|A rural road (highlighted in green) would lead to the new entrance.|
Currently, eastbound park visitors must cross one lane of oncoming highway traffic on Transmountain Road, vehicles which come at a high rate of speed. Construction is currently underway which will widen Transmountain to two lanes in each direction, making the highway crossing even more dangerous.
In a meeting earlier this month, the Public Service Board reviewed several options for how to handle the state park's entrance and its connection to Loop 375. Options included multiple interchange designs at the current entrance, but board members decided that these choices would require too much space and be too costly. Instead, they opted for creating a "rural" road off of Paseo del Norte which will lead to a new wilderness center and entrance. Visitors to the park will use the Paseo del Norte at Transmountain interchange west of the current entrance. City Council approved this recommendation to the Texas Department of Transportation, which will ultimately decide the option to utilize.
In a related agenda item, City Council voted to approve giving the State Park 600 acres of City-owned land that is currently mapped as open-space in the Northwest Master Plan. The acreage abuts the current Franklin Mountains State Park to the east and would supplement what is currently the largest park within city limits in the entire country. Wording in the deed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department states the the land must be used as open space and cannot be sold for other purposes. In the event the State decides to sell the land, it would immediately be transferred back to the City.
City Council Park Entrance Agenda Item (PDF): http://www.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/agenda/07-17-12/07171210A-2.pdf
City Council State Park Acreage Agenda Item (PDF): http://www.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/agenda/07-17-12/07171210A-1.pdf
Northwest Plan Doubles Open Space, Adds 'Villages'