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View Poll Results: Do you think its a good idea?
YES 17 53.13%
NO 15 46.88%
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  #41  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbeiter View Post
Okay, the I-10 and 281 corridor. Both are growing. You know what I mean - I'm perfectly aware that La Cantera is over near Fiesta Texas and that 281 is several miles east of that. The way traffic patterns are in SA, I can't see how they're not unrelated either anyway.
I am talking about growth along 281 north of 1604. La Cantera has nothing to do with it. And in the grand scheme of things, traffic patterns are definitely unrelated when talking about I-10 and 281.
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  #42  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
LOL

So you'd be cool with having to crawl through that on a daily basis?

281 North bound lane, 1.2 miles before 1604.


I don't think you understand how much growth there's been along the 281 corridor in recent years.
Okay i have a question on this picture. That area is inside 1604 (Thousand oaks exit). Arnt these toll roads suppose to be placed on 281 north of 1604 and eventually along 1604 as well. If that is the case then that really does nothing to help the traffic along 281 with in the loop. The toll road will dump all the traffic back on "free highway". So what is the point of even having it. Yes lets pay to skip a few lights north of 1604, while the real problem is inside the loop, and must we not forget a highway intersection that does not even connect...
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  #43  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 12:41 AM
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The tolls add more lanes north of 1604, meaning there isn't a bottleneck effect. The tolls mean there will finally be an interchange at 281/1604, meaning traffic can flow much better. This will help relieve a lot of the problems that are faced inside of 1604 and outside of 1604 on 281.
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  #44  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
The tolls add more lanes north of 1604, meaning there isn't a bottleneck effect. The tolls mean there will finally be an interchange at 281/1604, meaning traffic can flow much better. This will help relieve a lot of the problems that are faced inside of 1604 and outside of 1604 on 281.
That is probably true temporarily, but chances are, it will foster more growth which will reinstate the bottleneck within 5-7 years. I can think of about a dozen examples of this happening in Texas alone.
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  #45  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 1:34 AM
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yes one example is sh 130 is building alot of growth to the east of austin
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  #46  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 1:37 AM
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Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
Free lanes are not being replaced.
in austin they are trying. they want to replace the free highways of 290 , 183 , 71, mopac, and even trying to make ih-35 in to toll. watch out SA your next. do not follow in austins bad footsteps
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  #47  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 1:38 AM
NormalgeNyus NormalgeNyus is offline
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Originally Posted by Dom"n"Converse View Post
Funny, I thought conservatives were the ones in power...
nah kirk watson is trying to make tolls everywhere yeah a few conservatives like rick perry are helping him
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  #48  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 1:39 AM
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Originally Posted by NormalgeNyus View Post
in austin they are trying. they want to replace the free highways of 290 , 183 , 71, mopac, and even trying to make ih-35 in to toll. watch out SA your next. do not follow in austins bad footsteps
If you're referring to CAMPO 2030, then you're right that they want to add toll infrastructure on previously free roads, but you're not paying attention to the details of the proposal. They're not going to suddenly put up a toll booth at Riverside and IH-35 and demand payment.

I have no problem with it in principle, personally, but to suggest that it would spread to SA is not true, because it is a CAMPO-led initiative which has no bearing on anything outside of CAMPO's regions. If anything, Austin's powerbrokers are a magnitude more activist and liberal than SA's.
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  #49  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 1:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbeiter View Post
That is probably true temporarily, but chances are, it will foster more growth which will reinstate the bottleneck within 5-7 years. I can think of about a dozen examples of this happening in Texas alone.
The development is going to go there (281 corridor) whether toll roads are built or not. I'd rather have toll roads ease traffic for the next decade or more than have to drive 281 with the current set up and the development being built anyway. That'll suck more.
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  #50  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 1:59 AM
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Originally Posted by NormalgeNyus View Post
yes one example is sh 130 is building alot of growth to the east of austin
There's a difference between that example and 281. 281 is already there, 281 has been exploding with growth in both population and commercial/retail development for the last 10 years. The tolls are going in for basic congestion relief for that particular corridor. Your example would be more inline to 151 in San Antonio, although 151 is not a toll road, it is a freeway. But after it was built and opened a couple of years ago it has resulted in lots of commercial development including three hospitals, two million plus mixed-use centers, etc. Another example could be 211 in far west SA/Bexar. Though plans are to toll it from 90 to Culebra eventually, there development is already there (25,000 homes under construction, 4+ million plus in retail) but I'm sure with it being tolled it would add more growth.

