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Palisades Charrette #2 Findings
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Palisades Charrette #2 Findings

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City of El Paso's Planning Division under the direction of City Development in conjunction with Parks & Recreation report back on the findings from Charrette #2 discussing the development of the …

City of El Paso's Planning Division under the direction of City Development in conjunction with Parks & Recreation report back on the findings from Charrette #2 discussing the development of the Palisades trailhead, the central gateway to the Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso.

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  • 1. Results & Analysis
  • 2. Meeting Intent On February 18th, 2014, a second public design charrette was conducted by the City Development and Parks & Recreation Departments of the City of El Paso to gain additional community feedback regarding public preferences for the design of a proposed trailhead to serve the Palisades Park. The primary purposes of the meeting included: 1. Share the results of the first public design charrette. 2. Present and obtain public comment on five new design scenarios. 3. Gauge public preference on the design and direction of public art to be incorporated into the site. Over 50 attendees participated in three exercises designed to fulfill these purposes and to refine and provide greater detail on the information obtained in the first meeting.The exercises conducted included: 1. An instant poll of attendees’ responses to questions about aspects of the site design. 2. An open ended comment period focused on five new site design scenarios developed based on feedback received at the first public meeting. 3. A visual preference survey for public art options.
  • 3. Project Review Several projects will coincide to transform the Palisades Park trailhead: 1. The Parks & Recreation Department is using 2012 Quality-of-Life Bond dollars to fund trailhead improvements. 2. The El Paso Water Utilities will soon begin construction that will improve stormwater management in the area. 3. The Engineering Department is managing improvements along Robinson Avenue, to include the addition of a Hike/Bike Trail . 4. The Museum & Cultural Affairs Department is using 2012 Quality-of-Life Bond funds to install public art at trailheads
  • 4. In This Report Instant Polling Results Concept Plan Comment Review Summary of Findings Public Art Preference Board Results
  • 5. Instant Polling Results First Exercise
  • 6. Methodology Participants were asked a series of ten questions about aspects affecting the design and use of the Palisades trailhead. Participants used individual remotes to input their selections, with the results displayed instantly. Between 40 and 51 votes were registered for each question. Questions 1-3 asked participants to select their top site design scenario based on various criteria. Questions 4-8 asked participants about the importance of specific amenities. Question 9 asked participants about the location of parking. Question 10 asked participants about the art program to be implemented.
  • 7. Scenario 1 Features Stepped, shaded seating area Service gate to restrict vehicular access to park 900 foot paved, accessible path Crosswalk connecting Billy Rogers Arroyo to Palisades trailhead 9 parking spaces total Largest total footprint
  • 8. Scenario 2 Features Seating area with eight benches Landscaped desert garden area Service gate to restrict vehicular access to park 800 foot paved, accessible path Crosswalk connecting Billy Rogers Arroyo to Palisades trailhead 6 parking spaces total Relatively large total footprint
  • 9. Scenario 3 Features Seating area with seven benches Largest vegetated swale 800 foot paved, accessible path Wider crosswalk located closer to intersection 6 parking spaces total Relatively large total footprint
  • 10. Scenario 4 Features Seating area with seven benches 800 foot paved, accessible path Crosswalk connecting Billy Rogers Arroyo to Palisades trailhead Slip lane for pick- up/drop-off On-site parking off of service drive. 7 parking spaces total Smaller total footprint
  • 11. Scenario 5 Features Seating area with four benches 900 foot paved, accessible path Crosswalk connecting Billy Rogers Arroyo to Palisades trailhead Slip-lane for pick- up/drop-off On-site parking off of service drive. 7 parking spaces total Smaller total footprint
  • 12. 3% 13% 13% 35% 38% 2 1 3 5 4 Scenario Preferred Design Alternative 5% 16% 16% 63% 2 1 3 4 & 5 Scenario Preferred Parking Location Once again Scenarios 4 & 5 emerged as the clear favorites for the placement of parking amenities, despite Scenario 1 providing the most on-site spaces. Open ended comments suggest that respondents liked the ease of access of parking provided by Scenarios 4 & 5, and the relative discreetness of the parking in Scenarios 1-3. Scenarios 4 & 5 were far and away the top options, earning nearly three out of four votes combined. Scenarios 4 & 5 share a smaller site footprint than scenarios 1-3, as well as the inclusion of a slip lane.The major difference between Scenarios 4 & 5 are in the design of the gathering space. Open ended comments suggest that respondents liked Scenarios 4 & 5 for their inclusion of a slip lane, their smaller footprints, and lower cost of construction.
