DEIR, except where authorized by federal, state or local permits.
b. Protect inlets and outlets of culverts from construction material intrusions using temporary berms to prevent channel incision, erosion, and sedimentation.
c. Erosion control measures appropriate for on-the-ground conditions, including percent slope, length of slope, and soil type and erosive factor, shall be implemented.
d. Temporary erosion controls such as straw bales and tubes, geotextiles and other appropriate diversion and impounding materials and facilities shall be properly maintained throughout construction (on a daily basis) and reinstalled (such as after backfilling) until replaced with permanent erosion controls or restoration is complete.
e. Where jurisdictional waters are adjacent to the construction right-of-way, the contractor shall install sediment barriers along the edge of the construction right-of-way to contain spoil and sediment within the construction right-of-way.
f. Ensure that all employees and contractors are properly informed and trained on how to properly install and maintain erosion control BMPs. Contractors shall require all employees and contractors responsible for supervising the installation and maintenance of BMPs and those responsible for the actual installation and maintenance to receive training in proper installation and maintenance techniques.
g. Project scheduling will include efficient staging of CV Link construction that minimizes the extent of disturbed and destabilized work area, and reduces the amount of soil exposed and the duration of its exposure to wind, rain, and vehicle tracking.
h. The use of a schedule or flow chart will be incorporated to lay out the construction plan and will allow Link construction to proceed in a manner that keep water quality control measures synchronized with site disturbance, paving and other construction activities.
i. The sequencing and time frame for the initiation and completion of tasks, such as site clearing, grading, excavation, path construction, and reclamation, shall be planned in advance to ensure minimization of potential impacts.
j. Erosion and sediment control BMPs shall be incorporated into travelway construction plans.

To prevent petroleum products from contaminating soils and water bodies, the following BMPs shall be implemented:
a. Construction equipment and vehicles shall be properly maintained to prevent leakage of petroleum products.
b. Herbicides, fertilizers, vehicle maintenance fluids, petroleum products shall be stored, and/or changed in staging areas established at least 100 feet from delineated streams and other drainages. These products must be discarded at disposal sites in accordance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.
c. Drip pans and tarps or other containment systems shall be used when changing oil or other vehicle/equipment fluids.
d. Areas where discharge material, overburden, fuel, and equipment are stored shall be designed and established at least 100 vegetated (permeable) feet from the edge of delineated streams.
e. Any contaminated soils or materials will be disposed of off-site in proper receptacles at an approved disposal facility.
f. All erosion control measures shall be inspected and repaired after each rainfall event that results in overland runoff. The project contractor and CVAG shall be prepared year round to deploy and maintain erosion control BMPs associated with CV Link.
g. Existing culverts shall be carefully maintained in place in order to ensure that they function properly. Considerations include: maintenance of inlet and outlet elevations, grade, adequate compacted material cover, and inlet/outlet protection.

CV Link structures will be within a 100-year flood hazard area, which would impede or redirect flood
flow. CV Link construction will follow the CVWD and RCFCWCD design and development standards and guidelines, including  limited to the Riverside County Whitewater River Region Stormwater Quality Best Management Practice Design Handbook for Low Impact Development (RCFCWCD, 2014) and the CVWD Development Design Manual (CVWD, 2013).

CV Link could expose people to a risk of loss, injury or death involving flooding, including flooding as a result of the failure of a levee or dam. CV Link construction will follow the CVWD and RCFCWCD design and development standards and guidelines, including  limited to the Riverside County Whitewater River Region Stormwater Quality Best Management Practice Design Handbook for Low Impact Development (RCFCWCD, 2014) and the CVWD Development Design Manual (CVWD, 2013).

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 hazardmaterials

Hazards and hazardous materials


CV Link could create a significant hazard to the public or the environment if the pad-mounted
transformers located alongside the route are removed. If the pad-mounted or pole-mounted transformers situated immediately adjacent to the CV Link alignment must be removed during construction activities, they will be tested for PCBs prior to their removal and disposal. If PCBs are identified, the transformers and associated fluids shall be transported offsite and disposed of in accordance with the standards and requirements of the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health, including draining of materials into approved containers, and secured transport to approved disposal facilities.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 geologysoils

Geology and soils

The CV Link is located in an area susceptible to landslides at one location, adjacent to Point Happy at the Indian Wells/La Quinta boundary. The Point Happy rock face will be evaluated and scaled of loose rock from the exposed slopes. Rock catchment devices, such as walls or steel mesh will be installed to mitigate the rockfall hazards.

Implementation of the CV Link could result in soil erosion or the loss of topsoil. Ground removal and recompaction of loose, near surface sandy soils will minimize dynamic settlement of dry soils. Deep dynamic compaction, additives (cement or fiber) to the soils and flooding of loose, granular soils will increase the density of the fill and remove or reduce the tendency to settle under dynamic shaking. Deep foundations will be considered at bypassing zones of loose sand.
Utility trench excavations in slope areas or near structures will be backfilled in conformance with governing agencies (water district, public works department, etc.). Backfill operations will be tested to monitor compliance.
Slope protection, cutoff walls, deep foundations below the maximum depth of scour and comparable measures will be applied.
Grading activities will cease during rainstorms or high wind events. Flow barriers and soil catchments (such as straw bales, silt fences, and temporary detention basins) will be installed during construction to control soil erosion.