Last edited by sirkingwilliam; Dec 5, 2007 at 2:10 AM.
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  #51  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 2:01 AM
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Originally Posted by NormalgeNyus View Post
in austin they are trying. they want to replace the free highways of 290 , 183 , 71, mopac, and even trying to make ih-35 in to toll. watch out SA your next. do not follow in austins bad footsteps
Believe me, the Alamo RMA would never allow that to happen.
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  #52  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 3:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 21bl0wed View Post
I spend money on a lot more dumb things than toll roads so i have no problem spending a couple of dollars a day for driving on a road.
It adds up quickly. Ull prob spend around $300 bucks a year. Add tolls on to already rising gas prices and some people are gonna be in a world of hurt.
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  #53  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 4:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Texan101 View Post
It adds up quickly. Ull prob spend around $300 bucks a year. Add tolls on to already rising gas prices and some people are gonna be in a world of hurt.
But that's the cost it takes to get something built. Unless you want to increase the gasoline tax or raise taxes somewhere else, there's just no way to build all the roads you would want.

I don't buy that populist bullcrap about boo-hoo my world of hurt. Get a Prius. Ride your bike. Carpool. These are things you can do even in San Antonio or Austin. Oil as a cheap commodity should be a thing of the past.
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  #54  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 5:13 AM
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Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
Free lanes are not being replaced.
Exactly. FREE LANES ARE NOT BEING REPLACED. Understand that people. The tolls are in addition to roads that already exist. It won't take you any longer to take the free 3 lanes of access roads than it does to go up and down 281 right now and stop at all the stoplights. Or you have the option to take the toll road if you want a faster commute.
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  #55  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 5:49 AM
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I'm not one to let the truth get in the way of a good internets argument, but I get a kick out of pointing out factual inaccuracies put forth by people trying to make a point. Call it a character flaw if you'd like. In no particular order...

1. The photo is not of the Thousand Oaks 'exit'. That is indeed Thousand Oaks Blvd at the signalized intersection, however the line of cars exiting to the right would be the Donella/Henderson Pass Exit. The remaining four lanes of traffic not exiting the freeway are headded straight towards the area of 281 which is germaine to the debate here. in fact, there is only one exit remining (which is 1604 east/west) that all these drivers could take before they get to 281 north of 1604. This exit for 1604 being just 1/4 mile beyond the top of the photo, its likely that the majority of these commuters in the northbound lanes are continuing on north.

2. Using the pricing to show tolls would be a burden on drivers making the 22 mile roundtrip drive. Roundtrip pricing for the full 22 miles of 281 from 1604 to the Comal county line (an length not expected to be completed before 2017) was stated as about $20 a week. If a resident lived at the comal county line and worked in downtown SA, they commute roundtrip approximately 44 miles a day anyhow, and I can assure you that they already plan for expenses associated with their commute. Living out there and commuting to DT is a choice. Especially with gas costs and all - there are plenty of closer alternatives. Those that move to the area already factor in transportation costs to dt. My family lives in Sugar Land (Pecan Grove) and are not only happy to have the Westpark tollway to take into town, they could care less how many lights are on the free alternative.

3. No existing lanes are disappearing. 'Toll lanes' is actually a misnomer. the 281 N project is actually the addition of tolled 'express lanes.' There will be no additional stops and actually will include more non-tolled lanes than exist now. Of course the already constructed lanes will have to be moved out from their current position. Since you cant 'pick up' traffic lanes and physically move them, they will be demolished and rebuilt further out, to make room for the express lanes. This should provide for a better drive, as this will be a completely new road surface, with state-of-the-art engineering (drainage, lighting and signage) where currently stands an old county road never intended to carry urban traffic.

4. the existing lanes of 281 North of 1604 are not a freeway anyhow. They exist in a divided highway with stoplights at intersections. In Texas vernacular , freeway is any divided road with no signalized intersections and no at-grade cross-traffic. 281 north of 1604 does not currently meet that standard. It's a lose-lose game with the anti-toll folx. They demanded an upgrade to 281, saying that the at-grade crossings were a deathtrap (in many cases they were) and demanded those crossings be signalized. The county finds the few million dollars to do so, then the anti-toll folks cry fowl saying that its the traffic lights are whats causing the congestion.

