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.

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