Portions of the CV Link could be located on expansive soil, as defined in Table 18-1-B of the Uniform Building Code (1994), creating substantial risks to life or property. CV Link design and engineering will conform to the prevailing California Building Code (CBC) for buildings and other structures, and Caltrans design standards for bridges to mitigate the effects of groundshaking and earthquake damage.
Foundation designs and subsurface soil improvements will follow the California Code of Regulations Volume 18, Title 14, Article 10, Section 3721[a]) to minimize liquefaction hazards. The design measures will avoid overexcavation and hydrocompaction, and include remedial grading, strengthening and deepening structural foundations.
All grading plans will include a soil erosion prevention/dust control plan. Blowing dust and sand during grading operations will be mitigated by adequate watering of soils prior to and during grading, and limiting the area of dry, exposed and disturbed materials and soils during these activities. After site development, measures (moist surface soils, planting stabilizing vegetation, establishing windbreaks with non-invasive vegetation or perimeter block walls, and using chemical soil stabilizers) will be installed.
Unprotected, permanent graded slopes will not be steeper than 3:1 (horizontal:vertical) to reduce wind and water erosion. Protected slopes with ground cover may be as steep as 2:1. Fill slopes will be overfilled and trimmed back to competent material. Fill slope surfaces shall be compacted to 90% maximum density either by over-filling and cutting back to expose a compacted core or by mechanical methods.
Positive site drainage shall be established during finish grading, for 2% away from structures for a minimum of 3 feet and a minimum gradient of 1% to the street, channel or other approved
drainage course.
Dust control measures will be implemented to control wind-blown sand during construction, in compliance with the SCAQMD and the Coachella Valley PM10 SIP.
Excavated soils may be used as fill material if they are free of organic or deleterious matter. Rocks or concrete larger than 6 inches will be removed from fill or backfill material. Prior to integrating reconditioned fill soil, the areas will be scarified, brought to optimum moisture conditions, and recompacted to at least 90%.
Any imported soils will be non-expansive, granular soils meeting the USCS classifications of SM, SP-SM, or SW-SM with a maximum rock size of 3 inches and 5 to 35 percent passing the No. 200 sieve. Imported fill shall be placed in maximum 8-inch lifts (loose) and compacted to at least 90 percent relative compaction (ASTM D 1557) near optimum moisture content.
Excavations of sandy soil will be kept moist, unsaturated, to reduce caving or sloughing. Where excavations over 4 feet deep are planned, lateral bracing or appropriate cut slopes of 1.5:1 (horizontal/vertical) will be provided. No surcharge loads from stockpiled soils or construction materials shall be allowed within a horizontal distance measured from the top of the excavation slope and equal to the depth of the excavation.
Removal and recompaction of susceptible soils, flooding and surcharging, and/or other ground densification techniques will mitigate hydro-collapse potential.
Standard geotechnical practices such as excavation of the expansive soils and replacement with non-expansive compacted fill (by using additional steel reinforcing in foundations, post-tensioned slabs, presoaking, and drainage control devices) will be used.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 culturalresources

Cultural resources

Construction of  CV Link could cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of archaeological resources pursuant to §15064.5.
Construction-related earth-moving operations reaching beyond the disturbed surface and near-surface soils shall be monitored by a qualified archaeologist and Native American monitor. If cultural materials more than 50 years of age are discovered, they will be field recorded and evaluated. The monitors will recover artifacts quickly to avoid construction delays, but will can temporarily halt or divert construction equipment to allow for controlled archaeological recovery if a substantial cultural deposit is encountered.
CVAG will prepare a construction archaeological monitoring program, designed and implemented in coordination with local Native American groups, including the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and the Twenty-Nine Palms and Cabazon Bands of Mission Indians.
Collected artifacts will be processed, catalogued, analyzed, and prepared for permanent curation in a repository with permanent retrievable storage that would allow for future research.
Archaeological site records will document the cultural remains discovered and submit them to the Eastern Information Center for incorporation into the California Historical Resources Inventory.
Should unknown archeological or tribal materials become unearthed, the qualified archeologist will prepare a findings report summarizing the methods and results of the monitoring program, including an itemized inventory and a detailed analysis of recovered artifacts upon completion of the field and laboratory work. The report will include an interpretation of the cultural activities represented by the artifacts and a discussion of the significance of all archaeological or tribal finds. The submittal of the report to the CVAG, along with final curation of the recovered artifacts, will signify completion of the
monitoring program and, barring unexpected findings of extraordinary significance, the mitigation of potential project impacts on cultural and tribal resources.
All project-related ground disturbance and construction activities, including access and staging area, will remain within the APE boundaries.
In the event that project changes are made to include land not contained within the designated APE, subsequent surveys and revisions to the HPSR, HRER and ASR will be required.

Construction of  CV Link could directly or indirectly destroy a unique paleontological resource or site or unique geologic feature. In the unlikely event paleontological resources be discovered, the cultural monitor will salvage them as they are unearthed to avoid construction delays. The monitor will remove samples of sediments that are likely to contain the remains of small fossil invertebrates and vertebrates. The monitor will have authority to temporarily halt or divert grading and excavation equipment to allow for removal of abundant or large specimens.
Construction of  CV Link could disturb human remains, including those interred outside of dedicatedcemeteries. Should buried human remains be discovered during grading or project development, in accordance with State law, the County coroner shall be contacted. If the remains are determined to be of Native American heritage, the Native American Heritage Commission and the appropriate local Native American Tribe shall be contacted to determine the Most Likely Descendant (MLD). CVAG shall work with the designated MLD to determine the final disposition of the remains.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 biologicalresources

Biological resources

Implementation of CV Link could have a
substantial adverse effect, either
directly or indirectly, or through
habitat modifications, on Casey’s
June Beetle, a species identified
as a candidate, sensitive, or
special status species (including
species listed as threatened or
endangered) in local or regional
plans, policies, or regulations, or
by the California Department of Fish and Game or U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service.
BIO-5 Prior to any construction in that portion of the Proposed Project occurring within
the Survey Area for Casey’s June Beetle, an HCP containing the following requirements
shall be approved by the USFWS.
a. Restoration of portions of Tahquitz Creek Golf Course (6.8 acres) to natural wash
habitat suitable for CJB as identified on Exhibit 4.4-1.
b. Establishment of conservation easement(s) on 6.8 acres of land within the
restoration area of Tahquitz Creek Golf course, as described in item 1.
c. Installation of 0.07 acres of native landscaping to enhance habitat adjacent to the
path.
In addition, the following shall be incorporated by CVAG in its management and
maintenance of the path within the Survey Area.
a. Any and all lighting fixtures shall be turned off between April 1 and May 31 of
any year.
b. Construction activities will not occur within the Survey Area from April 1 to May
31 of any year.
c. An education kiosk will be installed along the CV Link path with information
about the species and the importance of native desert wash habitat.
d. Signage will be placed along the CV Link path to alert users to the presence of
habitat and to encourage respect for and avoidance of undisturbed habitat areas.
e. Any lands conserved by CVAG may be available as sites for future CJB
propagation, if such propagation is determined to be a viable means of conserving
the species.
f. Pesticide use on non-listed species is an allowable use, but no take of Casey’s June
Beetle associated with pesticide use will be authorized by the permit. Application,
storage, and use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, biocides, and fertilizers in a
lawful manner that does not affect Casey’s June Beetle is allowed. All such use
must occur in accordance with the EPA label on each product.
g. CVAG shall post signage at each end of the path within the Survey Area,
identifying the area as Casey’s June beetle habitat, and cautioning users that
mating season for the species occurs between April 1 and May 31. Signage shall
also include warnings about not harming the species if it is encountered by the
user or impacting adjacent habitat.
h. No electronic “bug zappers” will be utilized.
i. Irrigation at the surface of the soil will be prohibited in the habitat areas created,
restored or conserved by CVAG.
j. CVAG shall place $1,000,000.00 in an endowment approved by the Service to be
used for the maintenance of all acreage conserved, created or restored as part of
this HCP.
k. CVAG shall assure that management and maintenance of all acreage conserved,
created or restored is contracted in perpetuity with a qualified land management
agency/organization approved by the Service.

