WASHINGTON (November 14, 2016) –  A group of renowned land use and urban planning experts has been convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to make recommendations to the City of El Paso on developing resilient land use strategies for the proposed regional Active Transportation System (ATS). The panel, which includes experts representing all aspects of urban design and urban development, is being sponsored by the City of El Paso’s Office of Resilience & Sustainability. Posted on November 14, 2016 by Robert Krueger

Photo courtesy of elpasotexasgov
Photo courtesy of elpasotexas.gov

The ATS, an initiative from the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), looks to connect existing paths around El Paso County and the region. Through the proposal, the MPO aims to promote healthy living and carless transportation options such as biking and walking.

The panelists, convened through ULI’s advisory services program, will be visiting El Paso next week to explore how the city can best design an accessible, well-connected, and inviting active transportation network that accounts for potential climate risks such as extreme heat and flash flooding. The panel will focus on the stretch of the ATS identified as the International Beltway running between El Paso’s downtown, currently experiencing revitalization through the Chamizal, an under-invested and largely residential neighborhood up to the area known as the Medical Center of the Americas. Specifically, the panel will focus its study on two key sites along the ATS – the area surrounding the Salazar and Tays public housing developments.

The advisory panel’s recommendations will be framed in response to the newly developed City Resilience Strategy, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program. Panelist are tasked with addressing which primary and secondary ATS routes offer the best connectivity, access, and experience for users; what key components such as bike lanes, trees, plantings, storm water infrastructure, and pedestrian infrastructure are needed; how the resilient redevelopment of key sites can leverage open space and linkages to carless transportation options; and what private and public sector funding sources can be used for resilience investments.

The assignment for El Paso is part of a series of advisory panels being supported by a generous grant from The Kresge Foundation to advance the institute’s pursuit of urban design and development practices that are more resilient and adaptable to the impacts of climate change. With Kresge’s support, ULI is leveraging the substantial expertise of its members to provide guidance on community building in a way that responds to inevitable climate change while helping to preserve the environment, boost economic prosperity, and foster a high quality of life.

The communities chosen for advisory panel assistance through ULI’s community resilience work are being selected on the basis of 1) the community’s long-range resilience challenges and vulnerabilities to severe weather-related events, and 2) the opportunity for the results to be applied to other communities with similar vulnerabilities. The assistance is part of Institute’s overall efforts to help communities prepare for increased climate risk in ways that foster a quicker, safer return to normalcy after an event and an ability to thrive going forward. ULI has advised several communities across the United States on resilience strategies, including Miami-Dade County, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; Portland, Maine, Duluth, Minnesota; St Tammany Parish, Louisiana and Seattle.

During the visit, panelists will tour the ATS route and meet with stakeholders within the study area. After carefully analyzing the area and completing the interviews, the panel will then spend two days framing their recommendations and drafting a presentation that will be made to the public at the conclusion of the visit.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: 
The ULI panel’s recommendations will be presented at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 18, at the El Paso Community Foundation, 123 W Mills Avenue in El Paso, Texas. The event is open to the public. 
                                                                                                                       
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has nearly 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit uli.org  or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.
 

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