There's been a lot of heavy duty construction activity focused on Interstate 10 with so many interchange projects recently under construction. Two years ago the new Bob Hope Drive interchange was completed. It was closely followed by the Indian Avenue Interchange,  the Palm Drive Interchange, and in a few months the Date Palm Drive Interchange will be completed and open to traffic. Later this year, work will start on a new west-bound loop on-ramp at the Monterey Avenue Interchange, and in early 2014 a new Jefferson Street Interchange is scheduled to break ground. That is a lot of activity and hundreds of millions of dollars all being expended within a few miles of Interstate 10. CVAG has played a prominent role in arranging and coordinating funding for these projects in order to assure their completion.

 

These are all very important projects to Coachella Valley residents. However, there are many other, often more locally important, road improvement projects for which CVAG is providing funding assistance. These projects will be under construction concurrently with these blockbuster projects on the Interstate. While others have already been completed.

 

The several railroad grade separation projects in Coachella allow residents to shop, do business and get to school without waiting for long-lasting trains. Emergency vehicles do not need to take time consuming detours to respond to people in need. CVAG funding has assisted in those projects. 

 

A third left-turn lane will be added to all four legs of the Washington Street/ Highway 111 intersection in La Quinta, the busiest intersection in the Coachella Valley, with CVAG funding. That project will be important to residents well beyond the city limits of La Quinta.

 

 

CVAG funds will also go to adding a third drive lane to Highway 111 from Cook Street to the west city limits of Indian Wells, as well as intersection turn lane improvements at Cook Street to reduce congestion impacts in that area.

 

In Cathedral City, CVAG has provided funding support for two planned bridge projects, the Cathedral Canyon bridge and the Date Palm bridge, with a total construction cost of over $40 million.

 

CVAG has continuously provided funding support to improve the arterial road system. So even though these projects may not have the flash/bang of an Interstate 10 interchange project, they are important for a variety of reasons. Families can dependably get their kids to school; emergency vehicles can transport patients without delay; cities can better control traffic during major events; visitors, and tourists, can attend popular events (and spend their money!) without feeling like sardines packed in a can. These are taxpayer dollars CVAG is responsible for, and it is our intention to make the smartest use of this money as possible.

  
  

 

 

On January 4th, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Governing Board took action to award mitigation funds from the CPV Sentinel Energy Project power plant to projects in the Coachella Valley. There was approximately $53 million in mitigation funds available through an RFP process that was managed by the AQMD. More than 75 proposals were received totaling approximately $375 million in requested funding.

 

 CVAG submitted a proposal requesting $38 million for the 53 mile 1e11 and was awarded $17.4 million. At their January 4th Governing Board Meeting, AQMD Governing Board members complimented the Parkway Project. Former Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge representing the Cities of Riverside County stated that the Parkway "is an example of national best practices that is emerging." AQMD's Executive Officer, Barry Wallerstein, also noted at the January meeting that the "Parkway is unique and is the first of its kind of project that will take the largely retirement and recreational communities that have a great deal of tourism and create a pedestrian, bicycling and potentially small battery electric vehicles Pathway that connects one end of the Valley to the other end of the Valley; so that one could travel from the entrance of the Coachella Valley to, someday, the Salton Sea!"

 

CVAG wishes to express its gratitude to the AQMD Governing Board for holding its public hearings on the RFP process and for providing an overall transparent, thorough and inclusive process. We also congratulate AQMD staff for their long hours and hard work on analysis of the proposals as well as Review Panel participant, Mel Zeldin. Mr. Zeldin, previously with the AQMD, worked with CVAG over the years regarding PM10 issues. AQMD Governing Board Vice Chair Dennis Yates also complimented AQMD staff noting that the process was "awe inspiring" and "should be the standard for others to follow."

 

CVAG and AQMD have a long time partnership relative to the air quality in the Coachella Valley, and we look forward to working with AQMD towards completion of the Parkway 1e11.

  

Known for being the City of Festivals, Indio is gearing up to welcome hundreds of thousands of people during the month of April. The two largest festivals, the Coachella, April 12-14 and April 19-21, and the Stagecoach, April 26-28, appeal to people from all walks of life, from all over the country and beyond, all with one thing in common - the love of music!

 

 

Fortunately for those of us here in the Coachella Valley, the benefits of this grand invitation will touch each city and the county through an increase of sales and transient occupancy tax dollars. People are expected to stay in the local hotels, dine in local restaurants, and shop, shop, shop! Along with the additional visitors, however, comes additional traffic, the need for stepped up public safety staff and equipment, and the need for a bit of extra patience.

 

Goldenvoice concert promoter, Skip Paige, is very interested in not only the music experience for those attending both the Coachella and Stagecoach events, but is also interested in making sure those attending the concerts, as well as the Coachella Valley's permanent residents, are not too inconvenienced by the additional traffic. CVAG worked with local jurisdictions to alleviate congestion by committing $ 2,730,000 for Madison Street and $ 4,247,800 for Monroe Street improvements. Goldenvoice also contributed $300,000 toward road improvements to Monroe Street in Indio. "We felt that we ought to help improve the infrastructure where we could in order to make the whole experience better," said Paige. Also of interest is the the potential use of the railway to one day bring visitors to the valley for the music experience. Several years ago, a special Amtrak train was once used to bring concert-goers to the Coachella Music festival directly from Los Angeles to Indio. Paige stated, "If rail were an option, the impact would potentially open up the Coachella and Stagecoach Festivals, as well as all other tourism opportunities in the Coachella Valley to many more visitors." CVAG has met with representatives from Goldenvoice and the cities of Indio and Palm Springs to discuss future passenger rail possibilities.

 

As CVAG continues to work with its jurisdictions on the Regional Arterial Program, roadways across the Coachella Valley continue to see improvements. The ease by which people move to and from will also continue to improve. So when events such as the Coachella, Stagecoach, Indian Wells Tennis Tournament, or the number of golf tournaments held here in the Coachella Valley throughout the year occur, residents may see an increase in traffic and folks visiting, but will also see a smoother flow to the traffic.