EL PASO, Texas — Hey, El Paso! It’s time to get your walking shoes on.
The Sun City was named the top 13th city in the country for public parks and walkability by Commercial Cafe, a commercial real estate blog. El Paso topped other Texas and Southwest cities, including Austin (which ranked #20), Phoenix (#21), Houston (#27) and Dallas (#30).
The study found that parks in El Paso account for 19.44 percent of the total city area, with 44.4 acres per 1,000 residents. El Paso ranked 7th for both of these metrics. El Paso and its surroundings offer roughly 150 miles of public trails.
While El Paso has a lot of opportunities to get out and walk, El Pasoans are not taking advantage of that, at least when it comes to getting to and from work. The study found that though the average walk to work in El Paso takes 15.7 minutes, only 1.31 percent of commuters choose to do so, the third-lowest share of the 53 cities studied.
As parks have become an important place for entertainment, fitness and simply to get outside because of the pandemic, Commercial Cafe started looking at which cities perform best in terms of public parks and walkability.
The study looked at U.S. cities with a population of at least 300,000, and ranked them by walkability metrics, data on park land totals, ratios and investment, as well as by how each city fares on the EPA’s air quality index.
In other El Paso park news, the El Paso Park & Recreation department is holding a virtual public open house as part of the El Paso County Parks and Recreation Master Plan process. The Master Plan will help identify community preferences for parks, recreational facilities and recreation programming, and will identify recommendations and priorities for the next five to 10 years.
You can access public open house materials from Aug. 24 to Sept. 7 via this virtual meeting room: https://www.epcountyparks.com/master-plan-virtual-meeting-room. Visitors to the virtual meeting room will be able to provide feedback and preliminary recommendations to improve the delivery of County parks and recreation services to the residents of El Paso County.