With only about a month to go before the new, $300 million Acrisure Arena opens for concerts, hockey, and other events off Interstate 10 near Palm Desert, concerns about traffic are on the minds of many Valley residents.
"We have an excellent plan in place to make sure that you can get into and out of the arena without a problem," the Vice President of Parking and Mobility Joe Leung said.
That plan includes four driveways all of Varner Road, which runs parallel to the freeway from Cook to Washington Street. The westernmost driveway will be dedicated to shuttles and rideshares, leading to a drop-off and pick-up spot separate from the parking lot. The other three driveways would lead to the general parking area east of the arena, where several traffic control officers will be positioned.
The arena expects about two-thirds of traffic will come via the Cook Street Interchange, which is were the CHP is asking Caltrans and the county for an additional left turn lane from the eastbound-10 to Cook, and two additional right turn lanes northbound from Cook.
Right now, it's unclear when those recommendations will get approved.
There will also be temporary lane re-assignments to create turning lanes off Varner, and temporary signal timing changes at the traffic lights adjacent to the arena.
During events, the arena will have vehicles with cameras installed going up and down each aisle, checking every license plate to see if they paid for parking. The goal is to get cars in and out of here as quickly as possible.
"They won't be stopped by anybody. They'll actually just be able to pull in, park, and then head inside to start enjoying their event," Leung said.
Anyone purchasing event tickets online will also be able to pay for parking ahead of time by clicking on a parking tab at checkout, and typing in their license plate information. Anyone can still pay for parking at a kiosk when they arrive.
"They never need to que up on the street, which will significantly minimize the impact on the surrounding community of having cars kind of waiting and waiting to get into the arena footprint when you compare it to traditional event parking," Leung said.
The arena anticipates the 3,000 parking spots will be more than enough for about 80% of all events, but there is an arrangement with nearby Xavier College Prep to park more than a thousand cars if needed, with shuttles running to and from the school on a private back road.
"Are you concerned at all that traffic is going to be an issue?" Daut asked Leung. Leung replied: "I'm always concerned about it. I'm not losing sleep about it though because of what we put in place, what our plans are, and we think we're going to be able to get people in and out of the arena pretty safely and efficiently."
The arena's first event will be comedians Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, December 14th.