El Paso: Smart Growth Model?

If you’re looking for a good example of thoughtful, place-based planning for transit-oriented development (TOD) in a location not yet known for it, you could do a lot worse than Connecting El Paso, a 264-page tour de force vision for parts of the west Texas border city.  The plan was unanimously approved earlier this week by the El Paso city council and described by council member Beto O’Rourke as likely to “result in historic change” for the growing community.

It is certainly impressive.  Connecting El Paso emphasizes that TOD is actually not a new idea in the city, which once had a streetcar system supported by walkable neighborhoods along its corridors.  Now, with a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system and possibly a new streetcar in the city’s future, there is the opportunity to restore lost urban fabric and concentrate on a human-scaled smart growth strategy

That’s the intro to a lengthy piece looking at El Paso’s smart growth plans. I wouldn’t have guessed this Texan city was so progressive, but the plans look great. Of course, smart growth is logical, conservative in essence, and good for the economy, so everyone should be behind it, but you know how things can go….

Read the full Natural Resources Defense Council story on El Paso here: Could El Paso become a model of thoughtful smart growth planning?.

Photo Credit: M.Pastor

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