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Cincinnati Street brings more change; sidewalk patio construction set to begin later this month

The city’s University Pedestrian Improvement plan is aiming to calm traffic, widen sidewalks and add additional street lighting.

The project covers Cincinnati Avenue, Baltimore Drive and Stanton Street.

“The project is the reconstruction of Cincinnati Avenue to include a lot of pedestrian enhancements, including significantly widened sidewalks, archways and lights,” said Elizabeth Triggs, assistant director of economic development for the city of El Paso.

Officials said one of the biggest changes was that sidewalks went from 5 feet on each side to 16 or 17 feet on one side and 12 feet on the other side. “It’s a safety enhancement to have much wider sidewalks, but it’s also about adding to the ambiance and create a more pleasant enviroment,” Triggs said.

On Tuesday, the city approved to building 10 sidewalk patios along Cincinnati Street outside the bars and restaurants. The patios will be are optional for the businesses to use. “Everyone has an option to get a permit to use the cafe, but it’s an option. Once they are built, if they business does not want to use it they don’t have to,” Triggs said. The price tag for each cafe varies, depending on the size, but Triggs said the average cost is around $350 a year. However, if businesses decide to use the patio there are some stipulations. “It’s seat-only capacity and there has to be tables and chairs on the patio,” Triggs said. “No smoking is permitted on the patios and also no sound amplification.” Triggs said that music can be played, but cannot be played over a speaker, in an attempt to keep the noise down. Lastly, the sale of alcohol and service must be cut off at 1 a.m.

Triggs said the city has spoken to the bar owners about the regulations. “They are fully aware of the plans and designs and they have been comfortable with it and supportive of the ordinance.”

ABC-7 spoke with an employee of The Rockin’ Cigar Bar and Grill on Cincinnati, who said he thinks the patios will benefit the bars and businesses. “I actually think it’s a really good idea, it’s going to bring a different crowd,” said Mitch Vechione with Rockin’ Cigar. “I feel like the patios will bring an older crown and I thnk that Cincinnati will blow up because of it.”

Officials said they will add street striping and parking meters on Stanton Street. The project projects that Kerbey Avenue to Stanton Street will include striping for 70 metered parking spaces and a two-way bike lane. The report states that angled parking is the best practice for safety and efficient use of road space and to encourage slower driving speed.

The project plans to make pedestrian improvements on Cincinnati Avenue and Baltimore Drive. Construction on the projects is planned to improve accessible sidewalks and provide wider walking paths and seating area.

Officials said construction in scheduled to begin in May.

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