Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Coachella Valley is in a time of unprecedented growth, both commercially and residentially. The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce is proud to see that progress. Well-planned economic progress is key for the long-term sustainability of any community. A big part of that progress is dependent on infrastructure keeping pace with residential growth and commercial traffic. Thanks to the individual efforts of Riverside County and local cities, as well as the collective efforts of organizations like the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, badly needed transportation upgrades have been completed over the last few years. From new freeway interchanges to repaved roads, the area is far better positioned to handle an ever-growing influx of tourism, residential, and commercial activity than it was when the decade began.
As a chamber president I see the pains that can go along with adjacent construction. I have attended many planning meetings with city officials, along with one-on-one meetings with local business owners, trying to balance the long-term need of infrastructure improvement with the short-term impact these projects have on local business and residents. In many cases, “ideal” solutions are few. The chamber has always taken a position of encouraging major projects be undertaken during the slower months of summer. For the most part, we have found a listening ear for those requests among our elected and municipal leaders. That said, the realities of project logistics do not always lend themselves to a perfect scenario.
Large projects such as the Highway 111 Street Improvement Project currently underway in Indio, simply cannot be executed only in the summer or “off hours”. The timing of projects often have many variables, from grant money stipulations, to contract labor cost, to coordination with other concurrent infrastructure projects like water and power supply. These projects do not always happen with ideal timing, but we have found in most cases that less than ideal timing is not due to indifference on the part of the organizing agency. In almost every project plan, mitigating the inconvenience to businesses and residents is one of the first things discussed.
Your chamber remains committed to engaging local government at every level to ensure the infrastructure needs of the community are met with as little impact as possible to commerce. That includes ensuring projects are accompanied by concerted efforts to inform the public and create awareness in the local community. News releases, posting on city information sites, road signs notifying residents of construction that appear well ahead of projects, and signs stating “Businesses Are Open During Construction” are all part of that process. Though not a cure for every challenge our local businesses and residents will face during construction, these efforts should be recognized and applauded.
Planned maintenance and construction is rarely without challenges, and no one would argue a degree of inconvenience accompanies it. But few would disagree there is a word in the dictionary more annoying than “traffic”, that word is “pothole”. We thank all our local agencies for their efforts.
Joshua R. Bonner, IOM
President and CEO