Implementation of CV Link could have a
substantial adverse effect on
federally protected wetlands as
defined by Section 404 of the
Clean Water Act (including, but
not limited to, marsh, vernal
pool, coastal, etc.) through direct
removal, filling, hydrological
interruption, or other means.
BIO-6 Prior to the initiation of any construction within areas determined by the
Jurisdictional Delineation to be waters of the US, a permit or permits shall be approved and
issued by the USACE under Section 404 of the CWA to authorize the discharge of dredged
or fill material into waters of the US.
BIO-7 Prior to the initiation of any construction within areas determined by the
Jurisdictional Delineation to be waters of the US or the State, a Water Quality
Certification(s) shall be approved and issued by the Colorado River RWQCB (Region 7)
under Section 401 of the CWA.
BIO-8 Prior to the initiation of any construction within areas determined by the
Jurisdictional Delineation to be waters of the State, a permit or permits shall be approved
and issued by the Colorado River RWQCB (Region 7) under the Porter Cologne Water
Quality Control Act. The permit could be a Construction General Permit, State General
Waste Discharge Order, or Waste Discharge Requirements, depending upon the level of
impact and the properties of the waterway.
BIO-9 Prior to the initiation of any construction within areas determined by the
Jurisdictional Delineation to be waters of the State, a 1602 Streambed Alteration
Agreement shall be approved and issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Implementation of the
CV Link could interfere
with the nesting of birds
protected under the MBTA,
which would interfere with the
movement of any native resident
or migratory fish or wildlife
species or with established native
resident or migratory wildlife
corridors, or impede the use of
native wildlife nursery sites.
BIO-3 If ground disturbance, tree or plant removal is proposed between February 1st and
August 31st, a qualified biologist shall conduct a nesting bird survey within 14 days of
initiation of grading onsite focusing on MBTA covered species. If active nests are reported,
then species-specific measures shall be prepared. At a minimum, grading in the vicinity of
a nest shall be postponed till the young birds have fledged. For construction between
September 1st and January 31th, no pre-removal nesting bird survey is required.
a. In the event active nests are found, exclusionary fencing shall be placed 200 feet
around the nest until such time as nestlings have fledged. Nests of raptors and
burrowing owls shall be provided a 500-foot buffer.

Implementation of the
CV Link could conflict
with the provisions of the
Coachella Valley Multiple
Species Habitat Conservation
Plan.
BIO-1 CVAG will be required to pay the local development mitigation fee to mitigate for
impacts to covered species and natural communities within the plan area, inside or outside
of Conservation Areas. Project activities inside Conservation Areas are subject to the Joint
Project Review process to determine consistency with plan goals and objectives.
BIO-2 CVAG shall comply with all terms and conditions of the CVMSHCP and
Implementing Agreement including, but not limited to: 1) participation in the Joint Project
Review Process with the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission for projects within
conservation areas as described in Section 6.6.1.1 of the CVMSHCP, and 2)
Implementation of the “Land Use Adjacency Guidelines” as described in Section 4.5 of the
CVMSHCP for any portion of the proposed project that impact or are adjacent to the
Whitewater Floodplain and Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains Conservation Areas.
Measures for the “Land Use Adjacency Guidelines” include:
a. Drainage: Development of the proposed project adjacent to or within a conservation
area shall incorporate plans to ensure that the quantity and quality of runoff discharged
to the adjacent conservation area is not altered in an adverse way when compared with
existing conditions. Storm water systems shall be designed to prevent the release of
pollutants (e.g., toxins, chemicals, petroleum products, exotic plant materials) or other
elements that might degrade or harm biological resources or ecosystem processes
within the adjacent conservation area.
b. Toxics: Development of the proposed project adjacent to or within a conservation area
shall be required to incorporate measures to ensure that application of fertilizers,
pesticides, herbicides or similar chemicals does not result in any discharge to the
adjacent conservation area.
c. Lighting: Lighting in areas adjacent to or located within conservation areas shall be
shielded and directed away from the conservation area, toward developed areas.
Landscape shielding or other appropriate methods shall be incorporated in project
designs to minimize the effects of lighting adjacent to or within the adjacent
conservation area in accordance with the guidelines included in the Implementation
Manual.
d. Noise: Noise generated by construction adjacent to or within a conservation area in
excess of 75 dBA shall incorporate setbacks, berms, or walls, as appropriate, to
minimize the effects of noise on the adjacent conservation area according to
Implementation Manual guidelines.
e. Invasives: Landscape plans shall be prepared for the proposed project. Landscape plans
for areas that are located adjacent to or within a conservation area are prohibited from
using invasive, non-native plant species in their design. Prohibited invasive
ornamental plant species are listed in Table 4-113 of the CVMSHCP (Appendix E).
The Coachella Valley native plant species listed in Table 4-112 of the CVMSHCP shall
be incorporated into landscape design within or adjacent to conservation areas.
BIO-4 A “take avoidance survey” for the burrowing owl no less than 14 days (in
accordance with the Staff Report on Burrowing Owl Mitigation [CDFW 2012]) and no
more than 30 days (in accordance with CVWD’s Operations and Maintenance Manual)
prior to ground breaking activities are required within and outside of conservation areas
that contain suitable habitat for this species. Additionally, a final survey must be conducted
within 24 hours of the initiation of ground disturbance activities in accordance with the
CDFW 2012 protocol.
If no burrowing owls are detected during those surveys, implementation of ground
disturbance activities could proceed without further consideration of this species assuming
there is no lapse between the surveys and construction as the protocol states “time lapses
between Project activities trigger subsequent take avoidance surveys including but not
limited to a final survey conducted within 24 hours prior to ground disturbance."
If burrowing owls are detected during the take avoidance surveys, avoidance and
minimization measures would then be required and could include the establishment of a
buffer zone, the passive or active relocation of the individual(s) or other measures approved
by the CDFW.
BIO-10 Fencing/Signage – As a means to protect the adjacent lands of the Whitewater
Floodplain Conservation Area present on Segment 1 of the CV Link Route (see Appendix
B for location of this Segment), fencing and/or regularly placed signage shall be employed
near the “top-of-slope” of the levee to prevent people and their pets (particularly dogs being
walked by their owners) from straying off the designated CV Link path and into the
adjacent natural habitat. Signage shall be placed intermittently along the entire CV Link
Segment.
BIO-11 Pet Control – Additional signage shall be placed intermittently along the entire
CV Link Route indicating that all dogs shall be required to be on a leash while traversing
CV Link. Aside from preventing individual animals from entering native habitat, the
benefits of such a mandate are numerous including facilitating personal safety for other
users of the Link, preventing altercations with other dogs present on the path, and increased
safety for the individual pet in question (i.e. preventing collisions with bicyclists and LSEV
users). In addition, disposal bins for pet waste shall also be provided throughout CV Link.
BIO-12 Interpretive Signage – Interpretive signs adjacent to areas of native habitat (such
as the Whitewater Floodplain Preserve) shall illustrate and educate the public on some of
the native wildlife, plant, or vegetation communities present adjacent to CV Link.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 airquality

