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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2010, 2:13 AM
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Downtown vision falls short

Quote:
Web Posted: 03/07/2010 12:00 CST
Downtown vision falls short

Robert Rivard


As Castro noted, San Antonio is a growing place, and with San Diego, Calif., now in the rearview mirror, in terms of the nation's largest cities, Philadelphia will be the next city we pass.

The big screen above the stage fills with a city map showing Madison's comprehensive network of bike lanes, despite the city's long winters.

Then she turns to San Antonio's patchwork of bike lanes and says the map communicates one message to local cyclists: Don't even think about riding in this city.

While the mayor has been speaking passionately about the “Decade of Downtown” and others in the Downtown Alliance have joined him in supporting imaginative and ambitious plans for the future inner city, the sad truth is that the rhetoric is not being matched by action.

In the coming year, both Hildebrand and Mulberry avenues, both of which cross and connect the city's key north-south avenues — Broadway, McCullough and San Pedro — will be closed for long periods to undertake major drainage improvement projects.

The newly constructed streets will include some additional right of way, yet city engineers have no plans to add bike lanes to either Hildebrand or Mulberry, which bracket Brackenridge Park.

...
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/loc...lls_short.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2010, 3:20 AM
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He brings up good points but I think its being somewhat unfair to Castro;
He is the one that said that SA needs to grow up and start acting like a world-class city.
Just to hit on one topic though:
I know the core has a long way to go to match up to the some other cities, but we don't necessarily need to match them on every level, we could counter with one better.
I know most cities here in the US have dedicated bike lanes on streets, but in some parts overseas, they share a lane with pedestrians on sidewalks.
In Korea and Japan, the sidewalks are a couple feet wider and are split; peds on the inner portion, bikes by the curb, and bikes follow pedestrian laws so that there is no confusion. They also don't secure their bikes over there either, but thats another topic.
It solves their problem over there, and it could here as well. We have a habit of building sidewalks where they aren't really needed (like off of Airport Blvd, just as an example.) Why not give it to bikes for now? and then if it becomes more popular later, we can worry about the dedicated lanes.

As for the other problems:
I think one problem is being targeted (slowly, but it is,) housing is coming online; Steel House Lofts should come online by next spring and Hemisview Village (Durango Phase) should have its first residents by the fall. 500-600+ new residents does make a difference.
But, the city does need to make a decision as to what they want Center City to be and have a full plan out that creates a city out of the "old" suburbs.
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Last edited by miaht82; Mar 8, 2010 at 3:54 AM.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2010, 3:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miaht82 View Post
We have a habit of building sidewalks where they aren't really needed (like off of Airport Blvd, just as an example.) Why not give it to bikes for now? and then if it becomes more popular later, we can worry about the lanes.
I'm tired of seeing suburban areas with literally zero pedestrian activity get beautiful sidewalks while central city districts where people actually use the sidewalks have to pull teeth to get anything of the sort.
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2010, 3:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keep-SA-Lame View Post
I'm tired of seeing suburban areas with literally zero pedestrian activity get beautiful sidewalks while central city districts where people actually use the sidewalks have to pull teeth to get anything of the sort.
Just in case someone wants to walk along the I-10 access road from Ashley Furniture to HEB or Home Depot.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2010, 4:37 AM
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I don't think this means the end of anything. Just another step in realizing how much more the city needs to mature.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2010, 4:47 PM
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The sidewalk thing irks me. There's been an issue with sidewalks in Government Hill since I was born almost 28 years ago, but not a single mayor really pays attention. And to top it all off, they ripped up the asphalt and never put down more on stretches of Mason, Muncey and Palmetto. Though if you've been on Palmetto north of 35, you'd know it never really had great paving or sidewalks to begin with.
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2010, 2:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miaht82 View Post
He brings up good points but I think its being somewhat unfair to Castro;
He is the one that said that SA needs to grow up and start acting like a world-class city.
Just to hit on one topic though:
I know the core has a long way to go to match up to the some other cities, but we don't necessarily need to match them on every level, we could counter with one better.
I know most cities here in the US have dedicated bike lanes on streets, but in some parts overseas, they share a lane with pedestrians on sidewalks.
In Korea and Japan, the sidewalks are a couple feet wider and are split; peds on the inner portion, bikes by the curb, and bikes follow pedestrian laws so that there is no confusion. They also don't secure their bikes over there either, but thats another topic.
It solves their problem over there, and it could here as well. We have a habit of building sidewalks where they aren't really needed (like off of Airport Blvd, just as an example.) Why not give it to bikes for now? and then if it becomes more popular later, we can worry about the dedicated lanes.