5. Someone complained that their grandparents had already paid for 281 as is. The real anger should be directed at our legislators who are more interested in giving tax breaks to voters to secure re-election than sound transportation planning. It's these legislators who handed the homeowners of Texas a tax break in the last legislative session, and raided billions of dollars in gas taxes already marked for projects to balance the state budget. Also, this excursion in Iraq has resulted in belt tightening at the federal level that has already resulted in cancellation or delays in projects that were set to begin this year including upgrading 3009 between Nacogdoces and IH-35 and IH-10 between Huebner and 1604 to 6 lanes each way (from the current 3). So we're stuck with doing more with less and no one is pointing a finger at the real villans here - the lege.

6. Texboy claimed that the Upgrade/Expansion of 281 North was already paid for and the funding was diverted elsewhere. Not the case,and shows he doesn't have an understanding of how roads are actually funded. I'll assume he doesn't have a Masters in Public Admin, so its an understandable shortcoming. Brian from http://texhwyman.home.att.net/san.htm has already explained this point better than I could, so I'll use his words. " While public documents on 281 from around 2000 show that the original project to extend the 281 freeway from Sonterra to Stone Oak was "funded", laypeople have to understand that highway funding (and government funding in general) is a very peculiar beast. A "funded" project in transportation parlance means that TxDOT and/or the MPO have identified a time in the future when projected revenues (from all applicable sources) should be available to pay for a specific project, and they budget that expected revenue for that project. But that doesn't mean they actually have the money in-hand and have put it in an account just for that project, only that they expect to have it at a certain point in the future. Lots of things can happen between the time a project is "funded" and when it's actually let for contract. For instance, the expected revenue may not materialize (which is what we're seeing right now with the federal highway funding pull-back), another project may take priority and the funding reallocated to it, the queued project may increase in cost simply because of inflation and, thus, the revenue will be insufficient to fund it, or the project may be sidetracked for a while to allow for engineering changes, which can be caused by any number of things (the world is not static after all.) So the "funded" nomenclature is really just a simple way of saying "we plan to be able to pay for it during this timeframe". It's kinda like if I budget to go on a big vacation a year from now. What happens if I have to buy a new car instead, or if I lose my job? Life is dynamic, and sometimes even the best laid plans get changed through outside influences."

7. nano called the 281 north toll project a moneymaker for transnational corporations. I'd suggest reading the express-news on occasion, because Alamo RMA (Alamo Regional Mobility Authority - the agency overseeing the project) has said for a year now that they would build and manage the project. Of course they will have to hire a contractor to physically run the bulldozers and pavers and all, and that has already gone up for bid. You can see a list of consortium teams here: http://blogs.mysanantonio.com/weblog...ion%20List.pdf and there's not a foreign owned company anywhere near that list. Most are locally recognizable firms (unintech, raba-kistner, guerra-deberra-coody, etc). It's also codified in state law now that foreign firms cant build and run (lease-back) the 281 project. Specifically the 281 project. It has its own little law. That should help you feel better.

8. arbeiter said our infrastructure here was in good enough shape. Say the same thing after spending an hour to move 4 miles stuck in that mess. I did it far too many times last summer cause my ex lived out there. I'd have paid anything to not have been caught up in all that nonsense. But it's not about his opinion or mine for that matter. Not adequately planning for the future is what got us all in this mess in the first place. Its embarassing that Austin Texas, the state capitol and MSA of 1 million + just got a complete freeway (tolled and non-tolled) loop around the city what, last year? Think back a decade ago when the only freeways in Austin were 35 and MoPac - two parallel, non connecting freeways. I'm sure some people said that was adequate as well. Where would austin be today had they not been their usual progressive selves and voted to MOVE forward and plan the extensive system they have now.

9. Normalge from Austin raised the point about toll roads being the only option in some areas. Austin and SA are apples and oranges in many areas, including this. Were only talking about tolled express lanes in addition to upgrading the existing free lanes. Since the topic is about 'Toll Roads in SA' lets keep on tpic. It's not fair to raise issues that are only specific to Austin at this point. SA's starter system has no plans for tolled roads in areas where a free alternative does not exist. A good idea to further discuss your displeasure with toll only projects in the Austin area would be to start a thread, because in this already ridiculously complex issue, adding in non-relevant information for people to debate only clouds the issue. But maybe that was your intent.

