Four gated barriers that divide residents along Chuckwalla Road from cul-de-sacs in the El Mirador neighborhood, preventing them from walking, biking, or driving on the southern part of the streets have now been opened for pedestrian traffic with the goal of creating a more inclusive and welcoming community for everyone.
The barriers went up some 30 years ago where the four streets meet Chuckwalla Road. Homeowners in the neighborhood petitioned the City for the construction of the “Chuckwalla Gates,” which following approval formed barriers between single- family homes to the south and rental apartment buildings to the north.
“This historic action is about ending barriers and building community,” said Councilmember Geoff Kors, who spearheaded the opening of the gates in the district he represents with fellow Councilmember Grace Garner.
“After hearing from residents for over the past 18 months, I determined that maintaining no vehicular access while allowing residents to walk on public sidewalks and streets was the best way to move forward,” said Kors, who added the City Council is adamantly opposed to this type of exclusion today.
Following a lengthy process that included public input and discussion, on March 11 the City Council unanimously approved the removal of one panel of each fence to allow pedestrian access to the public sidewalks, with a cost of less than $5,000
“This was a fence across public streets, not a gate in a private development or parking lot,” according to Councilmember Garner, who noted the “Chuckwalla Gates” limited the ability of neighbors to meet and children to play; intentionally cutting off their access.
“Public streets belong to all residents,” said Garner. “Palm Springs prides itself on being one of the most welcoming and inclusive cities in the nation – and dividing residents simply does not represent Palm Springs values.”