Coachella Fest billboards stir discussion among city leaders

City of Indio worried about traffic hazards near proposed lot

Coachella Fest billboards stir discussion among city leaders

COACHELLA, Calif. -- - You may have seen the billboards for "Coachella Event Parking" heading east on the I-10 near Washington, or heading west near Dillon. Both are touting off-site parking for the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at a lot on Avenue 48 and Van Buren in Coachella.

At the lot, crews are already working to prepare the land for business.

"It's a private property owner that is in the process of putting in an application at the city to establish a park and ride location to facilitate various events that occur in the Coachella Valley, including the tennis events and Coachella Music Festivals and arts," said Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia.

Operator Joe's Auto Parks out of Los Angeles may have the advertisements, but they don't yet have permits to operate a park-and-ride.

Representatives Joe's met with leaders from Coachella, Indio and the promoter Goldenvoice, to discuss problems with the proposed plan. For example, the ads tell concert goers to get off on Monroe and Jefferson, but Indio Mayor Michael Wilson says it would mess with traffic patterns in place.

"It would cause a cross in our parking plan, our egress and ingress, and absolutely mess up our whole traffic flow," said Wilson. "It would not be beneficial for what we are trying to do, in keeping the residents happy with less traffic and traffic flow."

Wilson says the company agreed to redirect people to Dillon and Golf Center Parkway, and apologized for "jumping the gun".

A parking pass is $225, more than half the price of a general admission ticket to the festival, and comes with air-conditioned shuttle service to and from the venue. It's a distance of about five miles.

To avoid running into Goldenvoice's shuttle service, the park-and-ride route will drop festival goers off a mile and a half away.

Wilson is also worried about potential dangers.

"It's a very dark area without street lights and the inability to see really well at night," Wilson says, "Not assuring what kind of lighting and standard they have, it could be dangerous to the effect of parking patrons getting tired of waiting and taking off walking, and thus cause pedestrian-vehicle interactions that would be deadly."

Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia says if Indio has problems with the plan, they will be dealt with before a permit gets issued.

"Without a doubt, we certainly look forward to working with the entities and the private investor who is putting this project forward," Garcia said.

On January 13th, a group of Americorps volunteers helped clear this same lot as part of a community clean up. The young adults picked weeds, shoveled, back-hoed, and trashed junk left scattered all over. We contacted the organizer, Desert Hot Springs Mayor Adam Sanchez, to see if he knew anything about the plans to use this exact location for a parking lot. Sanchez says the location was based on other factors, and he was not aware of the proposed park-and-ride. 

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