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© 2018 by Paso del Norte

Health Foundation

Public Meeting Notes

Updated: Feb 15, 2018

We are pleased to announce the success of the two public meetings last week! We heard from a lot participants about their vision for a future trail, as well as what amenities it should include, and destinations it should connect to. The following are some of the key points from the meetings.


Vision

  • The Rio Grande:

    • “Embrace it and celebrate it”

    • Would like the trail to stick as closely to the river as possible

    • Touch on historical crossing points and modern day border crossings

  • Emphasize cultural landscapes of route

    • The levees and canals represent the cultural identity and history of the area (farming, the flow of the Rio Grande, etc.)

  • Highlight neighborhoods on both sides of the border to “re-personalize” them and bring out community stories

    • Support for businesses along both sides of route

    • Local artist opportunities to make it truly local

  • Tie to historical events/markers/periods

    • San Elizario area

    • Paso del Norte Crossing point (Oñate’s crossing point)

    • Whole valley’s history

    • Rio Bosque connection

    • Weave multiple themes together

  • Social/environmental justice of trail routes

    • Create safe routes to schools and have trails that can be used for day-to-day activities, not just recreation

Amenities & Trail Design Features

  • Plan for wide accessibility for multiple user groups, especially those with disabilities.

    • Signage could indicate difficulty levels and distance/walk/bike times

    • Mile markers to identify where you are…

    • ADA Compliance

    • Make sure to consider all modes of transportation as complementary (take a multi-modal approach to design)

  • Sustainability and environmental concerns

    • Look into the use of sustainable materials

    • Use recycle materials along trail – specifically for trail surface (there may be a way to use recycled tires)

    • Use local materials where possible, not just recycled materials

  • Surfacing materials are important to consider

    • Concrete is hard on runners – the Katy Trail in Dallas has a good paved surface

  • Wayside exhibits and interpretive signage.

    • Interpretative design features highlighting each neighborhood

    • Markers for historical areas/sites

    • Make interactive and use new technologies to appeal to multiple age groups.

    • Scavenger hunt, QR codes, learning opportunities and prizes)

    • Sponsorships from businesses

  • Need for shade: create shade “oases” along route.

  • Make pet friendly and provide access to water

  • Community gardens along route

Important Connections

  • Rio Bosque Wetland in Socorro is an important asset to connect to. The wetlands are a draw for bird watching, internal trails, and other outdoor amenities.

  • Possibility to connect to Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park in Mesilla, NM

  • Old Asarco Plan is the “keystone” to this project as it is a barrier as well as close to the original “Paso del Norte”

  • Highway 621/180/Montana are another possible connection/corridor to consider

  • Transit connections

  • Tigua Indian land/areas are important (they own sites along the river)

  • EPCO Historic District

  • Historical Missions and Mission Trail

  • Tie to Transit Orientated Design/Development (TOD) areas

Route Challenges

  • How do we plan to work with Railroad, the Water District and other entities that own right-of-way along trail route? There are areas along existing railroad tracks that are hard/impossible to cross. Will the various railroad companies allow the use of their right-of-way? Are there liability concerns near tracks or ditches?

    • Railroad is a major obstacle in Downtown – can be 30-minute wait for train switching

    • Need over/underpass connections

  • There may be challenges as well as opportunities in following ditch/irrigation channels due to service roads.

  • Border fence creates “militarized” area along downtown – how do we deal with that?

    • Coordinate with IBWC regarding access to and near the river.

  • It’s really hard to bike on the west side due to traffic/connection issues

    • EP Bike Club, Velo El Paso are aware of routes through Downtown/UTEP

  • Upper Valley to Downtown Gap:

    • Paisano Bike Corridor – a clear connection opportunity that TxDOT has not supported

    • There may be a way to use EP Electric Company easements

  • Chamizal Area:

    • Problems and opportunities in this area to creating connections and safe routes to school

  • There are issues with the existing County Club Trail that “just ends”

  • El Paso Marathon Routes

    • Could be a national draw

    • It’s hard to find places to run in El Paso

    • Ft Bliss used to allow access for the route, but no longer

    • I-10 is a major impediment to finding a route.

    • Fabens and Mesilla are the closest opportunities for riverside bike and running routes.

  • General safety concerns of biking in El Paso

  • Maintenance along entire route may be difficult to coordinate

  • Mosquitos are a concern along the river and similar rural areas

Questions

  • How will this project be phased and built?

  • Questions about how and when environmental assessments/issues will be addressed in this project.

  • Who will operate and manage trail in the future?

  • How will maintenance be handled?


Notes from each meeting can also be viewed here (Title: PDN Trail Public Meeting Notes August)


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