The El Paso City Council will take action on an item this week that would adopt the Downtown Pedestrian Wayfinding Plan, developed in coordination with the Downtown Management District (DMD). This is the first part of the larger City Wayfinding Program adopted into the City Charter last year.
The project is designed to help pedestrians and/or vehicular traffic orient themselves within the city and find their way to and from landmarks. Downtown is the first part of the city that will receive wayfinding components.
Elements/structures included in the downtown version include various types of signs and kiosks. Signs will help direct visitors to nearby points of interest and may be placed on existing and future lampposts as well as decorative poles and posts.
Signs may vary in size, the larger of which may include maps of downtown. Some signs and posts may include “pageantry,” illustrated using the papel picado motif introduced to downtown by the DMD.
The larger pedestrian kiosks will include signs on four sides which may highlights coming events or include a downtown map. Asymmetrical shades will protect pedestrians from the elements while they are using the kiosks. A smaller kiosk will contain no shade structure.
According to the plan, the project may be divided into three or four phases. The Original Pathway includes El Paso Street from Main Street to Missouri Avenue, including the pedestrian-only right of way between the Main Library and the Museum of History. Also included is the future pathway that will hug the northern side of the Convention Center.
Phase I also includes the streets surrounding San Jacinto Plaza, the Plaza Hotel block, and the Plaza Theater/Museum of Art area, and San Antonio Avenue from El Paso Street to the County Courthouse.
Phase II includes streets around the Convention Center and Union Plaza areas, the future baseball stadium area, and blocks to the north, east, and south of San Jacinto Plaza. Phase III will include Mills Avenue east of Mesa Street, Texas Avenue east of Oregon Street, and El Paso Street south of San Antonio Avenue.
No timeline has been given for any of the proposed wayfinding improvements. The City approved a resolution in February that allows the DMD to manage the program, including overseeing fabrication, installation, and maintenance of the signage and kiosks. The City will reimburse the DMD for the costs of constructing the wayfinding elements up to $2 million and then pay the DMD a set yearly fee for each sign and kiosk in place.
The plan was designed by fd2s, Inc., of Austin (www.fd2s.com) and vetted by the DMD for the City of El Paso.