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Palm Desert CV Link celebration this weekend. But why are drivers behaving badly?

Palm Desert CV Link celebration this weekend. But why are drivers also using the paths?

A city-sponsored street party is set for Saturday evening to celebrate and show off the newly completed C-V Link trails throughout the city. along with the new San Pablo streetscape. But the alternative transportation path has some unintended and unwelcomed users. You could call them drivers behaving badly.

We captured a video of a driver turning around mid-block and then driving right back into the protected CV Link lanes along Park View Drive just west of College of the Desert.

A bicyclist who came by minutes later, Mike Walbridge of Palm Desert said, “That would be a big help if there was more signage that specifically targeted cars not to go into those parts of the bike trail.”

News Channel 3's Jeff Stahl showed his video to Palm Desert Mayor Pro-Tem Jan Harnik. “There’s going to be a lot of learning," Harnik said. "There’s a lot of ways we can get better. And we certainly welcome input just like this. This is really helpful.”

This 3 miles of Palm Desert path is the Coachella Valley Association of Government’s latest CV Link accomplishment. But looking at our video, Executive Director Tom Kirk admits more traffic barricades will be required here on Park View to keep drivers off the path.

“It’s a big project and it won’t be done," Kirk said adding, "It may never be done. We’re going to be improving it as we go.”

The CV Link is supposed to be for people walking, skating, or on bikes, e-bikes, and other slow-speed electric vehicles. It's another way to get out and enjoy the desert.

To make it safer, users also suggest better signage and public education campaigns. Other issues we’re hearing include the need for a lowered speed limit on Park View Drive and some better marking a traffic circle by the park at San Pablo and Magnesia Falls Drive.

Bicyclists tell us that if you keep going straight on that stretch of the CV Link, and don’t follow the signs to take a hard left. you end up in the middle of the road inside the traffic circle.

Also, San Pablo’s traffic lanes see many drivers crowding toward the bike lanes. Harnik says there will be adjustments made, but says this is a big improvement.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve done,” said Harnik.

“The city has done a fantastic job on San Pablo,” Kirk added.

People we talked to agree with the sentiments saying the CV Link is a real face-lift and from what they see, it’s terrific.

“But this is new. That bike lane is new. I had no idea,” said Keith Jeffery, Vancouver Island, BC.

“We had something similar in San Clemente that didn’t work," said Terri Virgil of Laguna Nigel. "We had to do even more, but that’s probably the best I’ve seen over what we had," she added.

"It's really well marked. It's got a clear barrier. It's really what we need on the really safe streets that don't have a side."

MIKE WALBRIDGE, PALM DESERT

The city hosts a street party this weekend celebrating its brand new San Pablo streetscape improvements which now connect the CV Link to El Paseo, and the latest CV Link completion.

“It’s really well marked," said Walbridge. "It’s got a clear barrier. It’s really what we need on the really safe streets that don’t have a side.”

“The cars and trucks that drive far too fast and far too distracted these days," Kirk said. "I’d certainly take my chances behind a barrier rather than in a bike lane that’s not protected from the road.

CV Link construction continues in La Quinta, Indio, and its Coachella sections. CVAG says we can expect more milestones in the coming months and next year more expansion progress in Palm Springs.  

The city’s free street party and grand opening celebration is Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p-m. complete with live music, food trucks, artists, other vendors, and a beer garden.  It’s along San Pablo at Civic Center Park.

Read more CV Link coverage:

CV Link Groundbreaking marks extension of major pathway into the eastern Coachella Valley

Riding Forward: An update on CV Link construction in Palm Desert. Hint, It’s almost complete

CVAG approves nearly $53 million for CV Link construction

Here’s what the future of CV Link looks like after new funding approved

CV Links gains ground as CTC releases nearly $30 million for construction

Jeff Stahl

You can watch Jeff every weekday morning on News Channel 3 in the Morning and News Channel 3 at Noon. Learn more about Jeff here.

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