10. Shertz mentioned tolling 35 into town. Again, and for the 100th time, no one, anywhere is planning that - In fact, I challenge you to provide a plan by a governmental agency with that in mind. What's been discussed, and nothing more yet, is the idea of adding tolled EXPRESS lanes, just like what 281 will get and what is planned for the median of 1604 on the north side. The number and miles of free lanes will remain. If you're going to be so passionate about something, I'd at least encourage you to be correct in what you're passionate about - least you run the risk of looking foolish.

11. I'm sure we all agree that the existing vehicle culture is not the best system, but its not going to change overnight and we have to make tough decisions. Whats more equitable than to have only those who chose to use certain roads pay for those roads?

Now that we have that mess cleaned up, I'm gonna stir up another hornets nest by my summation. I'm for it, even though through the year 2020 probably less than 10% of Bexar county residents will even drive on a portion of it weekly. If it helps them get around faster, great. Bully for them. I think the whole debate can go back to SA being the world's largest small town, and a majority of folx here having a small town mindset. I knew from day one that it would be a struggle getting the people here to wrap their heads around the concept of paying to drive on a road. All the other major cities in Texas have embraced the concept of tolls as part of a comprehensive transportation plan. All those cities have also chosen to include light/commuter rail as an option which is pretty progressive. no one will ever accuse SA of being progressive. But I might even be able to understand SOME of the concerns if we were talking tolls only, but the only plans even being discussed is tolled express lanes, and people here are up in arms. To me, thats about as far from being progressive as you can get.
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  #56  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 5:53 AM
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TXlifeguard, you bring some sense and articulation to the conversation. hear, hear. I don't agree with you necessarily about #8 - austin's infrastructure was much, much worse off than san antonio's highway system pre-130. i don't believe Austin will ever need to have a freeway downtown connecting each system like SA or Houston did, but either way, san antonio's not nearly as bad off as we were. until the early 2000's, we had probably 1/6th the highways SA did.
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  #57  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 6:49 AM
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I agree with Arbeiter, this was a well written piece of work, great job TXlifeguard.
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  #58  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 7:11 AM
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Lifeguard, good stuff. Though I have to disagree with your final paragraph. It's not San Antonio's small mentality that is fighting toll roads or not being able to wrap their heads around it. Heck, the people who started the anti-toll group for SA are former Californians who relocated to SA in recent years. Of course there are many native San Antonians who are fighting the tolls but most are being feed a heaping bowl of garage that fuels their hatred for toll roads.
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  #59  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 7:35 AM
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Looks like the tolls will be ready by 2010, if not sooner.

Quote:
First toll lanes on 281 set for December 2010

Web Posted: 12/04/2007 11:43 PM CST
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/met....6b25d27e.html

Patrick Driscoll
Express-News

Just one day after getting more public funds to help pay for a planned U.S. 281 tollway, a local agency Tuesday set a schedule to open the first toll lanes in December 2010.

Those 4 miles will run from Loop 1604 past Stone Oak Boulevard, according to the timetable approved by the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority board.

Another 4 miles, to Comal County, would open in June 2012, six years ahead of a calendar used in a finance study that had all 8 miles opening in stages from 2011 to 2018.

“The timeline schedule that we set on this is just screaming,” authority Chairman Bill Thornton said.

The tollway could open even sooner if the contractor works fast, collecting $10,000 for each day shaved off of each of the project's two segments.

But if the contractor's late, daily penalties would be $10,000 for the first 4 miles and $20,000 for the rest.

Motorists will ride free the first two months and pay just half-price the third month when each section opens. Full fees in 2012 will be 17 cents per mile for cars and will rise annually with consumer inflation.

The existing highway lanes will be replaced with non-toll access roads.

“Nobody wants to pay tolls,” board member Reynaldo Diaz said. “It's just a fact of life, it's going to happen.”

On Monday, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, an intergovernmental board that signs off on area tollway and highway projects, voted 12-4 to approve U.S. 281 toll rates.

The MPO board also shifted $43 million in public funds from other toll projects to help pay for U.S. 281 toll lanes. A total of $112 million in public money will subsidize the $476 million cost to ramp the system up.
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  #60  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2007, 7:42 AM
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281 toll video:

YouTube - Proposed US 281
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