City approves redirection of South Flores bike lanes
District 3 residents said lanes caused congestion, safety issues
The San Antonio City Council Thursday approved the redirection of approximately 2.3 miles of bike lanes on South Flores.
Area residents complained that the lanes caused major traffic problems, and the road was unsafe for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
"I live on South Flores. I shop on South Flores. I get my hair cut on South Flores," said Ruben Espronceda. "Now it's a pain to go down South Flores."
The $700,000 project comes almost a year after the city paid nearly $1 million to install the bike lanes along the busy South Side thoroughfare.
The city will redirect the lanes to Mission Road. Cyclists following bike lanes south on Flores will now have to go east on Theo or Malone in order to connect with the bike lanes on Mission Road.
Since the beginning of the year, Espronceda has collected nearly 800 signatures from residents demanding the city expand South Flores back to its original four lanes of traffic.
Residents also claimed that local businesses were losing customers because people would rather shop somewhere else than deal with the traffic.
"There are people that are avoiding coming on Flores Street and having to take extra miles getting to where they're going because they don't want to fight to get on Flores," said Beverly Clark.
Bicyclists argued that removing the lanes will make the road less safe because some bike riders will still take South Flores even if it means mingling with traffic.
"You pray that you don't get hit," said Rodolfo Galvez. "I don't like that feeling. I want to be on my bike and understand and know that I'm safe."
"That doesn't make financial sense," said District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, the lone council member to vote no. "Everybody should have an equal opportunity to get to where they're going regardless of whether or not they have a driver's license."
The bike lanes were installed before District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran was voted into office, but she immediately received complaints from area residents.
"What we have here is an area that is unsafe for schools," she said before voting to approve the redirection.
The city estimates the project will take about six months to complete, but an official start date has yet to be determined.
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