When construction and parking issues collide on UTEP game day


With a big football game about to start, parking is hectic near UTEP. Construction completely shut down Cincinnati Street right by the bars.

The owner of Rockin Cigar said it's ugly and an inconvenience, but the bar isn't losing customers over it. He says every bar on the street is full every night, especially on a UTEP game day.

Last month, Rockin' Cigar had the best month ever since it opened in the beginning of December 2015. The owner said the number of customers is much higher that the number last year. He said if UTEP has a good season, they do better because the fans show up.

"Tonight, I expect that we will have a crowd right before the game and then it would get a little quiet," said owner Frank J. Ricci Jr. "Then, after the game, the place, the whole street actually, goes crazy on Saturday nights. This is the place to be in El Paso for entertainment."

"I was actually for it because before they started the construction, it was just the parking lot and the streets, and the concrete was already messed up and ugly. People didn't really want to come," said West El Paso resident Daniel Aburto.

Next month, you will start seeing parking meters around the Cincinnati Street and UTEP area. In November, you will see bike racks and street furniture. But on Saturday, several UTEP fans said getting to the big football game was tough even though Sun Bowl Stadium wasn't packed.

Of course, every parking spot is taken,” said East El Paso resident Al Acosta.

"I took, like, 10 minutes trying to find parking. It's just a matter of patience,” Aburto said.

"Either you pay for the parking or you just try to park out here,” Acosta said.

Acosta wanted to time how long it would take to walk to the game.

"Six minutes from here to where we actually parked. And from Cincinnati Street to the stadium, another15 minutes, probably,” Acosta said.

"I'm just kind of disappointed because I've been out of college for a long time, but I see all these people who have these 'can't park in front of my house' signs,” said Central El Paso resident Ronnie Hernandez.

CBS4 saw that multiple cars got tickets while parked in front of houses during Saturday’s game.

"I just don't think it's fair," Hernandez said.

"We basically parked in an area where there was no signs,” said Acosta.

This week, the city of El Paso told stakeholders the construction on Cincinnati Street is on schedule to wrap up in late November.

"It’s kind of tough and troublesome for some people right now, but in the long run, everything is going to be so much better,” Aburto said.

Cincinnati Street will have an archway going across it that says "Kern Place.’" At the end of September, construction will start on the block between Stanton Street and Alley Street to the east.

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