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Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 12:27am
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Thousands of baseball fans are expected to visit El Paso in just four short months to watch the Chihuahua's take the field for the first time, and the City of El Paso wants to be prepared.
Upwards of 8,000 fans are expected at the games, and all of them will be on the hunt for parking spots.
Traffic is a big concern for officials as the Borderland inches closer to opening day, and on Wednesday, the City's Department of Transportation (DoT) released the results of a long-awaited study addressing some of those concerns at a public meeting hosted at the Downtown Main Library.
"We are confident that we've been looking at every aspect of circulation for traffic, whether it's pedestrians, bicycles, buses," said Ted Marquez, the director of the El Paso Department of Transportation.
The department spent $124,000 on a four-month traffic study of the downtown area to figure out what traffic will look like on game day, which roads drivers will need to use to get downtown, and perhaps most importantly, where people can park.
"It's going to be a work in progress, we're going to have to see kind of how it works out. The underlying tone is that it's, there's going to be a lot of traffic downtown," said Mark Sanchez, who attended Wednesday evening's meeting.
According to the findings, there will be an estimated 12, 236 parking spaces available for ballpark, Convention Center, and surrounding venue events - most of those spots are in nearby parking garages.
"This particular study was basically a traffic study. It does not take into consideration pedestrian traffic, it does not take into consideration parking lot delays, and or people having to find an alternate parking location or destination," said Fred Camarillo, who also attended the public meeting on Wednesday.
The Department of Transportation says Sun Metro is planning to shuttle fans to the ballpark from 8 pick up locations in the downtown area, and may extend their hours depending on how many people decide to ride.
DoT hopes to finalize their report by early next year, and incorporate suggested changes after hearing from El Paso residents.
They'll then need the city's approval to implement the plan.