Air quality

CV Link construction activity would violate SCAQMD air quality standards relating to NOx and fugitive dust, but would not contribute substantially to an existing or projected air quality violation. Construction equipment will use aqueous diesel fuels, diesel particulate filters and diesel oxidation catalysts with a minimum 30% reduction rating. A dust control plan will be prepared and implemented by all contractors during all construction activities, and the plan will include
  • Chemically treating soil where activity will cease for 4 days
  • Ceasing all construction grading operations and earth moving operations when winds exceed 25 miles per hour
  • Watering site and equipment morning and evening and during all earth-moving operations
  • Operating street-sweepers on paved roads adjacent to site
  • Enforcing limits of grading for each phase of development
  • Washing off trucks as they leave the project site to control fugitive dust emissions
  • Covering all transported loads of soils, wetting materials prior to transport, providing space from the top of the material to the top of the truck to reduce PM10 and deposition of particulate matter during transportation
  • Using track-out reduction measures such as gravel pads at project access points to minimize dust and mud deposits on roads affected by construction traffic.

CV Link and the Environment, part 2 aesthetics

Aesthetics

Construction of CV Link could affect scenic vistas for adjacent residents. The construction staging areas will be screened from public view with a perimeter chainlink fence with a windscreen. That fence will be removed and the land restored to original condition when construction is done.

CV Link could create a new light or glare and affect day or night views for residents adjacent to the facility. Project design will provide lighting from fixtures that will not extend beyond the edge of the right-of-way, and light fixtures above the path will be fully shielded.

19 January 2017

CV Link and the Environment, part 1

A year after the CV Link concept was revealed, CVAG has released the environmental study for the project. The study's title has a bit of heft: Draft Environmental Impact Report (SCH No. 2013111050) for the CV Link Multi-Modal Transportation Project. The main document has a bit of heft too, almost 700 pages, and an additional 17 appendices with another 4000 or so pages. The environmental study also goes by the easier acronym, DEIR.

The study describes the possible impacts to the environment that building CV Link may cause, and it offers ways to limit the impacts. Similarly, the study describes impacts of operating CV Link.

This blog post and others that share the title CV Link and the Environment provide a summary of the DEIR.

Three Alternative Plans for CV Link

CV Link is a multi-jurisdictional project. The route analyzed in this DEIR extends across 12 jurisdictions, including eight incorporated cities, unincorporated county lands, and three Native American tribes. Because two cities of the Coachella Valley held referenda that relate to parts of CV Link, the DEIR considers the impacts of three alternatives to the development of CV Link.
  1. CV Link without Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells

    This alternative analyzes the environmental consequences of building CV Link without the participation of the cities of Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells. Under Alternative 1, the CV Link segments generally extending eastward from Frank Sinatra Drive and along the stormwater channel and public streets to Monterey Avenue are not included. Neither are those street and channel alignments in Indian Wells and generally extending from Fred Waring Drive on the west to Washington Street on the east.

    With the deletion of CV Link segments through Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells, Alternative 1 requires the selection of logical termini at Indian Wells, as they have been selected for Rancho Mirage, in the vicinity of respective city limits .

  2. CV Link with all Eight Cities

    This alternative analyzes the environmental consequences of building CV Link through all of the incorporated cities, unincorporated county, and Native American lands from Pam Springs to Coachella. It evaluates all of the prospective route alignments, including those that pass through the cities of Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage. This alternative, therefore, evaluates all of the alignment variations for the complete 50-mile long route.

    The western terminus is at Highway 111 (North Palm Canyon Drive) in northern Palm Springs at or near the Palm Springs Visitor Center at Tramway Road. The eastern terminus is at Airport Boulevard (Avenue 56) and the Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel (CVSC) to the south of the City of Coachella and north of the unincorporated community of Thermal.

  3. CV Link not built

    This alternative analyzes the environmental consequences of not building CV Link, and relying instead on the existing but limited multi-modal of paths and street markings that form a roughly equivalent network in the vicinity of the CV Link route. Any future facilities set forth and described in the various jurisdiction general plans or transportation plans will continue to expand both intra-city and inter-city multi-modal networks.

