*UPDATE* the City has told us the importance of exercise to help combat the COVID-19 Pandemic - yet today, when offered the chance to create a safe, traffic-free place where people could engage in healthy active recreation, they chose NOT to prioritize our health and wellness by voting no on 23.1.
Earlier this spring, when the City shut down much of the community in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the City cited outdoor recreation as an essential activity, necessary to promoting our physical and mental health. Shortly thereafter, however, due to the popularity of getting out to walk, bike or play, the City decided our parks and trails were too crowded, and shut them down. While the City has since reopened the trails, the City has said that budget and safety concerns have made it all but impossible to re-open parks and other recreational facilities.
Physical activity is important, and so are safe , comfortable places where we can exercise. Open Streets are a simple, cost effective method of creating such safe, welcoming, and perhaps most importantly, traffic free spaces for people to get out and exercise, and on Tuesday, June 9th, the El Paso City Council will consider extending the Scenic Sundays program to an everyday Scenic Summer.
All the City needs to do is close the gates to traffic, and in so doing, open Scenic Drive exclusively to people to walk, to bike, and even to play. Before the Pandemic, hundreds of people would enjoy Scenic Drive as an open street every Sunday, so in response to the clear demand for places to safely social distance while exercising, we believe the City of El Paso should open streets all across the City for people and businesses to engage in safe, essential and healthy outdoor activity, and the first step in this process begins with opening Scenic Drive to pedestrians and cyclists to create a Scenic Summer.
We ask that you contact our Mayor and City Representatives right away, and encourage all your friends, family and associates to do the same, then sign up to speak on ITEM 23.1 next Tuesday (instructions below)
Dear Mayor/Representative ____________,
Thank you for recognizing outdoor activity and exercise as essential for our physical and mental health, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to thank you for reopening our urban and natural open space trails for physical activity. But even with the trails re-opened, we still need more places where we can safely recreate and travel across our City, and Scenic Summer (item 23.1) is a unique opportunity for the City of El Paso to grow our very successful Scenic Sundays program and open Scenic Drive exclusively to pedestrians and cyclists. I am asking you to support Scenic Summer so that we may enjoy yet another needed place where we can social distance and exercise for our physical health and mental well being.
Dozens of Cities across the United States and the world have closed streets down to vehicles during this pandemic to allow extra space for safe, social distancing, by providing a traffic free opportunity for active recreation and play. Through the simple act of voting for Scenic Summer, and closing the gates to traffic, you can open Scenic Drive to all El Pasoans.
It is out of our collective concern for people's health, well being and safety that we need to identify and open more traffic free places for people of all ages and abilities to be able to get out and exercise. Despite a reduction in traffic volumes during the pandemic , we have seen an increase in traffic fatalities over this time last year! For so many, our streets don't feel safe, and sidewalks are too narrow, or at times simply not available or even usable. We need and deserve safe and comfortable places to walk, bike, play, and even travel for essential activities, while safely social distancing, and Scenic Summer gives us another needed place where we can do just that.
By opening Scenic Drive to people, we can:
- create another safe space for people to get out and exercise while safely, social distancing
- add a safe route for people who engage in active transportation to get to/from essential jobs and destinations
- prioritize people of all ages and abilities, so they can walk, bike or play
Please vote yes on Item 23.1, Scenic Summer, and thank you for your consideration,
City of El Paso Contact List
Title Name Email Phone
Mayor Dee Margo firstname.lastname@example.org (915) 212-0021 Was against 23.1
District 1 Representative Peter Svarzbein email@example.com (915) 212-0001 Sponsored the item and voted YES
District 2 Representative Alexsandra Annello firstname.lastname@example.org (915) 212-0002 Sponsored the item and voted YES
District 3 Representative Cassandra Hernandez email@example.com (915) 212-0003 Voted YES on 23.1
District 4 Representative Dr. Sam Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org (915) 212-0004 Voted NO on 23.1
District 5 Representative Isabel Salcido email@example.com (915) 212-0005 Voted NO on 23.1
District 6 Representative Claudia Lizette Rodriguez firstname.lastname@example.org (915) 212-0006 Voted NO on 23.1
District 7 Representative Henry Rivera email@example.com (915) 212-0007 Voted NO on 23.1
District 8 Representative Cissy Lizarraga firstname.lastname@example.org (915) 212-0008 Voted NO on 23.1
City Manager Tommy Gonzalez (915) 212-0023
Scenic Summer will be considered by the El Paso City Council on June 9, and we strongly encourage to contact the Mayor and Representatives now, as well as to sign up to speak on Item 23.1 during next Tuesday's meeting. You will need to sign up before the meeting starts at 9:00am, using the following link (note: the form is only available from 12:00am Friday until 9:00am Tuesday) http://legacy.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/signup_form_agenda.asp
UPDATE: We have received word that this item will be moved to the front of the agenda
If you post this information on social media, please be sure to use the hashtags: #OpenStreets #ScenicSummer #StreetsForPeople #ActiveRecreation #ActiveTransportation
ADDITIONAL RESOURCESFor more information on Open Streets and how our City can create more safe, open streets for people and businesses during this pandemic, please visit: https://nacto.org/streets-for-pandemic-response-recovery/
Below you will find graphics you can use and share, and a printable information sheet.
Printable Scenic Summer Information Sheet