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07/02/2008 Volume 3, Issue 5/6 Contact Us

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    Sun Metro: Itís a Priority
    By Joyce Wilson, City Manager

    Sun Metro:  Itís a Priority The El Paso City government has made Sun Metro the top priority since early 2006 when the system was in a state of crisis and nearing a complete collapse. Since that time, we reorganized management and our capital improvement program to commit $40 M to purchase 55 new buses and 25 new paratransit buses with, an additional 40 buses due by January 2009 -- a commitment which has reduced the age of our fleet from an average of 12.5 years to an average of 2.5 years, resulting in an increase in reliability and overall performance. In January 2009, pending approval of the proposed FY 2009 budget by the Mass Transit Board, we plan to expand service to include:

    • The first I SMART bus service between the International Bridge and Glory Road/UTEP
    • The new downtown circulator (free service) that will enhance pedestrian movement throughout the central core
    • Reinstatement of Routes 21 and 23 to accommodate high ridership demand
    • Additional changes and route enhancements resulting from findings of the long-range transit operations study, due to be completed this summer

    We have also expedited a series of major capital projects so that we now have:
    • 3 transit hubs in final design and ready to go to construction by year end (Mission Valley, Glory Road and Westside terminals)
    • A strategy to replace the Northgate Terminal
    • Land for the Eastside Terminal near the Zaragoza/Montana area to support future growth
    • A decision to locate the Camino Real International Terminal at Union Depot downtown
    • Direction to relocate the downtown transfer station away from San Jacinto Park to better provide accommodations
    The downtown transfer center at San Jacinto Park was relocated to Franklin Street temporarily due to street closures in the vicinity of San Jacinto Park for construction. Subsequently, new construction ensued that will require continued street closures over an extensive period of time for the following purposes:
    • Mills Building and Plaza Hotel renovations
    • Demolition of an existing parking facility and reconstruction of a new facility
    • Reconstruction of Oregon Street to accommodate the new I SMART bus service
    • Possible construction of a new hotel near San Jacinto Park
    • Possible reconstruction of San Jacinto Park into a showcase park
    For these reasons it was decided to retain the temporary downtown bus transfer center on Franklin Street until the permanent facility was ready for occupancy. The Mass Transit Board supported this recommendation and the following actions have or are occurring now:
    • Construction of shade structures to provide shelter from the sun and other weather elements
    • Opening of Main Library from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to provide public restroom access along with ongoing janitorial service to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene for all users
    • Construction of new water fountain facilities in Cleveland Square Park that will be completed this week
    • On-site security to maintain order and security
    • Closure of Franklin Street between Santa Fe and Oregon to bus traffic only to enhance pedestrian safety
    • Design for broader improvements and enhancements for greater functionality and safety of the transit mall area
    • Solicitation of street vendor services to provide additional amenities
    More permanent improvements will follow, pending final design and cost estimates. While this may not be moving at the fast pace some would want, it is advancing as an urgent priority for the health, safety and comfort of the users of the service.

    The increased attention to public transit is refreshing as this service becomes ever important as gas prices increase and remain unstable for the longer term. It is regrettable this advocacy didnít exist five or ten years ago so we could have avoided some of the crisis issues that have plagued the system in recent years. Rest assured that everyone involved with this system, from the elected officials to staff at Sun Metro, are fully committed to advancing a world-class public transit service for present and future riders.

    Upcoming City Meetings & Events:
    • For a listing of City Meetings, City Council Meetings or community meetings.
      Read more....

    • To find out what City events are happening in a neighborhood near you, visit the
      City Events Calendar.

    Major Issues:

    • Budget Season in Full Swing
      The City of El Paso is now approaching the time period of the budget process in which public budget hearings are held.

    • City Uses Utility Savings To Upgrade Infrastructure
      The City of El Paso recognized that it needed to address two major issues: escalating utility costs and aging infrastructure.

    • Erasing Graffiti
      Did you know the City of El Paso Street Department Anti-Graffiti program has been removing graffiti from our neighborhoods for more than a decade?

    • Trash and Recycling Bin Repairs
      Does your city-issued trash or recycling container have a broken lid or missing wheel?
      Read more..

    Public Safety & Health:

    • Extreme Weather Taskforce
      extreme weather task force Help residents beat the heat this summer!
      Read more..

    • Check it out: Restaurant Inspection Scores
      Restaurant inspection scores are now available at:

      This online service is provided by the Department of Public Health to inform the public about food establishments in El Paso County.

    • Fire Department Safety Tips
      Accidents kill one million children each year around the world and permanently disable many more. More children between the ages of 1 to 14 die from accidents involving fires and drowning than any other cause. Almost all of these injuries are preventable.

    • Department of Public Health Profile: Public Health Preparedness
      The Department of Public Health is committed to keeping residents informed on the programs and services it offers the community.

    • Department of Public Health Profile: Texas Vaccines for Children
      The Department of Public Health offers a profile of this vital service for the community.

    • El Paso Municipal Court Traffic Safety Award Recipient
      sm_el_paso_municipal court traffic award El Paso Municipal Court, in an effort to improve quality of life for the citizens of El Paso, has teamed up with state and local agencies to promote and implement several traffic safety initiatives. In recognition of this, the El Paso Municipal Court was recently recognized for their efforts in Traffic Safety.