The pathway largely follows the region’s principal watercourses, including Chino Wash, Tahquitz Creek, Whitewater River Stormwater Channel (WWR), and the Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel (CVSC). Where possible, CV Link will be constructed on top of flood control levees and service roads, and at the top of stormwater channel slopes of the WWR and the CVSC. In areas where these major drainage corridors are inaccessible, on-street routes are proposed. Grade-separated crossings (bridges or under-crossings) of major roadways are proposed. Alignment variations using the street network are also analyzed and provide options for near and long-term implementation. In some locations, the pathway shares right-of-way with roads and provides direct access to key commercial districts and recreational and institutional venues.

Beyond the Whitewater River Channel

CV Link will also incorporate and expand the Tahquitz Creek Trail in Palm Springs between South Palm Canyon Drive and the Whitewater Channel. The western terminus is at South Palm Canyon Drive in central Palm Springs, which provides access to adjacent commercial services and to downtown Palm Springs, as well as the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center. The eastern terminus is at the WWR near the west end of the Dinah Shore Bridge.

The planned CV Link includes several access points in each city that will connect to city bikeways or park-like walking and biking areas. However, these city-specific pathways are not in the scope of CV Link construction.

What is CV Link?

CV Link is a 50-mile non-motorized, multi-modal transportation path that passes through the developed and populated portions of the Coachella Valley. CV Link provides access and connectivity between residential, commercial, recreational, institutional, and other land uses throughout the region and provides simultaneously recreational opportunities for pathway users. The Link reduces local traffic volumes on roadways, lowers overall air pollution, increases safety for non-motorized vehicles, and builds a sense of community among all parts of the Coachella Valley. In longterm view, CV Link affords connection to other alternative transportation in Southern California, including existing networks in the Cities of Riverside and Redlands and the Santa Ana River Corridor and potential networks in the High Desert Cities and along the Palms to Pines Highway.

09 November 2016

La Quinta candidates' answer about CV Link

Updated 2016.11.09
The editorial board of the Desert Sun asked this question of all candidates for City Council:

"Are you in favor of La Quinta being part of the CV Link? Why or why not?"

Here are the Mayoral candidate responses:

  • Linda Evans, winner 2016 with 83%: "I support La Quinta being part of the CV Link. It provides a safe route for cyclists, runners, and walkers. It offers the option to take cars off the roads, resulting in less environmental impact. It provides a safe, free passage for a healthy lifestyle, like our other hiking/biking trails and parks. It connects our valley as an alternative transportation option, allowing access to shopping, dining, schools, and other amenities. The two-mile plus stretch in La Quinta will be one of the least impactful sections; the route is visible and non-intrusive to private areas. The maintenance costs will likely be similar or less than the City’s current spend on Bear Creek Trail and Cove hiking trails. Many states across the country have similar paths that are used for transportation, recreation, and tourism. I invite people to walk LQ’s section with me and experience its potential for our city and valley. "

    I endorse this wholehearted support of CV Link and the safe corridor it will provide for all types of alternative transportation. Evans' insight that CV Link has benefits similar to a park shows her flexibility and foresight.

  • Paula Maietta, not winner 2016: "Based upon the information we have, no, I am not in favor of this project. When do these ridiculous Council decisions end?  Construction cost is estimated at $100 million, and CVAG does not know where all that money is coming from. I believe that this project will provide greatest benefit to Goldenvoice/AEG and their concertgoers.  Let’s privatize this project and contract it out to them, like the toll roads.  This should be a decision made by the voters who will be paying maintenance costs for this boondoggle, as we are for Silverrock.  There’s discussion that the additional money needed for this project might come from TOT taxes; here we go again.  Our TOT taxes will go to this project instead of into our general fund to pay our bills, so the City will propose a TOT tax increase to make up for that loss. And on and on it goes."

    Maietta reveals an insular and provincial attitude as well as the fact she hasn't become informed about the project. Likely she has heard and bought into the Hobart Boondoggle and its misleading arguments against CV Link.

 Here are the council candidate responses:

  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, winner 2016 with 24%: "I think the CV Link would be great for La Quinta. It would be a complement to our brand promoting healthy living. In La Quinta the CV Link would also open up commercial opportunities along the back of the 111 corridor to Link users. However, while we need recreational opportunities that increase our activity and enhance tourism, we need to fully evaluate the costs of maintenance of the trail for the City. In light of our other economic challenges we need to be sure the link can be maintained before we commit to construction."

    Fitzpatrick seems to be a qualified supporter, and it might help her to read Section 8 of the CV Link Conceptual Master Plan, which offers over 20 sources to combine for funding O&M costs.

  • Kristy Franklin, not winner 2016 with 22%: "I am not going to vote for this project without knowing what it will cost my taxpayers to maintain it. When we spend tax dollars, there will always be some citizens who benefit indirectly, and in the case of CV Link it appears that most of our residents would fall into that category. I’ve been asked by the Cove and Southside citizens why they would want to drive such a distance to ride bikes, walk, run, etc. when La Quinta already has great trails and bike lanes. In addition arteries moving southward from the Link would have to be built and maintained by the City."

    Franklin has not yet considered cycling and neighborhood electric vehicles as transportation. To her, they are merely another leisure activity, and it seems she believes leisure can be relegated to isolated areas that already exist.

  • Joe Johnson, not winner 2016 with 14%: "The CV Link is not a terrible idea for a bike path.  It isn’t suitable for pedestrians, walking dogs on hot concrete, or for electric carts.  The proposed section going through La Quinta is troubling.  The limited access here makes it almost useless for anything except bike riders.  We have a new item, maintenance.  This will cost us another $100,000-$250,000 a year, not including the cost of Sheriff patrols (this is just like any other street and needs constant patrol).  Due to its desolate environment and 24-hour access, our few miles are just a problem waiting to happen."

    Johnson has freely expressed his opposition to CV Link elsewhere, and he seems to revel in the half-truths expounded by other opponents. I must correct his statements about the cost of maintenance: The project document (CV Link Conceptual Master Plan, Section 8) lists over 20 sources of funding for O&M costs, which are estimated to be about $10K to 30K per mile annually. These O&M costs include maintenance, safety and security patrols, marketing and events, insurance and risk management, and general management.

