By Steve Walker
Nearly all of San Antonio’s regional centers and urban centers are located along or at the intersection of major transportation corridors.
Our region is experiencinganexploding increase of our growth.It is predicted that by 2040, (I will be 94 then) Bexar County is projected to add over 1.1 million people and 500,000 jobs. When and where the new housing and new jobs are located over the next 25 years will determine how big a major impact on San Antonio and ourquality of life will be.
If guided properly, this influx of new residents and workers will enhance our City and positively impact our options for how we live, work, and get around.
Successfully implementing the SA Tomorrow vision means rethinking those corridors like McMullen Corridor. We need all of our corridors to provide safe and comfortable access and mobility, serve as attractive gateways and frame compact, walkable mixed-use development. They will also be targeted for higher-density housing and more employment opportunities. A multi-objective and multi-layered approach to corridor improvements can help ensure they are safe, comfortable and attractive for those future residents, employees and nearby existing residents.
Attractive and regional urban centers are connected together.However the corridors must serve more than just a transportation function. They include premium transit service to help manage congestion and bolster safe, convenient and affordable transportation options.
VIA’s Vision 2040 comprehensive transit plan calls for five priority Primo bus corridors to expand on the existing Primo bus route on Fredericksburg Road; the existing Primo route on Fredericksburg Road is planned for Primo Plus or service.
Many of the community’s major transportation connections are auto-oriented and difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate. Our transportation corridors should serve multiple modes of transportation and better balance the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit patrons, motorists and freight vehicles.
Allowing a certain mode of transportation or even providing a dedicated facility for pedestrians or cyclists may not be sufficient. The quality and condition of pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure contributes greatly to the attractiveness, safety and use of these facilities.
For example, a narrow sidewalk with no buffer between pedestrians and speeding traffic, no landscaping and no furnishings will be less attractive, safe and used than a wider sidewalk with attractive lighting, benches and a wide planted buffer with large street trees. In anticipation of our projected growth in 25 years, my wish is to be alive to see that reality. They say that miracles do sometimes happen! I can hope!
As Always, I write just a thought.
Steve Walker is a Viet Nam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace.