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Proposed 22-story tower sparks west El Paso traffic fears

There are at least a couple of petitions circulating against the construction of a 22-story tower in west El Paso. One of the biggest concerns for some residents is added traffic in the already congested area of Shadow Mountain and Mesa.

Because the Shadow Mountain project is still in early development, the city has not yet conducted a new traffic study for the area. Still, some who live in the area say they don’t need a study to know drivers would see a slowdown.

Dr. Kristyn Ingram has lived near the intersection of Mesa and Shadow Mountain for about three years. She is spearheading a petition against the construction of the 22-story tower near the existing 11-story Coronado tower.

Among Ingram’s chief concerns is an increase in traffic. “So, adding an additional 400 to 1,000 people, conservatively, to the traffic patterns of the area could be very detrimental to everyone’s commute,” said Dr. Ingram.

So what’s the traffic like now at the intersection? A city spokeswoman directed ABC7 to a study done back in 2012. During the month of June that year, 29,518 cars traveled through the intersection on Mesa. Another 23,847 drove though using Sunland Park or Shadow Mountain.

The city development department has come up with some recommendations about easing traffic in the area, should the Shadow Mountain proposal become a reality. Optimizing signal timing and installing traffic signal improvements would be required. Turning lanes would also have to be added and a private road in the area would need to be modified.

Nearby resident Mely Castro isn’t worried. She is more focused on the positives the project could bring. “I think that it will be great. Everything that helps to make El Paso look good and brings more work for this area is going to be great,” said Castro.

The $100 million project includes retail space, 219 hotel rooms, 228 apartments and a 715-car parking garage.

Dr. Ingram isn’t totally against the idea. “I think if the project could be scaled down, maybe take into consideration the height on Coronado tower and maybe scale it. that would be about half the size that they are proposing. That might be and a lot more reasonable,” said Ingram.

Well-known real estate agent Joann Wardy disagrees. “I definately think that we need something like this in El Paso and especially right in this area. It’s going to be wonderful. It’s going to bring traffic, but you know what, that’s progress.”

The El Paso City Council is expected to vote on the rezoning request in about a month.

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