CV Link has been under development since 2011. During the comprehensive community engagement that has been done about this project, the CV Link project team has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions. If your question is not covered, please feel free to email us and we will have a project representative answer your question.
What is the CV Link?
CV Link is a 40-plus-mile bicycle, pedestrian, and low-speed (up to 25 mph) electric vehicle pathway that is being built largely along the Whitewater River, and it extends from Palm Springs to Coachella. Expanding on existing portions of paved trail, CV Link will provide a continuous transportation and recreation route connecting the Coachella Valley cities. Future route segments include connections to Desert Hot Springs, the eastern unincorporated communities of the Coachella Valley and the Salton Sea.
Who supports the project and why?
Dozens of organizations, individuals and agencies have indicated their support for the project. The organizations represent business and real estate groups, the tourist industry, regional governments, environmental groups, hospitals and public health care organizations and economically disadvantaged communities. The breadth of support reflects the project’s potential public health, recreation, economic development, congestion relief and air quality benefits. These supporting organizations recognize that much engineering, environmental and public involvement work still needs to take place.
Won't it just get "washed out" anytime it rains?
No, the path will generally be built on top of the levee, not in the bottom of the wash. Trails like this have been built in many places along storm-water channels/rivers, such as the Santa Ana River. CVAG and the design team has worked closely with the local water districts to make the project work.
Isn't this just a luxury for the rich riding golf carts?
There is an identified community need across all social demographics for more transportation choices and recreational opportunities. Golf carts were invented in the Coachella Valley, and are used by people from all sorts of economic backgrounds. Many cities already accommodate them on their roadways, and provide parking at shopping centers and public spaces. CV Link is designed as a safe and comfortable route for bicycling, walking and jogging, with sufficient width and/or separation elements to also accommodate golf carts or low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles.
What is a NEV, or LSEV?
Low-Speed Electric Vehicles (LSEVs) are federally regulated to a maximum speed of 25 mph and include golf carts and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). NEVs are about the size of a golf cart and can carry two to six people. NEVs are permitted to share a general traffic lane with cars on roads with posted speed limits up to and including 35 mph. Like golf carts, they are maneuverable, lightweight, and produce zero emissions.
How much will the CV Link cost to build?
CV Link is a phased investment in our economic future. As detailed in the Conceptual Master Plan, the project has a cost estimate of nearly $100 million. This estimate will be further refined as the designs and alignments are finalized. The actual cost will be determined when private contractors prepare bids to construct the project. Much of the cost is associated with under-crossings and bridges over roadways that will allow CV Link users to safely avoid busy streets. A comparison of estimated costs shows that while the CV Link could be about $2 million per mile, the next interchange project on I-10 is estimated to cost $55 to $60 million; a 6-lane arterial roadway costs $14 million per mile; and a freeway costs $30 million per mile!
I understand that the project received air quality funds. Is the project an emission reduction project?
I cannot imagine using this path for my commute – it's just too far!
While some commutes are indeed long, research shows that the average one-way trip length for all trip purposes is about 2 miles for motorists, 2.6 miles for bicycles and up to 5 miles for NEVs. CV Link will provide an option that encourages more people to walk, bike or use low-speed electric vehicles more often, not necessarily for every trip.
Are your usage estimates realistic, given the intense desert heat in summer? Isn't it unsafe to encourage physical activity in summer heat?
CV Link will feature closely spaced shade and windbreak structures as well as water fountains. From a transportation perspective, much of the commuting use will be in the relatively cooler morning hours, and the trip home can be done either at a more leisurely pace, at later hours, or using transit. CV Link will provide another recreational option for the many people who can be seen outdoors throughout the day in locations such as the Palm Desert Bump-and-Grind Trail in the City of Palm Desert.
Shouldn't we be spending money in ways that improve the economy during these tough times?
Yes. Building roads, trails and bridges not only creates construction jobs but leads to many other benefits. For example:
- In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a $6 million investment in bike infrastructure is estimated to benefit that tourist region by about $60 million annually.
- More than half of the visitors on the Greenbrier River Trail in West Virginia spend more than $100 per visit and most come from out of state.
- Biking and hiking trails in Teton County, Wyoming are estimated to create an annual economic benefit of more than $18 million.
- Bicycling projects create an average of 11.4 jobs per million dollars spent, compared to just 7.8 jobs for road-only projects
An initial economic analysis of CV Link prepared by a renowned Inland Empire economist through the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, projected an estimated $1.47 billion economic benefit through the year 2035. This includes $152 million in reduced medical costs due to increased physical activity!
How quickly can CV Link be built?
To date, about 3.5 miles have been built. Construction will be starting on nearly 20 miles in 2020. CVAG estimates a build out of three to five years, but the timing will be based on ongoing negotiations to acquire right-of-way and easements.
Isn't mixing Low Speed Electric Vehicles, bikes and pedestrians a receipt for conflict and accidents?
Who will operate and maintain CV Link? And pay to do so!
What if someone has an emergency? How will people feel safe using it?
The entire path will be accessible to emergency services, and evenly spaced distance markers will help users advise their location. The pathway has solar lighting. Having a well-designed and maintained facility that attracts many users also discourages undesirable behavior.