El Paso City Council Says No To Daily Shutdown Of Scenic Drive For Pedestrians
City reps Peter Svarzbein and Alexsandra Annello were trying to get a Scenic Summer program put into place so El Pasoans could walk Scenic Drive daily, but their efforts fell short during a City Council meeting on Tuesday. Scenic Drive has been closed to all traffic since early April but reopened for vehicle and bike traffic this week. Svarzbein wanted the City to close Scenic daily to cars between 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. from July 4 through Labor Day, Sept. 7.
City staff said they would have to have hired security to manage the gates so commercial property owners could still have access on Scenic and the roughly $30,000 it would cost to do that was too steep for the City's budget right now. Mayor Dee Margo was against it because he said it would prevent people with disabilities to use Scenic if they are unable to do so on foot. An email from former city rep Jim Tolbert was read by Margo during the meeting but Svarzbein and Annello asked the City Clerk to cut him off because they said the email was a political attack. In his email, Tolbert called Svarzbein's idea "over the top", "nuts", and "political grandstanding."
Svarzbein said the El Paso Community Foundation has offered to kick in $5,000 to help offset costs for a daily shutdown of Scenic Drive, but that didn't seem to move most of the City reps to vote for his initiative. If you want to walk Scenic Drive you can do so every Sunday between 6 - 11 a.m.