  • 13. 7% 9% 11% 35% 39% 3 1 2 4 5 Scenario Favorite Gathering Space Unimportant or Not At All Important 33% Neutral 15% Important or Very Important 52% Importance of a Drop-Off Just over half (52%) of respondents considered the inclusion of a drop-off area important. Scenarios 4 and 5 may have benefitted in other questions because of their inclusion of a slip lane. Open ended comments suggest a concern for speeding vehicles traversing the intersection. A slip lane provides a way a safe way to enter the trailhead parking area, as well as the added benefit of providing a space for school buses and tour buses to drop off visitors at the site’s entrance. Scenarios 4 & 5 were once again the top choices for best gathering spaces, earning nearly three out of four votes combined. Open ended comments show that respondents liked the smaller and more discreet designs of Scenarios 4 & 5 over the larger footprint designs of Scenarios 1-3 One commenter noted the additional cost of land acquisition required for Scenario 3 as a negative
  • 14. Unimportant or Not At All Important 7% Neutral 13% Important or Very Important 80% Importance of a Crosswalk Unimportant or Not At All Important 40% Neutral 10% Important or Very Important 50% Importance of a Culvert Half of voters felt that the inclusion of a pedestrian-accessible culvert was either important or very important, while 40% indicated that it was not important. Open ended comments suggested that while a pedestrian-accessible culvert is not necessarily important, a wildlife- accessible culvert is needed.Together, polling results and open ended comments suggest that the height of the originally planned culvert may be reduced, as long as it remains wildlife-accessible and a crosswalk for pedestrians is in place. 4 out of every 5 respondents (or 80 percent) felt that the inclusion of a crosswalk was important to the site design. Overall, respondents found the inclusion of a crosswalk to be more important than the inclusion of a pedestrian-accessible culvert. Open ended comments specified that a crosswalk should be as short as possible to minimize potential conflict with vehicles.
  • 15. Gathering Space 48% Parking 52% Importance of Parking vs. Gathering Respondents were effectively split on the importance of prioritizing parking or gathering space,suggesting that attention to design of both is integral to the success of an improved trailhead. Open ended comments showed a range of opinions regarding parking, with some wanting more on-site parking, and others preferring on-street parking on Robinson. Across all Scenarios, a total of 19 negative and 17 positive comments were recorded focused on parking. Very Likely 24% Somewhat likely 29% Not at all likely 47% Likelihood of Using Tennis Club Parking to Access Trailhead Nearly half of respondents said they were not at all likely to use parking located at the tennis club to access the trailhead; however, just over half indicated that they would be at least somewhat likely to use tennis club parking. Respondents may be more likely to use parking at the tennis club to access the Palisades trailhead if wayfinding signage and trail markers were made uniform in both Palisades and Billy Rogers Arroyo Parks,illustrating how the two parks link to one another.
  • 16. 4% 6% 12% 38% 40% Bike Racks Signage Seating Trail Markers Entry Way Amenity Preferred Amenities Aesthetic 33% Functional 67% Preferred Type of Art Two out of every three poll respondents preferred the inclusion of functional over aesthetic art. Much like the previous poll question regarding preferred amenities, these responses correspond with the public art visual preference survey, wherein functional art was again the preferred type of art. Open ended comments from the preference boards indicated a desire for art design that is indicative of the trailhead’s purpose, and complements the natural landscape of the surrounding area. With regard to preferred amenities, those that augment the trailhead entrance and provide a functional utility for its primary use as an access point for hiking were most preferred. The results of this question are commensurate with the results of the public art visual preference survey that will be subsequently reviewed.
