Design work to begin on Pedestrian Pathways project linking Downtown Arts District to Union Plaza District
Project aims to produce improved pedestrian experience among key amenities
Design work will begin on the Pedestrian Pathways project which will improve the pedestrian experience in Downtown El Paso by cutting the length of time it takes to walk among downtown arts and entertainment venues.
City Council awarded the design contract valued at $568,992.50 to Quantum Engineering Consultants, Inc., of El Paso.
The project will stretch from Arts Festival Plaza in the Downtown Arts District to Durango Street in the Union Plaza District. The Arts District tallies 1.5 million visitors a year, while annual visits to Union Plaza total a million. The corridor will include shade structures, stamped and colored concrete pathways, landscaping, lighting, street furnishings, public art, and gathering places.
The project’s route along the north side of the Convention Center Campus will yield the greatest time savings for pedestrians. Presently, it takes up to 20 minutes to walk around the campus on Santa Fe, San Antonio, and Durango Streets. The same trip is estimated to take only five minutes by traversing the campus via the proposed pathway.
“As we invest in downtown amenities like parks, museums, libraries, and an artist and farmer’s market, it’s also critically important that we invest in the infrastructure which will support those amenities,” said Sean McGlynn, director of the city’s Museums and Cultural Affairs Department. “By providing high-quality pedestrian connectivity, we are giving El Pasoans the ability to more fully enjoy and patronize the public and private investments in downtown.”
Initial conceptual work on the project was facilitated by MCAD and funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town initiative in 2011. During that phase, MCAD, the city’s Economic Development Department, and Creative Kids – a non-profit educational community-based art agency located in Union Plaza – hosted charrettes and open work sessions with local artists and downtown stakeholders.
The final design of the projects and its eventual construction will be paid for by the Quality of Life Bonds approved by voters in 2012. Design and construction will be overseen by the City of El Paso’s Engineering and Construction Management Department.