Help on the way, methodically, for troubled city intersections

A vehicle sits damaged after hitting an apartment building near the intersection of East Via Escuela and North Indian Canyon Drive. (Reader submitted photo)

Cars into homes. Trucks into fire hydrants. Cars and trucks into … other cars and trucks. Neighbors near one intersection in north Palm Springs have had their fill of screeching tires and the sound of metal on metal outside their living room windows.

“Since we moved here in February, we have witnessed several accidents,” said one resident of the Indian Canyon Garden Apartments at North Indian Canyon Drive and East Via Escuela. “The most recent was Thursday when a truck hit the fire hydrant, ironically on the same day that the stucco was repaired to our building that was hit by a car driving into it at full speed due to a crash.”

“Luckily that driver did not die,” she said, adding that her neighbors have long wondered when that moment is coming at the intersection where north-south traffic often travels well above the 45 mph posted speed limit. Rumors of a planned four-way stop at the intersection have persisted for years.

Any delay in city engineers coming to the rescue should be expected. Each year, staff members hear from hundreds of people with similar concerns in neighborhoods spread out in the city’s 95 square miles. Each report needs to be logged, along with traffic data and police reports, as part of detailed work needed to help determine where help is most urgently needed.

“We have to evaluate each one, ensure the required warrants for each are met with engineering studies, then we can move towards securing funding,” said Francisco Jaime, an associate civil engineer with the city. “Each study takes staff time and financial resources that we have to properly manage.”

The particular intersection in question is not slated for a new signal — yet. Instead, engineers hope to first calm traffic there with enhanced traffic slowing measures one block to the north, at North Indian Canyon Drive and East Racquet Club Road. Funding for that work is part of a $2.8 million project currently under way that will see a total of 17 intersections receive the very latest in traffic safety equipment.

Exactly how to improve safety at North Indian Canyon Drive and East Via Escuela is part of an upcoming study, Jaime said. That study will be used as the evidence needed to secure funding for safety improvements at the intersection, including the possibility of new traffic lights.

Engineers aren’t planning on stopping there. Throughout Palm Springs, funding has been secured, and work is proceeding, at more than 40 intersections to install new or upgraded signals, turn lanes, message boards, curb work, and more. In total, $8.7 million will be spent on the work, with the goal of creating safer streets to navigate for both vehicles and pedestrians. The Indian Canyon Drive/East Via Escuela study is funded in part by $300,000 in grant monies secured for studying where and what to work on next.

Among the current projects:

“Each of the above intersections was in one way or another identified for safety issues and staff worked on getting them funded,” Jaime said. “The process takes a very long time with countless staff hours spent to obtain the above results.”

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BRIEFLY

Palm Springs police investigate the scene of a shooting Tuesday morning in the 700 block of West Racquet Club Road. (Photo by Palm Springs Police Department)

DEADLY SHOOTING: Palm Springs police continue to investigate an early-morning shooting in the Little Tuscany neighborhood that left one man dead and a suspect behind bars. According to a Police Department report, officers were summoned to the 700 block of West Racquet Club Road around 4:15 AM after a man called to report being involved in a shooting. When they arrived, they discovered a deceased male in the street, and the reporting party nearby. After speaking with the reporting party, a 42-year-old man from Sky Valley, they arrested him on suspicion of homicide. Police did not report the name of the deceased male, and the Riverside County Coroner’s Office has yet to file a report on the incident. “All parties in this incident are accounted for and there are no additional suspects known to be involved,” police said in a statement. “There is no additional threat to the community.” Detectives are asking anyone with information related to the incident call Detective Jimenez at 760-323-8136.  Anonymous information can be provided to Crime Stoppers at 760-341-7867.

MIRALON AWARDED: An 1,150-home “agrihood” development off North Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs took home multiple honors at the recently-completed Gold Nugget Awards, presented annually by the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC). Miralon, which was once slated to include a golf course, but will now feature 75 acres of olive groves, was named Masterplan Community of the Year, in addition to receiving seven other awards. Judges lauded the development as, “A compelling application of adaptive-reuse, sustainability, healthy living and superior design.” Miralon is developed by Freehold Communities, which is selling homes in three phases on the 309-acre property three miles south of Interstate 10.

BEARS RETURNING: The International Bear Convergence (IBC) announced earlier this month that it will return to Palm Springs next year after being sidelined a year due to COVID-19. Tickets for the event, planned for Feb. 24-28, 2022, are on sale via this link. Organizers said volunteers are also needed, and can register here. Thousands of bears, muscle bears, cubs, chasers, chubs, admirers and their fans have descended on the city in past years, enjoying pool parties, music, dancing, DJs, comedy shows, drag parties and more at Hotel ZOSO, 150 S. Indian Canyon Dr. Organizers said the 2022 event should break attendance records.


TODAY’S EVENTS

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, holds multiple events today, including Zumba, Dick Brodie’s Jam Session, a fitness class, and bariatric surgery information A complete schedule of today’s events, including how to register for both in-person and online attendance, can be found here.

APPEALS BOARD: The city’s Administrative Appeals Board meets today at 4 PM. An agenda can be found here. Among items on the agenda are two appeals of fines issued to businesses in the city — Hair of the Dog Saloon and Kaiser Grille — for alleged violation of COVID-19 emergency orders.

PLANNING COMMISSION: The city Planning Commission meets at 5:30 PM. Information on participating in the meeting, as well as an agenda, can be found here.

POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays this evening at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05PM. A complete schedule is available here.


COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? The following links should help:

City of Palm Springs calendar of events

Palm Springs Library calendar of events

Palm Springs Unified School District calendar

Mizell Center calendar of events

Desert Water Agency calendar

ONE-PS calendar of events

Police reports | Submit a police report

Code compliance reports | Report a code violation

Current road projects and closures

Currently active development projects

FIND Food Bank mobile market schedule

Palm Springs Disposal pick-up schedule

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