  • 17. Concept Plan Comments Review Second Exercise
  • 18. Methodology Following the instant polling activity, participants were given time to independently review the five trailhead design Scenarios. Comment forms were available for each Scenario; participants were asked to write down specific comments about individual features of each design and indicate whether they liked or did not like those features. Comments were then grouped into one of nine categories or topics, including: In addition, recorded remarks were classified as a like, dislike or neutral. The following pages of this report summarize comments received. 1. Crosswalk 6. Parking 2. Culvert 7. Restricting Access 3. Design Impact to Site 8. Other Amenities 4. Drop-Off Area 9. Miscellaneous 5. Gathering Space
  • 19. A total of 125 open-ended comments were recorded across the five scenarios. Scenarios 4 & 5 were the two most commented upon designs, receiving over half of the open ended remarks, while Scenario 2 received the fewest. At least half of the comments recorded for each scenario were positive, with Scenarios 4 & 5 receiving the largest share of positive remarks relative to the other design concepts. Scenario 1 18% Scenario 2 10% Scenario 3 18% Scenario 4 26% Scenario 5 27% Comments Received by Scenario 35% 39% 43% 50% 43% 6% 3% 4% 4% 59% 58% 52% 50% 52% Scenario 5 Scenario 4 Scenario 3 Scenario 2 Scenario 1 Summary of Comments by Concept Plan Dislike Neutral Like
  • 20. Parking layout for the majority of scenarios continued to be a divisive issue with roughly half of remarks positive, while the remaining half were negative. Open ended comments reveal differing opinions regarding on-site versus on-street parking and the number of on-site spaces made available. Open ended comments were additionally classified by topic. Reflective of results from the first design charrette, parking continued to be at the forefront of discussion with one in three comments referencing either a positive or negative aspect of scenario parking design. Also consistent with the first public meeting, design impact to the site, such as site plan footprint and materials used was frequently referenced. 4% 6% 6% 9% 9% 10% 11% 14% 32% Culvert Miscellaneous Crosswalk Gathering Space Restricting Access Other Amenities Drop-Off Area Design Impact to Site Parking Summary of Comments by Topic Dislike 52% Like 48% 50% 50% 100% 44% 50% 50% 0% 56% Scenarios 4 & 5 Scenario 3 Scenario 2 Scenario 1 Dislike Like Parking Layout Detail – Positive versus Negative Comments Parking Comments - Overall Parking Comments – By Scenario n=125
  • 21. SCENARIO 1 SCENARIO 2 SCENARIO 3 0% 4% 4% 4% 4% 9% 13% 22% 39% Culvert Crosswalk Drop-Off Area Miscellaneous Restricting Access Design Impact to Site Gathering Space Other Amenities Parking n=23 0% 0% 8% 8% 8% 17% 17% 17% 25% Drop-Off Area Restricting Access Culvert Gathering Space Miscellaneous Other Amenities Crosswalk Design Impact to Site Parking n=12 0% 0% 4% 4% 9% 9% 13% 26% 35% Culvert Drop-Off Area Other Amenities Miscellaneous Crosswalk Gathering Space Restricting Access Design Impact to Site Parking n=23
  • 22. SCENARIO 1 SCENARIO 2 SCENARIO 3 Overall, Scenario 1 received 23 comments, approximately half of which were positive while the remaining half were negative. Parking was the most commented upon aspect of Scenario 1 although opinions were split regarding its design. Common dislikes included a concern that Scenario 1 does not provide adequate parking, while the well-hidden nature of the lot was seen as positive. Scenario 2 was the least commented upon plan, receiving 12 comments, half of which were positive. Once again, parking was the most commented upon feature although all comments were negative, referencing a concern for an adequate number of spaces. The stepped garden and short width of the crosswalk were seen as positive features. Scenario 3 recorded 23 remarks with a positive / negative split similar to previous scenarios. Parking continued to be a concern with inadequate parking cited as negative. Commenters liked the smaller footprint and more natural arrangement of trees relative to other concepts. Commenters stressed the importance of restricting access with a service gate.
