Communities across the country have been developing Class I off-street paved bike paths for many years. Trails in Minneapolis, Portland, and Palo Alto are used year around. Los Angeles and Orange County have hundreds of miles of multiuse paths along rivers and beaches.
In 2006, land developers in the Coachella Valley recognized an increase in value when properties were in close proximity to paved paths. LeGrand Velez was recruited to establish the nonprofit Coachella Valley Community Trails Alliance with a mission of promoting an off-street trail from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea Car Free. CVCTA encouraged all Coachella Valley cities to address bicycle issues in the Circulation Element of their General Plan and strongly promoted the idea of a paved path along the Whitewater River, locally known as a flood control “wash”, that runs through the Coachella Valley.
In 2010, the entire Coachella Valley non-motorized transportation plan was completed. Because of the many golf courses in the valley, local cities allowed golf carts to operate on sidewalks and certain low-volume streets. A year later, civic leaders realized that a multiuse trail connecting all the communities would provide a safer way to travel. In addition, the use of non-polluting electric vehicles, bicycles, and walking would create a cleaner environment.
We do not see the trail as a conflict between low-speed electric vehicles and bicycles. In fact, it will increase the value of the trail by providing more people the opportunity to get out and enjoy areas that they would never see in a car. Plus the improved air quality will help all citizens. All users will recognize that it is a multi-use trail and the concept of sharing the trail and common courtesy will prevail.
Having realized the main mission of CVCTA has been accomplished, the decision was made to ‘morph’ CVCTA into Friends of CV Link. As the trail is developed, we will promote and encourage visitors and local citizens to use the trail and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer. We will develop volunteer groups to assist where needed. In addition, “Friends” will develop a donation element to provide individuals and companies an opportunity to contribute to this valuable asset.
We hope you will enjoy CV Link as much as we will when it is completed.
Friends of CV Link Board meetings are normally held the first Monday or Thursday of every month (excluding Summer) at 6:30PM at the Palm Desert Public Library 73300 Fred Waring Dr. Palm Desert, CA. The public is welcome to any of our meetings. Please inquire with us as meeting dates/times may change. Thank you.
Gary Lueders, President
Gary lives an active lifestyle and began riding bicycles in the early ‘70’s for sport, pleasure, and errands. He has ridden in Europe and many cities in the U.S. and quickly realized that off-street bike trails are much safer than riding with cars.
His advocacy work began when serving as president of the local Desert Bicycle Club by encouraging Coachella Valley cities to improve cycling by installing bike lanes and better signage.
He served as a board member on the Coachella Valley Community Trails Alliance since 2007 and has been instrumental in the changeover to the nonprofit Friends of CV Link. He is also a member of CVAG’s Citizens Advisory Group for CV Link; serves on the CVAG Trails Management Sub-Committee; and is a board member on the Desert Trails Coalition.
Gary was a USAF pilot in Vietnam, is a retired American Airlines Captain, lives in Rancho Mirage with his wife Shirley, and has 2 children and 5 grandkids.
Jim Rothblatt, Secretary
Jim an avid bicyclist, had his first bike ride on a neighbor’s new bike in 1950 when he was seven years old. He loved the freedom it gave him and then his parents bought him a three speed Hercules English road bike. He rode it everywhere in the south Los Angeles area until he got his driver’s permit at 15 ½. 10 ½ years later, after a stint in the Army in Vietnam and as a student at Cal State Long Beach, his wife bought him a new Raleigh 10 speed road bike. He loved the freedom it gave him. He commuted to work and school on his bike and in 1975 upgraded to a beautiful Motebecane 10 speed road bike and continued his commuting and recreational riding. Upon retiring in 2006 he upgraded again to his current Trek 1600 and rides recreationally whenever he can. He hosts a cycling blog: http://desertroadkill.blogspot.com/ and advocates for safe cycling in the Coachella Valley. He is consistently amazed at how hard a two or three hour drive in a car can be when compared to the joy he experiences on a two or three hour bike ride in our beautiful desert.
Ed Schiller, Board Member-At-Large
In the role of Business Development, Schiller focuses on expanding our professional golf management portfolio by leveraging our expertise and resources. In 1992, Schiller joined Western Golf Properties in the role of Financial Controller at Pelican Hill Golf Club. During Schiller’s tenure, he leant his financial and industry expertise to opening such facilities as Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine, California, Ocean Trails Golf Club (now Trump National) in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, The Meadows Del Mar (now The Grand Del Mar Golf Club) in Del Mar, California and TPC Snoqualmie Ridge Golf Club in Snoqualmie, Washington. After successfully overseeing the financial operations and the on-boarding of multiple Western Golf Properties managed facilities, Schiller was promoted to Vice President of New Golf Development and became responsible for all accounting, financial reporting and feasibility studies/analysis for new golf development.
