Why TxDOT says a pedestrian bridge isn’t currently possible in Cincinnati area

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In the wake of the hit-and-run death of an El Paso teacher early Thanksgiving morning, some El Pasoans expressed the need for a pedestrian bridge in the Cincinnati Entertainment District.

As KTSM reported, Amanda Weyant Ferguson, 28, was crossing Mesa at Cincinnati at about 2 a.m. when Joel Velazquez, 24, allegedly ran a red light and hit her.

Weyant, a sixth grade teacher at Eastwood Heights Elementary School, died at the scene.

As KTSM reported last year, the city took steps to enhance pedestrian safety by widening sidewalks and adding more lighting to the area.

“It is a very difficult location,” TxDOT’s El Paso District Engineer Bob Bielek told KTSM. “There are lot of folks who use that, folks who are distracted, folks who may be under the influence…whether they’re walking or driving.”

As for a pedestrian bridge? TxDOT, the agency with jurisdiction over Mesa, says that’s not currently possible due to ADA compliance regulations.

According to TxDOT, a pedestrian bridge would require three to four-foot-wide ramps on each side, and a platform in order for it to have a rise of 30 or more feet.

“There isn’t enough room, there isn’t enough right of way to accommodate that,” Bielek said.

However, TxDOT says there is an even safer alternative to a pedestrian bridge.

“The idea is to depress Mesa, extend the existing streets or the cross streets on top of Mesa, and allow pedestrians to cross at those streets with lower traffic rather than cross at Mesa,” he explained.

City Representative Peter Svarzbein will hold a public community meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday to address safety in the Cincinnati area.

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