  • 23. SCENARIO 4 SCENARIO 5 0% 0% 3% 6% 6% 9% 12% 18% 45% Miscellaneous Crosswalk Culvert Gathering Space Design Impact to Site Other Amenities Restricting Access Drop-Off Area Parking n=33 3% 9% 9% 9% 9% 12% 15% 15% 21% Other Amenities Crosswalk Culvert Gathering Space Restricting Access Miscellaneous Design Impact to Site Parking Drop-Off Area n=34
  • 24. SCENARIO 4 SCENARIO 5 Scenario 4 received 33 total comments, just over half of which were positive. Parking again received the most comments, and, as in Scenario 1, opinions were split. Commenters either felt more off-street parking was necessary,or that on-street parking should be used to accommodate any overflow. The inclusion of a drop-off was the second most mentioned feature. Commenters unanimously liked the inclusion of this element . Again, commenters disliked the lack of a service gate that would restrict motor vehicle access to the Palisades Park. Scenario 5 received the largest share of comments (34 total); like Scenario 4, over half of comments received were positive. As with Scenario 4, commenters highly approved of the slip lane in Scenario 5. Given that parking layout in Scenarios 4 and 5 is identical, it is unsurprising that commenters once again cited a concern for insufficient parking. Commenters generally liked the minimalist layout and landscape design of this scenario, while restricting access to the park continued to be a concern.
  • 25. Summary of Findings The Ideal Palisades Trailhead
  • 26. Of the five scenarios presented to meeting attendees, Scenarios 4 and 5 emerged as the clear favorites. In addition to being identified as the preferred design alternatives during the instant polling exercise, these plans also received the largest share of positive comments. A common theme identified during both the first and second public meetings was a desire for trailhead access improvements that limited the intrusion into surrounding natural open space.The smaller footprint of Scenarios 4 and 5, as well as their location directly off Robinson on the opposite side of the Billy Rogers Arroyo Park most closely achieve this requirement. Of all amenities included in each of the scenarios, the slip lane / drop- off area received the largest share of positive comments, suggesting that regardless of design, inclusion of such a lane is important to the successful design of the trailhead. With regard to negative comments received, the community has shared a concern that without a service gate restricting access to the service drive, off-roading motor vehicles will enter the park. As a result, inclusion of a service gate is critically important to preservation of the park’s natural features. Originally, a culvert providing both pedestrian and wildlife access was an included feature of the Water Utility stormwater improvement plans. However, when comparing instant polling results regarding importance of the culvert to importance of the cross-walk, meeting attendees felt that inclusion of the crosswalk was relatively more important.This finding suggests that a pedestrian-accessible culvert is not necessarily critical to the project so long as a crosswalk is provided. It is important to note, however, that a wildlife-accessible culvert is still a desired feature communicated by several charrette participants. SCENARIO 4 SCENARIO 5
  • 27. With regard to parking, it is clear from both the instant polling activity and the concept plan comments that attention to parking layout is important. However, opinions obtained regarding parking during both the first and second meetings were often at odds with other communicated priorities. Specifically, a clear concern for an inadequate number of spaces provided in each of the five scenarios was identified as an issue for many meeting attendees, despite clearly conveyed desire to limit the site’s footprint and intrusion into surrounding natural open space. One alternative cited by several meeting attendees was parallel parking along Robinson, however, given plans for the hike and bike trail, this solution may not be possible. A second alternative to the issue of insufficient parking during peak visiting hours is the use of the Tennis Club surface lot located in the Billy Rogers Arroyo Park as overflow parking. During the instant polling activity, meeting attendees were asked how likely they were to use Tennis Club parking to access the Palisades Trailhead.While approximately half stated that they were not at all likely to use the parking, the remaining half indicated they were at least somewhat likely to park at the Tennis Club. This finding suggests that a scope of work that includes a plan to clearly link the arroyo to the Palisades via wayfinding signs may address any on-site parking insufficiencies. SCENARIO 4 SCENARIO 5
  • 28. The Ideal Palisades Trailhead will include the following elements: A minimalist design, including a small footprint as illustrated by Scenarios 4 and 5. Both a gathering space and on-site parking. On-site parking should be well-hidden from street view using native vegetation. An overflow parking plan, such as use of the Tennis Club surface lot to include a wayfinding plan. A crosswalk that provides pedestrian safe connectivity between the Billy Rogers Arroyo Park, the new hike and bike trail along Robinson and the Palisades Trailhead. A slip lane that provides a drop-off point for school buses and other vehicles, as well as a safe means of ingress and egress to on-site parking. A service gate that restricts motor vehicle access to the existing service drive. A culvert under Robinson that is wildlife-accessible. SCENARIO 4 SCENARIO 5
  • 29. Public Art Preference Board Results Third Exercise
  • 30. Methodology Participants were provided with time to examine two boards filled with images of various types of public art. Each board was further divided into a set of categories Images on the Functional Art Board focused on these aspects of art design: 1. Seating 2. Gateways/Fencing 3. Markers/Identifiers Images on the Aesthetic Art Board focused on these aspects of art design: 1. Color 2. Materials 3. Location/Type Participants were provided 6 stickers to place on images they felt represented the kind of public art design they would like to see incorporated into the trailhead site. The remaining pages of this report summarize findings from this activity.