  •  Victoria Llort, not winner 2016 with 18%: "CV link is an innovative concept that, when realized, would benefit the Coachella Valley as a whole. Due to La Quinta’s 10 year projected $50 million deficit, all financial costs must be considered. Currently, CVAG (Coachella Valley Association of Governments) is not requesting any funding from participating cities for construction or maintenance of CV Link; foreseeable maintenance expenses are estimated to equal Bear Creek Trail in La Quinta. CV Link would be a great addition that brings potential for La Quinta and tourism enthusiasm."

    I appreciate Llort's considered, deliberate approach. I believe she would fully support CV Link after she has pored through the CV Link project document.

  • Steve Sanchez, winner 2016 with 22%: "I love waking up at 0400 to run my dogs, workout, or go for a long run; I try to do a half marathon every few months. At first, I was 100% opposed to La Quinta being a part of CV Link; I felt it was a waste of money. But, after learning more about CV Link, how La Quinta’s portion will be funded, I’ve had more of an open mind to it. As a La Quinta City Council member I would never tell another city what they should do, but for La Quinta, I want to see what the EIR report says."

    Sanchez would be a valuable voice for those who hope to see CV Link come to La Quinta.

Of course, there were other questions. See more at the Desert Sun Election Questionnaire

Indian Wells candidates' answer about CV Link

Updated 2016.11.09

The ballot Measure H was enacted with a majority vote of  68% (1118 votes of 1642 total). The measure text was:

Section 2.08.180 be added to the Indian Wells Municipal Code to prohibit the City Council from taking any action to approve the establishment, development or installation of all or any part of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ “CV Link” Project within the City, unless approved by a majority of City voters?
 
The editorial board of the Desert Sun asked this question of all candidates for City Council:

"The city is asking voters if they would approve of Indian Wells being part of the proposed CV Link. What is your opinion of the CV Link? Explain."

Here are the candidate responses:

  • Doug Hanson, not a winner 2016 with 21%: "The reason we put CV Link on the ballot was to find out how our residents feel about CV Link. The issue for Indian Wells is not what you think about CV Link but how does the link traverse the city. We clearly could not put it in the middle of the golf course. That would present a humongous hazard to the people on the link and create havoc with our golfers. In addition, the use of Highway 111 is not a viable route because of a previous ballot measure and the inability to widen the roadway."

    Hanson is clear that his objections are focused on the exact routing of CV Link. We can work with that, as long as it is not merely a bait-and-switch tactic to obstruct the corridor, as was practiced by Hobart and Rancho Mirage.

  • Ted Mertens, winner 2016 with 28%: "The CV Link project is a major and costly undertaking. I proposed the ballot measure (Measure H) to give residents a voice. I have not seen adequate evidence to support the claims relating to the benefits of this project. Initial construction costs estimated at $100M, will probably exceed that amount when completed. On-going maintenance costs are unknown. Cities will be expected to pay for these costs. The proposed routing through the IWGR or along Highway 111 is simply unacceptable. When approved, Measure H will prevent any future council from taking action without first obtaining the approval of a majority of voters."

    At least Mertens states clearly that he has his reasons for rejecting CV Link, even if the objections sound suspiciously like the obstructions from Hobart and Rancho Mirage.

  • Kimberly Muzik, winner 2016 with 24%: "This has been such a controversial item! I am glad it is going before our residents for their vote November 8th. Personally, do we really want the CV link to go through our beautiful IW Golf Resort?  What about costs of future maintenance and safety?"

    I see Muzik's gambit: don't answer the question by posing other questions. However, the very phrasing of her questions reveals her belief that CV Link is not for her.

  • Ty Peabody, winner 2016 with 27%: "I am adamantly opposed to CV Link as it is being presented:
    • Our residents voted to not allow widening of Highway 111 without a majority vote.
    • Building the Link as an elevated road adjacent to our golf course would be detrimental to golfers and spoil our views.
    • Our city would be required to build access roads or bridges connecting the Link to the clubhouse area.
    • Our city does not have capital to cover O&M costs.
    • There are serious potential liability issues related to the Link.
    • There is attempt by CVAG to use dedicated funds from Measure A for repair of existing roads and bridges for CV Link."

    Peabody has bought the Hobart Boondoggle, hook, line, and stinker. He clearly has not read the "Conceptual Master Plan" for the project, and he misunderstands the many alternatives floated for funding O&M costs.

Of course, there were other questions. See more at the Desert Sun Election Questionnaire

Cathedral City candidates' answer about CV Link

Updated 2016.11.09
The editorial board of the Desert Sun asked this question of all candidates for City Council:

"Do you support CV Link? And if so, how do you think it will benefit Cathedral City residents?"

Here are the candidate responses:

  • John Aguilar winner, 2016 with 37%: "Yes, I along with the Mayor and colleagues on the City Council full support the development of the CV Link. This will provide a substantial recreational opportunity for our citizens, promote tourism which will help create new job opportunities, and help reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing vehicular traffic and helping to build/grow a stronger neighborhood community."

    Aguilar is among three candidates with unequivocal support of CV Link. I suggest that voters use this endorsement along with other considerations in their decision November 8.

  • Sergio Espericueta not winner, 2016 with 23%: "Right now, I do not feel like I can support something that is not too clear about how it will impact residents in order to make it function. I think that it is necessary to from a committee, that includes residents, to debate this topic so that together we can discuss a project that would be costly. More people need to be informed and involved from the beginning and not just towards the end when the final concept is being presented."

    Espericueta has not done homework on CV Link. The community meetings about CV Link occurred in 2014 and 2015, meeting near-unanimous support from Cathedral City citizens in attendance and receiving many helpful suggestions on implementing the project. I suggest that the candidate read at least the CV Link Conceptual Master Plan to understand the current state of the project.

  • Stan Henry unupposed for 2016 mayor: "Yes, I support CV Link, and feel it will give the residents of Cathedral City better opportunities to use other sources of transportation in a safe environment to get around the valley and safe physical exercise. We had a Cathedral City disabled resident testify that he rides a bike every day from Cathedral City to College of the Desert and he is looking forward to the CV Link to have a safe path to get to school. If you look at the Valley’s tourism studies, it shows people are looking for other safe outdoor recreational facilities like CV Link. With Cathedral City having four major hotels along the route of CV Link this is a great opportunity for us to market to these tourists. We held a local community meeting regarding CV Link, and the majority was in favor."

    Henry is among three candidates with unequivocal support of CV Link. I suggest that voters use this endorsement along with other considerations in their decision November 8.

