Will the trolley at least break even or will the El Paso taxpayer make up the difference? While the idea of a downtown sound nice, the fiscal reality is a different story. I cannot seem to find on your website to address these issues realistically. Studies show that trolleys are money losers and the taxpayer is stuck with the bill
http://22.214.171.124/~epmpo/Rail/RailTransitStudy.pdf contains most of the materials relating to the study of a street-car line connecting downtown with the UTEP area… Studies have shown anywhere from a 3 to 11 or 1 to 27 Return on Investment relating to other cities installing steetcar lines. People who ride buses, ride buses but the ridership of fixed-rail mass transit is much, much larger.
In 1972 I was new to El Paso, but not to trolleys; those sensible vehicles had been my principal means of transportation in my old home town, Boston. That first year in El Paso was especially difficult for me as I was newly divorced, homesick, and it was Thanksgiving - a family time. And my family was two thousand miles away. The small family restaurant where I had planned to eat my holiday dinner was closed. That particular November day it was cloudy and old; I’m talking about both the weather and my psyche. Everyplace in downtown El Paso was closed and I sadly trudged the deserted streets with my head down. Suddenly something clanged - the trolley bell. In my doldrums I hadn’t noticed the tracks, or the oncoming trolley. I snapped to, jumped out of the way and hailed the driver. The doors slid open and I climbed aboard. Hey, I was on my way to sunny Mexico!
It wasn’t actually sunny in Juarez, not in the literal sense, but there was life! Juarenses husted along the avenue of that bustling city with no Thanksgiving Day to interrupt the flow. I disembarked on Avenida Juarez and walked to La Florida, a lovely restaurant framed in yellow and blue ceramic tile. Their comida corrida - Chicken soup, mole poblano, salad, coffee and flan - satisfied me a way that no turkey dinner ever did. I left there whistling as I walked to the International Bridge for by that time, thanks to my trolley excursion, even though it was still cloudy overhead, the sun was shining in my soul.
Are you really bringing back the Trolley or is this just a way of expressing yourself?
It started off as away to express to myself, to this community and to the world those values which define us as being from El Paso and Juarez, namely Border-Crossing… I do think as time moves forward and thinks get better in J-Town that a conversation should occur about how to unite with our sister city.
The El Paso Transnational Trolley Project presents...Temple To The Future Dec. 9th-11th 2011
DOWNTOWN BUILDING RECEIVES ARTIST FACELIFT
Bi-national local artists transform former Saddleblanket building and
conduct food & clothing drive to benefit the Rescue Mission of El Paso
EL PASO, TX (DECEMBER 8, 2011) – Organized by the El Paso Transnational Trolley Project, a visual arts campaign to bring cultural awareness for a transnational trolley system and border-crossing, a collection of regional artists from El Paso and Juarez will join forces to create an artistic borderland mural on the former Saddleblanket building located in Downtown El Paso (601 N. Oregon St.). They will also be conducting a food and clothing drive benefiting the Rescue Mission of El Paso.
What: “Temple to the Future” Artist Project and Food/Clothing Drive in Downtown El Paso
When: Friday, December 9, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. until
Sunday, December 11, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. (artist meet and greet)
Where: 601 N. Oregon St. (Former Saddleblanket Building)
If you’ve come across the mysterious black and white poster images of a trolley conductor in a classic trolley hat dotting various parts of downtown El Paso, then you’ve probably seen the work of visual artist, Peter Svarzbein.
The poster series entitled, The El Paso Transnational Trolley Project, “is a visual art campaign for a hypothetical transit system aimed at raising awareness of what one vision of the future could be,” says Svarzbein. “If commuters from El Paso and Juarez felt safe again commuting to and from both cities via a transnational trolley system.” Creating a vision of what the trolley used to be and where the idea could take El Paso and Ciudad Juarez is sparking conversations about the future of the region.
The project is ever evolving. During the weekend of October 14-16, 2011, at Chalk the Block, downtown’s signature public arts festival, Svarzbein presented “Faces of the Frontera,”a photo-mosaic of a trolley made up of 2000 portraits. “I have been making these portraits with black or white backgrounds to create a mosaic, patterned after one of the old electric streetcars that used to run between El Paso and Juarez to symbolize the relationship that has and should exist between our cities.”
Now, Svarzbein re-emerges with a new vision, “Temple to the Future.” Svarzbein has helped to organize a collection of bi-national local artists to present their artistic point of view of the future of the border on the former Saddleblanket building located in downtown El Paso (601 N. Oregon St.). “When I first started the El Paso Transnational Trolley Project, I envisioned covering the entire building in art and expression. I wanted the building to be a symbol of positivity towards the future of the El Paso borderplex.”
Peter Svarzbein’s work has appeared in Fortune Magazine, New York Times, Der Spiegel, Fusion Magazine, and other publications. He is a recent graduate from the Master of Fine Arts Program from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.