Letter: El Paso bests Asheville on transportation, crime

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Having spent time in El Paso, Texas, I am struck by interesting comparisons to Asheville. El Paso has a much larger population and block area, but virtually no traffic. … How could a larger population be less congested? Cars seem to coast through unimpeded. Though downtown has some nice restaurants. The bus system in El Paso is much better. It has numerous transit centers: [avl.mx/a6z].

These transit centers are extremely clean and efficient, unlike the single downtown transit center in Asheville, which is extremely dirty and boasts little indoor seating. El Paso transit centers rely on a large, indoor seating area and well-designed bus-loading islands. In addition, police or security regularly do sweeps of buses at transit centers like Five Points; a security professional boards and walks through the bus.

Another comparison: No jaywalking. Locals in El Paso seem afraid of jaywalking, standing at a corner to wait for a light to change even if there is no traffic. Though the population is much larger, there is rarely any crowding, and when there are crowds, such as at the Christmas festival at San Jacinto Plaza, the crowd is nearly all local Latin Americans, and it’s fun. They put lights everywhere and set up an outdoor ice-skating rink for children. In addition, the people dress better in El Paso. … Even adults in Asheville appear dressed for Little League.

Finally, El Paso rates the lowest crime of any major American city. Comparing the two, you are left wondering, are these [people] not doing things better? …

— J.M. Snyder


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

8 thoughts on “Letter: El Paso bests Asheville on transportation, crime

  1. Big Al

    Not a fair comparison. El Paso is also an ARMY town serving Fort Bliss, so many of the locals are more self-disciplined and conventional than the anti-establishment hippies, hipsters, potheads, poets and potters that infest Asheville, or the boozy cool-bros that frequently invade it.

    Jaywalking is a crime in El Paso, but a pastime in Asheville.

    Diversity in El Paso is a white dude with a crewcut, while here it is a white dude with dreadlocks.

  2. Lou

    You couldn’t pay me enough to move to Texas. Nasty place, nasty governor, electrical grid shot.

  3. luther blissett

    “Another comparison: tacos. So much better than Asheville tacos. Why is that? What can Asheville learn from El Paso’s tacos?” *

    A city on the border with Mexico that has seven times the population of Asheville is different than Asheville? Well, that’s certainly an observation. Land of contrasts, I guess. Weird how visiting a city as a tourist is different than living there, too. Makes you think. I went to Seattle and they had ferries. Ferries! Ferries are so cool. Why doesn’t Asheville have ferries?

    Snark aside: El Paso (pop. 680,000) and Juarez (pop. 1.5 million) are a single entity divided by an international border. There are thousands of commuters either way each day, and pedestrian crossings are way easier than vehicular ones so a transit system needs to accommodate that.

    There are things that cities of nearly 700,000 people can do more easily than cities of nearly 100,000: things that they need to do to ensure they don’t completely come apart at the seams. There are economies of scale. There is broader buy-in. Some cities of that size do it much better than others. But Asheville has very specific challenges for a city of nearly 100,000 people tied to the tax base and the lines on the map.

    * with apologies to Taqueria Muñoz, whose tacos are great

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.