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.

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