While residents, public officials, and potential students continue to wait for a College of the Desert campus to break ground in the city, another campus of similar significance is moving right along.
Driving the news: DAP Health is in the midst of a massive expansion, currently building a second Vista Sunrise affordable housing complex on a portion of its 13-acre campus at Sunrise Way and Vista Chino. Next up will be 19,257 square feet of medical office space that will expand upon the 21,000-square-foot former Riverside County health and social services building it currently occupies.
The latest: Last week, the Palm Springs Planning Commission voiced overwhelming support for the project as a whole, approving changes to the final designs for the medical office space that the City Council had requested.
- Among those changes will be the addition of a drive-thru pharmacy, a shift to the location of the main entrance, and a change that will see a proposed conference center reconceived as a multi-purpose room for community use.
- “It will be one of the nicest recent buildings in Palm Springs,” remarked Commissioner Michael Hirschbein.
Yes, but: The change that drew the most discussion during a Nov. 9 meeting was a plan to rework the median along Sunrise Way between the campus on the west and a shopping center to the east to prevent jaywalking, a frequent problem on that stretch of road.
- Under the plan presented by city staff and representatives of DAP Health, a left-turn lane from Sunrise into the DAP Health campus will be eliminated. The landscaping in what would then be a lengthier median will include metal artwork that acts as a barrier to pedestrians.
- Commissioners agreed that the designs wouldn’t go far enough to deter people from crossing where they shouldn’t. They asked city engineering staff to work with DAP’s architect to provide additional barriers where the median thins out adjacent to the left turn lanes that lead to Vista Chino.
What they’re saying: “I think it’s unfortunate we’re letting the automotive part of this take precedent over the pedestrian part of this,” Hirschbein said when staff informed the Commission that data didn’t support adding a crosswalk where the median will be built. “…We can’t let traffic engineers define how our city is designed.”
Our take: DAP Health does excellent work in the community, and we’re excited for the “west campus expansion” to open (see renderings here), even if the jaywalking issue isn’t resolved. Now, if only the builders of a particular “West Valley Campus” elsewhere in the city could get us equally enthused.