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City News

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Post Date:05/15/2014 3:19 PM



COACHELLA, May 14, 2014 — The solar powered carport and electric vehicle charging stations are just two components of a multifaceted sustainability program underway in the City of Coachella.

Armed with just over $5 million in grant funding from the South Coast Air Quality Management, the city plans to build a fueling station for vehicles that use compressed natural gas (CNG), purchase four vehicles that use electricity and compressed natural gas; and synchronize traffic lights at 11 intersections along Harrison and Grapefruit to maximize traffic flow and minimize air pollution.

“All of these projects will be completed during the next three years,” said Mitch Nieman, Coachella’s assistant to the city manager.

The CNG fueling station will be built at the Corporate Yard, the city’s public works and water utility facility, at a cost of $1 million, late this year, after the solar powered carport and electric vehicle charging station are completed. The city also plans to purchase two CNG and two electric vehicles at a cost of $134,000.

Additionally, Coachella has begun a $3 million traffic signal synchronization project along Harrison and Grapefruit that will take about two years to complete.

“The project involves installation of a fiber optic backbone along Harrison and Grapefruit as well as adjacent fiber nodes placed along key side streets,” Nieman said, adding, “There are also many hardware and software upgrades that will be needed.”

The city is also seeking an additional $2.2 million in federal grant funding from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which, if approved, would be used to synchronize five new traffic signals, install two more electric vehicle charging stations and build 8.2 miles of bike lanes.

“We hope to hear about the status of our grant application this summer,” Nieman said.

These projects are in addition to several other sustainability initiatives the city has either launched or completed during the past two years. These include:

— Creating a non-motorized transportation plan for the city in partnership with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG): the plan includes bike lanes, bike paths and trails. To view the plan, visit

Developing a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) plan in partnership with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG): The plan involves the use of NEVs, which are about the size of a golf cart and can carry up to six people. NEVs are permitted to share a general traffic lane with cars on roads with posted speed limits up to and including 35 mph. Like golf carts, they are maneuverable, lightweight, and produce zero emissions. More information about the NEV plan is available at

Drafting a green waste ordinance: The ordinance, which provides new guidelines regarding the disposal and recycling of green waste, will be considered by the Coachella City Council in the fall. A copy of the proposed ordinance is available at

— Installing of recycled beverage containers at all city parks: These have been installed during the past two years with CalRecycle grants.

Installing recycled tire mulch at city soccer parks: The synthetic mulch, which is designed to improve aeration and water conservation, will be completed by April 2015.

Launching a citywide weatherization project for low-income families in partnership with the Riverside County Community Action Partnership: This program, which has been underway for a few years, includes home inspections and installation of weather stripping, insulation and other energy- and water-saving devices at no cost to the resident. 

— Launching a turf replacement program: The program, administered through the city’s water department, enables local residents to receive compensation for replacing their lawns with climate appropriate landscaping. The city also provides free weather sensitive irrigation controllers through this program. More information about this program is available at

Working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Tribal governments and the La Entrada housing development to create a Class I recreational trail along the Coachella Canal: Planning efforts and conceptual design is underway.

More information is available at

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