  • Greg Pettis winner, 2016 with 39%: "I support CV Link. Any additional recreation opportunities for our residents is welcome. We have a higher rate of obesity than some of our neighbors so this will also help in that regard. Additionally, the bike path is slated to run through one of our most economically challenged neighborhoods giving them an avenue for recreation that they may not have otherwise."

    Pettis is among three candidates with unequivocal support of CV Link. I hesitate with endorsement because he evidently considers CV Link to be merely a recreational amenity, rather than a necessary transportation corridor.

Of course, there were other questions. See more at the Desert Sun Election Questionnaire. Meanwhile, the first segment of what will be CV Link is coming to Cathedral City in the next few months, from Vista Chino to Ramon Road. The map of the full, planned CV Link through the city is at the right.

Palm Desert candidates' answer about CV Link

updated 2016.11.09
The editorial board of the Desert Sun asked this question of all candidates for City Council:

"Are you in favor of Palm Desert being part of the CV Link? Why or why not?"

Here are the council candidate responses:

  • Kathleen Kelly, winner 2016 with 23%: "As the question suggests, CV Link will happen because of numerous cities supporting it and funding that cannot be used for anything else. It would not be to Palm Desert’s advantage to resist participation. The proposed route uses existing roadways along Magnesia Falls, and could feed visitors to the proposed “city center” on San Pablo. I will work for implementation to be as advantageous to Palm Desert as possible, guarding funds intended for other uses."

    I endorse Kelly's support of CV Link and an implied opposition to the isolationist attitudes of neighboring cities. Her reasons for support exhibit appreciation of how CV Link can build on and build up other development projects in the city.
  • Jerry Martin, not winner 2016 with 10%: "The CV Link is an exciting opportunity for our city. It is a long process and I believe that it will be a benefit for our city’s residence and visitors."

    Martin expresses support for CV Link, but I think his short statement reveals that the topic is low on his priorities.

  • Gina Nestande, winner 2016 with 26%: "As a former Professional Ironman Triathlete, I understand the health benefits of physical activity. The CV Link can benefit many in our community, provide a venue to hold sporting events, give the tourism industry another marketing tool thereby bringing more tourists to our area – even in the summer months. My support ultimately depends upon evaluating the final environmental and financial documents when made available within the next several months."

    Nestande evidences the greatest support of CV Link and the broadest understanding of its positive impact. In addition, she expresses a fiscal reserve that might be eased by reading Section 8 of the CV Link Conceptual Master Plan, which itemizes the expected services that provide O&M and which offers over 20 sources to combine for funding O&M costs.

  • Van Tanner, not winner 2016 with 19%: "In the very near future there is going to be an Environmental Impact Study Report showing what the potential impact CV link will have on our valley cities.  My thoughts are that the link will bring the East Valley together with the West Valley and everything in between.  In doing this the public needs to know the benefits and the costs involved.  This study will go a long way in telling me what the overall impact will be.  At this time I am favorable to the idea but reserve final opinion until after the report is completed."

    Turner expresses an overarching understanding that CV Link is a transportation corridor, and not merely a recreational amenity. A bit concerning is his apparent reliance on the Environmental Impact Study to reveal CV Link impacts on the cities. (I understand the EIS might be limited to the impacts on the natural environment and habitats of native flora and fauna. Perhaps I'm wrong in this assumption.) 

  • Susan Marie Weber, winner 2016 with 22%: "Throughout all my campaigns, I have commented on having a cross-valley method of transportation. I spoke to SunLine representatives, thinking a bus line would help solve the problem. "As an accountant, I look at the costs, not just the design/construction, but long-term maintenance and operational costs, such as lighting, trash, loitering, and vandalism.
    When the long-term costs are more fully defined, I think we will all be able to make a more educated decision on the value of the CV Link."

    Weber, like Tanner, understands the transportation advantages of CV Link—a positive sign. I must advise her to reread the project document (CV Link Conceptual Master Plan, Section 8) to be reminded of over 20 sources of funding for O&M costs, which are estimated to be about $10K to 30K per mile annually. These O&M costs include regular maintenance, safety patrols and security measures, marketing and events, insurance and risk management, and general management.

Of course, there were other questions. See more at the Desert Sun Election Questionnaire

27 October 2016

A fresh take on the Rancho Mirage referenda of April 2016

I recently posted a notice about the Whitewater Bike Trail on the Rancho Mirage News page, and I received a comment from the moderator there, Charlie Barrett. I've known Charlie through his online posts for a while, and I don't expect him to take any progressive opinions in the near future.

His comment read, "Rancho Mirage voters have turned down [Coachella Valley Association of Government] CVAG's plans to bring the CV Link through Rancho Mirage. City Council was considering even rescinding the offer the city made to CVAG whereby the CV Link would come through Rancho Mirage via Ramon Road, which CVAG flatly rejected months ago. So ..it clearly appears that CVAG is not willing to even discuss anything else but what it dictates and wants, while RM city officials offered to discuss the Ramon Road proposal."

I recognized his comment distills the exchanges between Rancho Mirage and the CVAG executive committee, likely in the interest of writing a cogent but short reply. The distillation only slightly misrepresents how the 18-month-long back-and-forth went in finding any route that could be agreeable to the City Council, CVAG, and the ultimate users of CV Link.

With Charlie's comment in mind, I went back to the referenda that the City Council had brought to the citizens in April 2016. Four issues were on the ballot:
  • Measure 1, binding: Shall the City of Rancho Mirage require that any future amendment or repeal of Ordinance No. 1099, which currently prohibits Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (not including golf carts) on or adjacent to certain designated streets including Highway 111, Bob Hope Drive; Country Club Drive; Da Vall Drive; Dinah Shore Drive; Frank Sinatra Drive; Gerald Ford Drive; Magnesia Falls Drive; Monterey Avenue; Plumley Road, and others, be subject to prior voter approval?
  • Measure 2, advisory: Do you approve of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) spending One Hundred Million Dollars ($100,000,000) or more to construct the CV Link, plus, according to the March 2015 Master Plan, an additional $1.6 million annually to operate and maintain the CV Link pathway, which CVAG proposes to extend through Rancho Mirage business and residential districts?
  • Measure 3, advisory: If CV Link were to be constructed, would you approve the City Council committing Rancho Mirage to pay for CV Link's annual operations and maintenance expenses, which on April 6, 2015, CVAG projected Rancho Mirage's share to be between $110,300 and $251,800 per annum as of the 9th year of operations, and continuing to increase annually at the rate of inflation? 
  • Measure 4, advisory: Because in 2002 County voters approved Measure A, which is a ½ cent increase in our sales tax to be used to repair dilapidated and crumbling roads and highways in the Coachella Valley, should CVAG be allowed to divert up to $20 million dollars ($20,000,000) from this Measure A fund, to pay for the construction of the Neighborhood Electric Vehicles portion of the CV Link?