As for the other problems:
I think one problem is being targeted (slowly, but it is,) housing is coming online; Steel House Lofts should come online by next spring and Hemisview Village (Durango Phase) should have its first residents by the fall. 500-600+ new residents does make a difference.
But, the city does need to make a decision as to what they want Center City to be and have a full plan out that creates a city out of the "old" suburbs.
Cities can't act like "world class cities". They have to do acts that make them "world class". Hopefully one day San Antonio will figure out their is a price to annexation and developing all that cheaper land out around the loops. San Antonio has sooo much potential and energy and viberance. Hopefully it will start living into it's potential and towards becoming a world class city.

Rather than building a new sports stadium and re-doing the re-do of the re-do of Hemisphere, put some money into some retail/grocery downtown in a private/city project including office and condo and apartments. Think rail. And start charging new development for all their infrastructure needs and upgrades.
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2010, 3:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago3rd View Post
Rather than building a new sports stadium and re-doing the re-do of the re-do of Hemisphere, put some money into some retail/grocery downtown in a private/city project including office and condo and apartments. Think rail. And start charging new development for all their infrastructure needs and upgrades.
I was hoping this is what would come out of the proposed Centro Partnership.
Perhaps that project could be on Hemisfair Park and tie in with rail as the proposed East-West line will run right through the park.
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2010, 8:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago3rd View Post
Hopefully one day San Antonio will figure out their is a price to annexation and developing all that cheaper land out around the loops. San Antonio has sooo much potential and energy and viberance. Hopefully it will start living into it's potential and towards becoming a world class city.
To me, this is a big problem with the city. The idea of increasing the city's coffers by expansion instead of working with a more manageable area and improving quality; thereby increasing property values.

Does anyone know how the city plans to deal with future annexation? I imagine it's probably full speed ahead. I would like to see them say enough is enough, and anyone outside of the city can incorporate into their own town/city.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2010, 2:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kornbread View Post
To me, this is a big problem with the city. The idea of increasing the city's coffers by expansion instead of working with a more manageable area and improving quality; thereby increasing property values.

Does anyone know how the city plans to deal with future annexation? I imagine it's probably full speed ahead. I would like to see them say enough is enough, and anyone outside of the city can incorporate into their own town/city.
Couldn't agree with you more.
Couldn't find anything specific to future annexation.
Heres what I found in the City Master Plan:

Quote:
Goal 3 Develop policies to minimize the negative impact and maximize the benefit from development located outside and adjacent to San Antonio’s city limits.
Policy 3a: Pursue a systematic annexation process to promote
orderly growth and the provision of municipal
services, and to preserve the City’s positive fiscal
position.
1. Develop a proposed three year annexation plan that is
reviewed, updated and adopted annually by the City
Council.
2. Define and publicize the benefits of annexation.
3. Encourage growth to occur inside the city limits;
however, if it is to occur in the extraterritorial
jurisdiction, encourage development to occur in areas
contiguous to the city limits.
4. Involve both CPS and the San Antonio Water System
in the development of the City’s growth and
annexation policies.
5. Provide an adequate level of municipal services to
keep up with population growth and annexation.
Policy 3b: Oppose the creation of new municipalities, special
purpose districts and water or wastewater utilities within the extraterritorial jurisdiction except where the City cannot provide the necessary services.
but it seems that they forgot to add something to Goal 1....
Quote:
Goal 1 Utilize City resources and authority to manage growth and development.
Policy 1g: Continue to make physical improvements in the inner
city to encourage redevelopment and infill
development.
1. Build or rebuild adequate infrastructure before new
development occurs.
what about maintaining it? or ensuring that it's adequete?

