Trails provide pedestrian safety for one parent

May 14, 2021

A father expresses his thoughts on the need to support trails in our community for the safety of children, in a recently published El Paso Times Opinion section. To learn more about the Paso del Norte Trail, visit

Support mixed-use trails

Previous letters published in the Times have discussed El Paso’s limited pedestrian infrastructure, preventable pedestrian deaths, and local enforcement. According to Smart Growth America, El Paso ranks 20th out of 100 metros across the U.S. for most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians. As a father of two children, ages seven and nine, I worry every time my kiddos ride their bikes around the neighborhood. I can teach safety and risk mitigation to my children, but I can’t do the same with every El Paso driver.

One safe transportation option for youth in El Paso is the Paso del Norte Trail. Other waterways are also on their way to becoming designated Safe Routes to School. While El Paso has historically focused investments in streets, parks, and recreational facilities, what is missing in El Paso are safer transportation alternatives such as mixed-use trails on waterways and other utility rights-of-way. By design, these trails are constructed remotely from roads and vehicles, reducing the likelihood of pedestrian-car collisions.

El Paso, let’s keep this conversation going. Let’s support the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in securing state and federal grant funds to build these trails for our kids. Let’s attend TxDOT public meetings and request that more transportation dollars be allocated to safe transportation alternatives. Let’s call our City Representatives and ask them to allocate local funding to prioritize and fund trail construction. Let’s do something—today— to ensure that transportation is designed and built not just for cars but for El Pasoans instead.

Omar Martinez


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