Wednesday, May 28, 2014

City Narrows Palisades Canyon Trailhead Design

Public input has helped City officials to narrow down the design for the Palisades Canyon Park trailhead to two final options. The City of El Paso’s Planning Division has released the data report for the second charrette held on the project, which took place in February.
One of the top two trailhead designs for Palisades Canyon, based on the last charrette. (City of El Paso)

Those in attendance favored options four and five during the meeting, the designs that contain the smallest footprint with minimal intrusion into the existing park. Both options also include a “slip lane” which can be used as a separated drop-off lane to the trailhead.

The two designs include the smallest number of parking spaces, which means a full parking lot may force some to use parking at the El Paso Tennis Club about one mile to the south using trails that run through Arroyo Park. Some attendees suggested adding on-street parking along Robinson Avenue, but officials indicated this will not work with planned hike and bike paths that will be added to the street.
Option 5 includes a "formalized shaded stepped seating area." (City of El Paso)

Other amenities that are part of the designs include: a crosswalk connecting the trailhead to one across the street to the west, part of Arroyo Park; a shaded seating area and gathering space that includes benches and paths; a bike rack; and mesquite trees and native plantings.

Unlike other designs, options four and five do not include a service gate restricting vehicular access. However, officials see this feature as an important addition and will make it part of the plan due to participant concerns. Attendees would also like to see a culvert running under Robinson Avenue for use by wildlife.

A public art installation will also be part of the project. Charrette participants were also asked to rate different public art options and trended towards an installation that serves a functional purpose. Artistic benches, for example, were the top choices. Attendees also favored natural colors and materials for the installation.

City officials will now use the results to develop the final design for the trailhead which will then be shared with the public. No timeline has been determined for the next step. The project is funded by 2012 Quality of Life bonds approved by voters for both the trailhead and public art portions.

Previously: City Working on Palisades Canyon Trailhead Design

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