For Immediate Release: Friday, April 6, 2012
Edinburg’s West McIntyre Streetscape Project, a key element of downtown revitalization effort, set for public hearing on Thursday, April 12
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Edinburg residents on Thursday, April 12, will have the opportunity to review exhibits, documents, and other materials relating to the city’s planned $1,954,046 transformation of West McIntyre Street, from South 4th Street to South 10th Street, into a pedestrian-friendly, environmentally-appealing corridor that will help promote business development, cultural activities, transportation, and tourism for the city’s downtown.
The latest development of this project is part of a larger vision for significantly improving job-creation and quality-of-life issues, known as the Downtown Master Plan, finalized in June 2010 under the leadership of the Edinburg City Council and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.
The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.
The downtown master plan is available online at: www.cityofedinburg.com/dtmp.php
On Tuesday, April 2, the Edinburg City Council approved an inter-local agreement with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council that will allow both entities to partner on work to be funded by the almost $2 million Federal Transit Administration Section 5307 grant, which was secured by Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes.
The total funding for the project includes a 20 percent match from the city, valued at almost $391,000, which includes a $190,858 in-kind match from the city for engineering design, and a $199,951 cash contribution from the city, which is available from a special fund previously set up for downtown improvements.
The FTA grant was awarded through the LRGVDC to provide federal funds for engineering and architectural service and construction cost for enhancements for the envisioned pedestrian walkway, a major component of the West McIntyre Streetscape Project that, among several goals, will tie into the future construction of a transit terminal to be built on the corner of South 6th Street and West University Drive.
Work to be funded by the FTA grant will include:
• Sidewalks and street improvements/additions, including ADA ramps, signage, and curbs and gutters (improves/adds paths to transit shelters and along transit paths);
• Contingencies, such as trees, benches, pavers, lighting, and bike racks/stations (beautification and safety, and night-time functionality); and
• Water system, drainage, and related sanitary/sewer collection improvements such as manholes, pipes, asphalt repair (water management and flooding mitigation on pedestrian paths to transit).
The public hearing for the West McIntyre Streetscape Project, which is being sponsored by the City Manager’s Office, the city’s Department of Public Works, and the city’s Department of Planning and Zoning, will begin at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 415 West University Drive.
“Among the highlights for the April 12 public hearing will be the displaying of the exhibits and renderings for this project by our consulting engineers, Quintanilla, Headley and Associates, Inc., of Edinburg, for review by our citizens,” said Mayor Richard García, who also serves as the president of EEDC’s five-member governing board. “A few days following that public hearing, we hope to have those materials and related information on the city’s website for the everyone’s viewing and further analyses.”
The mayor noted some advanced details of the West McIntyre Streetscape Project were included in the city council’s agenda packet for the April 3 public meeting. That agenda packet is available online by logging on to http://www.cityofedinburg.com/councilagendas.php
and downloading the agenda packet for that date.
Agenda items IX. A (Federal Transit Administration) and IX. E (Downtown Revitalization) deal with the latest developments on the West McIntyre Streetscape Project.
“If all goes according to plan, the city will complete the design for the project, set it out for construction bids, and hopefully begin construction by the summer,” the mayor added.
Highlights of the West McIntyre Streetscape Project follow:
This project will utilize FY 2009 5307 funds for pedestrian improvements along transit routes in Edinburg.
The project location is along McIntyre Street to the east and west of Edinburg City Hall, stretching about 1,200 feet bounded by South 5th Avenue and South 10th Avenue.
Four transit routes travel through this street. The street will not be closed, but will be open for regular vehicular access (multiple uses for transit, fire engineers, and regular automotive traffic). There will be two bus passenger shelters, eight bike stations, 18 benches, trash receptacles, and transit information signage along the sidewalk
The project is expected to benefit the transit system in several ways.
From the perspective of a potential (bus) ride, it will improve the visibility of transit – the average person, with no experience using public transportation, will become aware that it exists. This is especially crucial in Edinburg because public transportation needs to expand.
In addition, the pathway to the bus shelters will be enhanced, adding to the desirability and convenience of walking to the bus shelters to use the bus service. Riders who are in wheelchairs will have a wider path to navigate to reach the bus stops. Also, adverse weather conditions, such as flooding caused by heavy rain, will not present an obstacle to people walking the path because of improved drainage.
The improvements will merge seamlessly with other goals anticipated in the city’s downtown master plan, including the future construction of the transit (and potential rail) terminal. The Lower Rio Grande Valley Human Service-Public Transit Coordination Plan (2011) identifies the need for a five to six fixed route bus system in addition to current service. The improvements that are part of the FTA grant to Edinburg will provide the basic infrastructure for this future expansion.
The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Dr. Glenn Martínez as Vice-President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, Felipe García, and Jaime A. Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to www.EdbgCityLimits.com