  • 31. Board One
  • 32. Board Two
  • 33. There were nearly twice as many choices made on the Functional Art board as on the Aesthetic Art board, suggesting that participants are more interested in seeing functional features of the site designed in an artistic way than spending funds on non-functional artwork. Examples of functional art include seating and trail markers. This finding reinforces findings from the instant polling exercise when two-thirds of meeting participants indicated they prefer functional over aesthetic art. Some general trends are evident from reviewing the results of this exercise: A general preference for the use of naturalistic materials and colors. Designs that are complementary to the surrounding natural environment, and do not draw as much attention to themselves. The artistic elements of amenities such as signage and furniture should be a secondary consideration after functionality. The following further explore results from the visual preference survey. Aesthetic 36% Functional 64% Preference for Functional or Aesthetic Art
  • 34. 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.9% 0.9% 0.9% 0.9% 0.9% 1.4% 1.4% 1.4% 1.8% 1.8% 1.8% 2.3% 2.3% 2.8% 2.8% 3.7% 4.6% 6.4% 7.8% 8.7% 8.7% 9.2% 9.6% 13.8% A1 A10 A3 F14 F7 A12 A14 A2 F16 F18 F3 F6 A17 A18 A5 A6 F15 F10 F12 F2 A11 A13 A9 A8 F4 A4 F11 A16 F8 F17 A7 A15 F13 F9 F5 F1 PictureID Total Board Breakdown TopChoicesBottomChoices A A A A AA F F F F F F Participants chose their favorite images from 36 total pictures, half of which were functional in nature, while the remaining half were purely aesthetic. When comparing results across all pictures, functional masonry and metal work that blends well with its surroundings was most often chosen as the favorite, while colorful aesthetic artwork more likely to be seen in an urban setting was least often identified as a favorite.
  • 35. 0% 0% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 2% 2% 2% 4% 4% 7% 10% 14% 14% 15% 21% 7 14 3 6 16 18 15 2 10 12 4 11 8 17 13 9 5 1 FunctionalArtworkPictureID Functional Art Preferences Top Choices Bottom Choices When taking a closer look at the at functional art preferences, previous findings are reinforced, suggesting that masonry work that blends well with its surroundings is the preferred style. Interestingly, although the an Entryway and Trail Markers were identified as the two most important amenities during the instant polling exercise, seating options were most often chosen as favorites during the preference board activity. This finding suggests that the community may be open to artwork that serves as an entryway and/or trail markers if that artwork takes on a style more similar to the seating options identified as Pictures 1 and 5.
  • 36. Top Choices Bottom Choices When taking a closer look at the at aesthetic art preferences, two of the top three options (i.e. Pictures 15 and 16) represent aesthetic art located on a functional amenity, and in this case, a wall and a pathway. This finding suggests that functional artwork is still a priority and that artistic elements ought to be considered second to the purpose of the amenity. More colorful artwork that uses non-native materials received no votes at all, reinforcing the previously communicated preference for natural materials and colors that blend well with the surrounding natural open space.0% 0% 0% 1% 1% 1% 3% 3% 3% 3% 5% 5% 5% 6% 8% 10% 22% 24% 1 3 10 2 12 14 5 6 17 18 9 11 13 8 4 16 7 15 AestheticArtworkPictureID Aesthetic Art Preferences
  • 37. Next Steps The results of the second public meeting are being provided to all departments and entities involved in elements of the Palisades project to ensure that the community’s preferences are heard and implemented in all aspects of trailhead design. Following coordination with the Water Utility and the Engineering Department, we will return to the community with a final trailhead design. Although a timeline has not yet been identified, please feel free to contact Elizabeth Gibson at GibsonEK@elpasotexas.gov for additional information. In the meantime, we will keep in touch with the community through periodic email updates.

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