The last annexation that I can find was 1604/Culebra @ 38 acres in 2006. The only thing since then has been disannexation of ~ 50 sq. miles.

But just like you said, I would like for them to focus on quality.
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2010, 6:58 PM
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"Robert Rivard"

Is this a story or just a long rant from a biker.

For starters two of his main examples; drainage improvements on Mulberry and Hildebrand are poorly represented.

1. Hildebrand does not have the ROW for bike lanes on 80% of his example
2. These drainage projects are ridiculously exspensive and people would be suprised about how much an extra 4'-5' of pavement on each side of the roadway would cost on some projects that are already lacking adequate funding.
3. The bridges that are going to be built on Mulberry are going to be built wide enough to accomodate possible future bike lanes.
4. These are drainage projects.

The city evaluates all Capital Improvement projects to see if it will be cost effective to upgrade or build other infrastructures as part of the same project. I use to have to go to all of these meetings when I worked at CIMS and sometimes you can't always do what you want to.

I don't know who is the public Works Bike coordinator now, but when I went to the meetings there was someone from bikes there always lobbying. Sometimes they would win and sometimes they knew that they wouldn't.

To switch speeds a little, I do understand (to an extent) the "bikers" issue, but to compare SA's City Bike paths (that are a relatively new thing) to Madison (one of the most progressive cities in the country) is a little ridiculous.

It is going to take time and a lot of money to have a comprehensive bike network in SA. It isn't going to happen over night and it also doesn't help that most of the tax payers in the area couldn't care less...

but sometimes politicians have to do what is right not popular.

Take it easy Mr. Rivard San Antonio is a monster of a certain type of values, progressive not being on of them. It is going to take time.
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2010, 4:09 AM
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This is a weak and very misleading article and typical of what I have come to expect from Mr. Rivard. His piece on MJ, dated 07/05/2009, was a real jewel.
What I would like to know is, what does having bike lanes at Hildebrand and Mulberry have to do with the downtown vision. I haven't visited Brackenridge Park in years, but I do not remember seeing bike paths there either. What he fails to mention is there are several bike and jogging trails either U/C or planned in SA. His article says nothing about what is or is not happening in DT. What a clown.
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2010, 5:00 AM
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I think the article was just using those streets as an example that with the new construction happening on them they should have added bike lanes while they were doing the construction. I agree it is sort of odd since they aren't downtown which the title indicated what the subject was about. But I think they were just using them as an example for what could be happening in downtown and elsewhere in the city.

Also, bike paths such as ones shared by joggers, are not urban bike routes. They shouldn't really count as transportation routes for bicyclists, since they're strictly for recreational purposes. They're fine for mountain bikes, but do not work well for road bikes. I would never use a bike path as a viable route to get somewhere on a bicycle, unless I was riding for recreation, and not strictly for transportation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by STLtoSA
To switch speeds a little, I do understand (to an extent) the "bikers" issue, but to compare SA's City Bike paths (that are a relatively new thing) to Madison (one of the most progressive cities in the country) is a little ridiculous.
Agreed. I wouldn't even compare Austin to Madison which the article tried to do. What I think it was trying to say is that San Antonio should aspire to be like Madison in that way. At least look at what they did and get some ideas from them. Since Madison is arguably the most bike friendly city in America, it makes since to pay attention to what they're doing in that area. It's just a matter of wanting to get ideas from the best.
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