Avenue of the States, California Drive, and Michigan Drive

City or County Responsible for Project: 

City of Palm Desert

Award Category: 

Efficient and Sustainable Road and Bridge Preservation, Maintenance and Construction and Reconstruction Projects

Narrative Description Of Your Entry: 

The Avenue of the States roundabout was designed in conjunction with a new senior, affordable housing development to improve an unusual and confusing three-legged intersection. Additional goals were to create pedestrian crossings, improve lighting, and reduce vehicle speed at the intersection of a residential neighborhood, public golf course, and commercial center in Palm Desert, California that sees 5,000 – 5,500 average daily trips. The City of Palm Desert strives to minimize impact to residents and businesses during construction of street improvements, but recognized the need to close the intersection during this project in the interest of community and worker safety. Therefore, a complete closure of the intersection was planned for eight weeks. A partial closure would have doubled the length of the project. Work was scheduled during the summer, when traffic is the lightest, to reduce the inconvenience to neighboring residents and businesses. The project was completed one week early due to close coordination with Southern California Edison for installation of new streetlights. The cost of the improvements was economical compared to other possible solutions and more cost-effective than a new traffic signal over the long term. Preservation of community vitality and public relations were paramount to the success of this project. Strategic communication with the community included press releases, traffic alerts, detour maps, and personal letters to residents and businesses immediately adjacent to the improvements. Additionally, the Palm Desert Country Club (PDCC) Association, representing up to 1,500 households in the adjacent neighborhood, provided construction updates from City staff via mailers, newsletters, and their website. Pedestrian access was maintained as long as possible, and was the first improvement to be completed because of the importance of this access from the residential neighborhood to the adjacent businesses. The City also worked with the PDCC Association to tie these infrastructure improvements into a new public parking lot and drought-tolerant landscaping on Association property. New irrigation and native, drought tolerant plantings were installed in the roundabout to continue the City’s efforts toward water conservation. The new landscaping and streetscape not only promote sustainability, but also revitalize the entrance to the Palm Desert Country Club community, an older neighborhood that was annexed by the City of Palm Desert from Riverside County. The roundabout is a sustainable intersection solution that is anticipated to reduce vehicle idling resulting in fewer emissions, improve automobile and pedestrian safety, lower traffic speeds, reduce delays, and improve traffic flow. This project exemplifies the commitments of the City of Palm Desert to its community which include safety, sustainability, and preservation of the existing community fabric before, during and after construction.

Submitted by: 

Heather Buck


Project Administrator


City of Palm Desert


73510 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260


760-346-0611 x479





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