Students Raise Questions About CV Link Development

April 29, 2015 /


Photo: CHRISTIAN MENDEZ / Coachella Unincorporated


Editor’s Note: Last week, students from the Land Use Planning Awareness (LUPA) project and Coachella Unincorporated student reporters held a discussion about the CV Link project, a proposed 50-mile active transportation trail that would stretch from Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs to Coachella, at NOVA Academy in Coachella. In March, LUPA project students produced a video based on a CV Link site visit they conducted in an effort to raise awareness about safety and privacy issues. And during their discussion last week, the students voiced their concerns about additional issues like the $100 million price tag and the lack of community input from the east valley. Below, are a few of the students’ responses from their CV Link discussion, in addition to questions they have for LeGrand Velez, the transportation program manager for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG).


Photo: CHRISTIAN MENDEZ / Coachella Unincorporated

Alejandra Ramirez, 12th grade 

I think [the CV Link] would give us something to do, but we would not be able to use it as an alternate route like they are promoting it. It doesn’t really lead to anywhere.

I think it will mostly be used for exercise, but it’s not useful to get to other places. If I used the trail, it would be something I would have to plan for because someone would have to drive me there. It’s not easily accessible to me.

The community needs to speak up about the project. If it’s for the community, then the community should have an input.

Question for LeGrand Velez: 

Are you satisfied with the way the project is being planned and executed?


Photo: CHRISTIAN MENDEZ / Coachella Unincorporated

Richard Tapia, 12th grade

It’s a very ambitious project. It has a lot of potential, but based on what we know so far, they haven’t really thought everything through.

They’ve already used half their budget for advertising, but at the meeting I went to at Bobby Duke (Middle School), there were only a few people there. No one really knew about it. It would be a good idea if they did more advertising in the community, especially towards Hispanic people here in the community.

I feel like not many people value city meetings because they just don’t see the point in it. They probably think everything is already decided so they don’t see the point in giving their opinion.

 Question for LeGrand Velez: 

When the plan was proposed, did anyone do statistics on how many people actually wanted the trail, or if it would be beneficial to the community?


Photo: CHRISTIAN MENDEZ / Coachella Unincorporated

Karla Martinez 11th grade

It’s not that accessible to people in the eastern Coachella Valley community, and I’m very concerned about the money because the city has to pay to maintain it. Are we going to have enough money to always take care of it? We have to think about the future and what is going to happen after it is built.

I have talked to family members about the project but they don’t express much concern because they’re always working, and they’re always busy. My family is not going to get on the CV Link at any time, so they think whatever our officials decide is final. But If there’s something you don’t like about it, and you voice your concerns, it becomes and even better project if it’s been improved by community input.

Question for LeGrand Velez: 

What do you hope will come from building the CV Link? Do you think it will equally benefit the east and west valleys when it gets built?


Photo: CHRISTIAN MENDEZ / Coachella Unincorporated

Andres Rios, 12th grade

There are a lot of projects like [the CV Link] that go on and sometimes you miss out on them or don’t hear about them, but they have a huge impact on the community and the youth. I question if this project is finalized, is there any room for change?

Question for LeGrand Velez: 

Will the trail’s route be adjusted, or is it set in stone? Is there a plan to branch out from a singular trail into a trail that has extensions?


Photo: CHRISTIAN MENDEZ / Coachella Unincorporated

Jatzel Garcia, 11th grade

My concern is that people really don’t know about [the CV Link]. I don’t think people show up to the meetings because they’re tired after work. My parents went to one meeting, but they were tired so I said we could go home because I noticed my [mom] was tired.

It’s important for community members to speak up about the project because I don’t like it when people complain, but they never do anything about it. They have these meetings for you to go and find out about the project and voice your concerns, and if you’re not attending them then you don’t have a right to complain about it.

Question for LeGrand Velez: 

After having heard all the concerns from people, and how they feel about the project, are you taking those concerns into consideration? Are you doing anything with the community’s input?


How to get involved:  

Human Impact Partners, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, Calif., is in the process of collecting community input for their Health Impact Assessment report of the CV Link. The report is scheduled to be finalized in June 2015. To submit comments or concerns about the CV Link project, contact Celia Harris from HIP at [email protected] or at (510) 452-9442 extension 103.

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