    • Public Health Welcomes New Director
      New Public Health Director Michael Hill The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is proud to announce the arrival of its new Director, Mr. Michael Hill.

    • Animal Services Officer Receives National Certification
      The Department of Public Health is committed to providing quality customer service by making necessary improvements to Animal Services (formerly Animal Control).

    Development & Infrastructure:

    • City Takes Leadership Role in LEED Certification
      City Council recently approved an Ordinance adopting the United States Green Building Council-Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification requirements for the construction of all new and renovated city-owned buildings 5,000 square feet and larger.

    • Temporary Downtown Transit Terminal Update: Franklin Street Closure
      In an effort to optimize the safety of public traffic circulating in the area of the Temporary Downtown Transit Terminal, effective June 15, 2008 Franklin Street from Santa Fe Street to Oregon Street was restricted to bus traffic only.

    • Curbside Recycling Program Receives Top Honors
       El Paso Environmental Services Department has won two prestigious statewide awards The Curbside Recycling program of the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department has won two prestigious statewide awards.


    • Digital Signs Helping to Alleviate Wait Times at International Bridges
      Wait Times at International Bridges Two portable message boards at the Zaragosa and Santa Fe Street (Paso Del Norte) international bridges are helping to speed up border crossing wait times by reminding the traveling public to prepare for inspection.

    • From El Paso International Airport
      This brief offers exciting news and updates from EPIA.

    • Sun Metro. Committed to Safety, Bus Reliability, and Excellence in Customer Service
      Sun Metro Excellence This year marked an important historical juncture as, for the first time, Sun Metro received state-wide recognition by the Texas Transit Association with the Outstanding Metropolitan System Award for taking a leadership role in improving public transportation in the state of Texas.

    • Understanding Street Maintenance
      Ever wonder why some streets are resurfaced while others get different forms of maintenance?

    • Four Top Designers Featured in Golf Digest
      In May 2008, Golf Digest featured four top designers and asked them about their most recent U.S. courses and what is next. Tom Fazioís most recent design is Butterfield Trail Golf Course in El Paso.

    • Concession Revenue Gains
      Concession Revenue Gains In the fall of 2006, City Council voted to change Food and Beverage, as well as, News and Gift vendors at El Paso International Airport.

    • Butterfield Trail Golf Club Loyalty Program
      Butterfield Trail Golf Club is excited to announce the unveiling of our new loyalty program for golfers.

    Quality of Life:

    • Museums and Cultural Affairs Events
      Learn more about the exciting and intriguing events being offered out of the Cityís Museums and Cultural Affairs Department!

    • Itís Time Again for Summer Concerts
      The Museums and Cultural Affairs Department of the City of El Paso is pleased to announce the concert line-up for both its premier summer concert series: Alfresco! Fridays and Music Under the Stars.

    • City of El Pasoís Department of Community and Human Development to Receive National Award
      The National Community Development Association (NCDA) will award the City of El Pasoís Department of Community and Human Development along with six other winners, the John A. Sasso National Community Development Week Award.

    • National Parks and Recreation Month
      The month of July will be National Parks and Recreation Month and will be celebrated in El Paso, Texas with the following list of scheduled events over the month.

    • Parks and Recreation Events
      Learn more about Parks and Recreation Summer Events going on in a neighborhood near you!

    • Community and Human Development Programs
      Find out more on what valuable assistance is offered through various Community and Human Development Department programs and partnerships

    • Military, Fire & Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
      Military, Fire & Law Enforcement Appreciation Day HALF-PRICE DAY FOR ALL ZOO VISITORS! Saturday, July 5th 9:30 a.m. Ė 5:00 p.m.

    • We Thank You for Your Support:
      Lower Dyer Neighborhood Clean-Up, Picnic & Health Fair

      Lower Dyer Neighborhood Clean-Up, Picnic & Health Fair District 2, Representative Susie Byrd, Mayor Cook, Council and the Department of Community and Human Development thank all the agencies, volunteers, residents of Lower Dyer and partners for participating in the Clean-Up, Picnic and Health Fair that took place in early April 2008.

    • 2008 Older El Pasoans Hall of Fame Winners
      Older El Pasoans Hall of Fame winners Hosted by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (R.S.V.P.)

      In recognition of senior citizen volunteers serving the El Paso community, the Department of Community and Human Development Retired and Senior Volunteer Program hosted the 2008 Older El Pasoan Hall of Fame Ceremony on May 9, 2008.

    • El Paso Zoo Camp!

      Kids between the ages of 6-10 can explore the wide world of Mammoths, Mastodons and Elephants at this yearís Zoo Camp 2008.

    • 4th Annual Neighborhood Summit
      The Neighborhood Summit is an annual event which allows residents the opportunity to participate in a series of educational workshops, build networks among neighboring associations and gather inspiration from highly motivated keynote speakers.

    • Western Hills Teachers shovel up success at the El Paso Zoo!
      western hills teacher Western Hills Elementary School teacher Lisa Askenazi makes good on a promise to her students.
      Ė Photo by Leonel Monroy, Jr.

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