Community members from across the city gather for a bikeable, walkable El Paso

MGN-Online
Friday, August 23, 2013 - 6:05pm

This Saturday, Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition will host a citywide community meeting to unite residents concerned about bicycling and walking in El Paso.

In light of the recent deaths involving local cyclists and pedestrians, it is now more important than ever for the community to have a forum to address the future of bicycling and walking in El Paso.

Attendees will prioritize ways to make El Paso more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians in an effort to build a safer, healthier and more livable city. Community members will also have a chance to learn more about the bike share project that was recently denied funding by TxDOT.

WHO: Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition
WHAT: Citywide Community Meeting
WHEN: Saturday, August 24, 2013, 10am-12pm
WHERE: El Paso Public Library Main Branch, 501 N. Oregon St.
WHY: The Comprehensive Master Plan, approved by the El Paso City Council in March 2012, makes a bold declaration: to make El Paso the least car dependant city in the southwest. This begins by recognizing bicycling and walking as viable transportation options for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition released this statement Friday:

On Thursday, August 22, Jose Cordova, a 9-year-old boy, was killed while riding his bicycle in Central El Paso. Cordova was riding on the sidewalk when he reached the intersection and was crushed by an SUV making a right turn.

Less than two weeks earlier, two pedestrians, a woman in her seventies and a man in his mid-fifties, walking on opposite sides of the city were fatally struck by motor vehicles within 90 minutes of each other.

These senseless tragedies have left the bicycle and pedestrian community wondering how many more deaths must El Paso endure before elected officials and local leaders address the issue of safe streets and prioritizing access for bicycles and pedestrians.

“One death is too many,” said Scott White, a spokesperson for Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition. “We are focused on preventing these untimely deaths, and we are here to help the city and the county to not only educate the public about the importance of being safe on the roads, but to reevaluate how we think about our streets, in order to make them safer for everyone.”

Velo Paso urges the city and the county to form a Safe Streets Task Force, an ad hoc committee composed of stakeholders from public safety, advocacy, local business, UTEP, Fort Bliss, and the medical community. The Task Force would advise the city on Complete Streets, a policy referenced in the Comprehensive City Plan, approved by the El Paso City Council in March 2012.

Velo Paso, an all-volunteer organization, is currently in the process of scheduling a series of bicycle safety courses with Preston Tyree, former Education Director of League of American Bicyclists, the country’s largest and oldest bicycle advocacy organization.

While groups like Velo Paso can encourage safer riding and improve bicycle-pedestrian awareness, it is the city and county’s responsibility to create safe, complete streets that accommodate all forms of transportation, not just motor vehicles.

ABOUT VELO PASO: The mission of Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition is to make bicycling and walking safe and accessible for everyone in the Paso del Norte region through education and outreach.

To learn more, please visit www.velopaso.org.  

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