In actions separate from the referenda, Rancho Mirage city council did in fact rescind all routes offered through the city. The council specifically stated that Highway 111, Gerald Ford, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Butler-Abrams Trail, and—later, as a punitive step against CVAG—Ramon Road could not be used for CV Link routing. —Strangely, the city commission never excepted a CV Link route along Dinah Shore Drive!— Some day the residents may get fed up with the walkers, runners, cyclists, and electric vehicles using their existing streets instead of a dedicated corridor through the town.

However and contrary to popular opinion, the Rancho Mirage ballot measures were poorly written, and they could be interpreted to encourage building CV Link, albeit with confusing restrictions. (Blame then-mayor Dana Hobart and city attorney Steve Quintanilla for this.) As the April ballot issues were written, the city had the following restrictions on CV Link:

  • Measure 1 (approved by 75%): No electric vehicles are allowed on Ramon, Dinah Shore, Gerald Ford, Frank Sinatra, Country Club, Highway 111, Plumley, Da Vall, Bob Hope, Magnesia Falls, or Monterey. However, electric vehicles are allowed on any other streets—and on any other routing of CV Link through the city.
    Further, any changes to this list must be agreed to in a city election.
  • Measure 2 (79% of the vote): This "advisory referendum" likely has no force on actions by the Coachella Valley Association of  Governments, in which Rancho Mirage has one voting member of 11. However, by this advisory, CVAG is allowed to spend less than $100 million for construction of CV Link and less than $1.6 million annually for maintenance.
    As CV Link is to be built as a joint effort of Riverside County and the ten cities of CVAG, interpretation of this advisory Measure 2 is, indeed, cloudy. Perhaps the closest approximation would be that construction and maintenance in Rancho Mirage would be limited to $10 million ($100/10 million) and $160 thousand ($1.6/10 million), respectively.
  • Measure 3 (78% of the vote): This "advisory referendum" likely has no force, although it may guide the city council in enacting local ordinances. However, this advisory allows Rancho Mirage to maintain CV Link with annual amount either less than $110,300 or more than $251,800 each year. Combined with Measure 2, the maintenance funds apparently would be limited to less than $110K.
  • Measure 4 (81% of the vote): This "advisory referendum" prohibits using $20 million from Measure A funds for building the part of CV Link that serves NEVs (electric vehicles). Because of the restrictive language, it appears that other funding sources would be allowed, and apparently using Measure A funds for the non-NEV routing would also be allowed.
So much for the legal acumen of the former mayor, the city attorney, and the current city council.

22 October 2016

On the proposed CVLink for the Palm Springs region

Imagine having a road all to yourself for jogging with the rosy-fingered sunset behind you, ravens making a black flutter above you.

Imagine leaving the golf course on your electric cart, escaping along the wide Whitewater Wash, clubs rattling softly to accompany your solo ride home.

Imagine yourself among friends on their bikes in that heaven between the sky and the pavement, the gears buzzing like cicadas as you share a couple of spare energy bars with the other cyclists.

Imagine the pull from your dog when he sees a Gray Heron float to a rest in the wash below, and your chance to point out that part of nature to your two kids on their trikes beside you.

A Real Bike Trail Comes to the West Coachella Valley




Gravel levee above the Whitewater River, future site of the Whitewater
Bike Trail
All these are not daydreams. They will be soon a part of the leisure activities easily at hand to all in Palm Springs and Cathedral City. In early September 2016, the cities of Palm Springs and Cathedral City agreed on the construction and maintenance of the Cathedral City Whitewater Bike Trail.

The trail "will extend along the west levee of the Whitewater River between Ramon Road and Vista Chino." Cathedral City will construct the concrete bike and pedestrian path for a total distance of about 2.5 miles. (The west levee of the Whitewater River follows below the easterly walls of the Escena development, and it is located within Riverside County Flood Control District rights-of-way.) At Ramon Road, the path will continue west along the north side of Ramon Road for approximately 0.22 miles to end at Crossley Road. The path along Ramon will be added within the existing right of way.

Artist rendering of the Whitewater Bike Trail, near Ramon Rd
Although long-developed plans for CV Link incorporate the levee from Vista Chino south to Ramon Road, the engineering of the Cathedral City Whitewater Bike Trail is distinct from the valley-long corridor. The Cathedral City planning document states, "The Whitewater Bike Trail is a project being undertaken solely by Cathedral City separate from CVAG's CV Link project. Cathedral City is the lead agency on this project, and has completed an environmental document and final design. Cathedral City prepared a conceptual presentation on the proposed elements of the Whitewater Bike Trail."

Planned route, with access points at A and B
Because part of the trail is located in the City of Palm Springs, a contractual agreement between the cities outlines how costs are shared:
  • Cathedral City is 100% responsible for all construction cost.
  • Cathedral City is 100% responsible for all maintenance costs within the City of Palm Springs for a period of 5 years, or until CVAG assumes responsibility for the maintenance of the trail as part of CV Link.
  • Palm Springs grants Cathedral City permission to construct the trail located within the City of Palm Springs.
  • Palm Springs is 100% responsible for all maintenance of the trail located in the City of Palm Springs 5 years after Cathedral City completes the project, until CVAG assumes maintenance of the trail as part of CV Link.




In the November 8, 2016 referendum on their local ballot, voters in the City of Indian Wells have an opportunity to decide whether CV Link can go forward only if there is another, future ballot initiative that results in a majority approval. If this referendum is passed, CV Link will be impeded in Indian Wells by this new obstacle, since, characteristically, building projects are undertaken after city council approval, without city-wide voting.