Thursday, August 22, 2013

Closer Look: Convention Center North Pedestrian Pathway

Construction could begin as soon as September on a new pedestrian pathway that will connect the city’s arts and museum district to Union Plaza. Dubbed the Convention Center North Pedestrian Pathway, the corridor will take the place of a parking lot and maintenance paths on the northern side of the Convention Center. The project also includes enhancements to Durango Street from San Antonio Avenue to the baseball stadium site and portions of Main Drive and Sheldon Court near Arts Festival Plaza.

The pedestrian corridor will have shade structures, stamped and colored concrete pathways, landscaping, lighting, and street furnishings. Construction will take place in three phases, with areas nearest the future ballpark seeing work first.
Pedestrian pathway illustrative and phasing plan. (City of El Paso)

Phase 1 will consist of enhancements to three areas, the first being a 22,000 square foot section of Durango Street, mainly along the bridge that takes vehicles and pedestrians over railroad tracks to the west of the Convention Center. According to the site plan, Durango Street may go from its current four lanes to a two lane street with half of the bridge structure dedicated to pedestrian traffic.

The second Phase 1 project includes a 17,550 square foot area in between the Convention Center and the stadium site, closest to Santa Fe Street. This section will connect to the platform bridge that will be built over the depressed railroad tracks as part of the ballpark project.

The third Phase 1 project consists of enhancements to a 23,150 square foot section of Main Drive, including its intersection with Santa Fe Street. Construction on the first phase should begin in September and last through April 2014, coinciding with completion of the baseball stadium.
The area of the future pathway is currently used for staff parking and maintenance access.

Only one project makes up the second phase of construction, labeled on the plan as Phase 1b. This project will complete the western section of the main pedestrian pathway. The 57,450 square foot project should begin in April 2014 and last through October of that year.

The final project in the plan is Phase 2, enhancements to Arts Festival Plaza and the Sheldon Court intersection with Santa Fe Street. Construction should begin on the 39,700 square foot project in October 2014 with completion set for February 2015.

City Council voted last week to award the $568,992 contract to Quantum Engineering Consultants of El Paso. The pathway project will be paid for using 2012 Quality of Life bonds approved by voters last year.