Mary Settle, Vice President
Mary has been coming to the desert for about 20 years, and has been waiting desperately for an off road, paved trail to go from one end of the valley to the other. She has lived in the midwest, south, and now the west and seen the advantages of cities that provide resources encouraging active, healthy lifestyles. A “hiker with a biking problem”, Mary is a hike leader and on the Executive Council of the Coachella Valley Hiking Club, and a member of Friends of the Desert Mountains. Living part time in Park City, Utah, Mary also volunteers for the Wasatch Mountain Hiking Club and other non-profit organizations.
Mary’s professional career included management consulting, training and development, and human resource management. She recently retired as the Vice President of Human Resources for a medical device company. Mary can be reached at email@example.com
Ernie Smith, Treasurer
Ernie spent the bulk of his life in the Pacific Northwest, having moved to the Coachella Valley in 2010 to retire. His professional life was spent mostly as Controller of University Volkswagen Audi in Seattle, having retired after 25 years. Having always been impressed with and a frequent user of the Burke-Gilman Trail in King County, he was instantly excited about the prospects of a 50 mile car-free trail between Desert Hot Springs and the Salton Sea. He has only returned to biking since retiring. In addition, finding a place to ride where he did not have to always be competing with cars made biking irresistible. He has since become much more comfortable co-existing with cars and biking on the highways, but feels the CV/Link in a worthy project to support. He feels the future of tourism in the Coachella Valley will transition from a golf focus toward more environmental, space, and water friendly activities like biking, walking, hiking, and running; plus all the activities enabled by the revival of the Salton Sea.
Letitia Collins, Board Member
Letitia, moved to the Coachella Valley in 1979 from New York, immediately fell in love with the area and established roots here. Her very first job was at the Palm Springs Public Library where she worked as an audio-visual clerk. Letitia’s career path led her to retail and commercial property management and she left the valley in 2001 to pursue opportunities in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. She is the proud mother of a lovely daughter and after retiring in 2011, because of a spinal cord injury, she now resides in Cathedral City. Letitia created a website to raise awareness, provide support and information to those who have also been diagnosed with Transverse Myelities as she was in 2010. Her road to recovery is documented at www.TransverseMyelitisRecovery.com. Letitia serves as a board member for Desert Ability Center and organizes local rides for para-cyclists with The Cycle Crew, whose goal it is to provide opportunities for people living with injuries/disabilities to get out into the community, be active and live happy and productive lives. Letitia is also a serious photo enthusiast and her photography can be viewed at www.focusedonimages.com.
Letitia is also on the advisory board of Desert Ability Center. www.desertabilitycenter.org
Tom Kohn, Board Member
Tom celebrates 55 years of bicycle riding in 2016, and he looks forward to the opportunity to bike year-round in the Coachella Valley. He has been a full-time resident of Palm Springs since 2015, and he enjoys the close Goat Trails for mountain biking and the gentle climbs of Whitewater Reserve and Box Canyon Road for riding the road with his fixies. Retired since 2014, he had commuted daily on the dedicated bikeway system in Dayton Ohio, where he was a technical writer 24 years for Eastman Kodak before it dissolved in bankruptcy and for his own corporation, Documentorium. He writes about his rides and love of cycling in the blog “On the Bicycle Ride.”
On the Bicycle Ride
Tom was a member for nearly ten years of the volunteer organization for Five Rivers Metroparks (FRMP), which had a year-round program of events that encouraged cycling in the Miami Valley of Ohio. With Metroparks, he developed flyers and other collateral material, joined maintenance crews for mountain bike trails, worked at the annual Bike To Work pancake breakfast, surveyed bikeway users in the 2009 and 2013 trail use assessments, and managed the registration of participants in Outdoor Fest. Tom was a member of Miami Valley Mountain Bike Association, which is a Dayton chapter of IMBA. Tom participated in discussions in the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), which developed 10-, 20-, and 40-year plans for auto and alternative transportation. The dedicated work over 28 years of FRMP and MVRPC, along with the Miami River Conservancy and Rails To Trails Conservancy, resulted in 350 miles of interconnected, dedicated bikeways through 36 communities surrounding Dayton Ohio.
Contact Tom at: firstname.lastname@example.org