Architect reaching back to past to take San Antonio into future

Antonio Petrov wants to build Skyride in SA

SAN ANTONIO – If a local architect has his way, the past will be a part of the future when it comes to transportation on Broadway. 

Dr. Antonio Petrov, from the UTSA College of Architecture, presented a concept at the Institute of Texas Cultures Thursday that is not a pie-in-the-sky idea. It is actually something that he believes can ease a problem and create some fun in the process. 

Petrov wants to build a Skyride in the same vein as the one that used to crisscross Hemisphere Park during the World Fair in 1968 and the one that used to operate at the zoo.

At first when Petrov was confronted with the challenge he looked at all the ground options, including light rail, but came to the conclusion that they were not feasible.

"Broadway is limited in its size," Petrov said.

After a little brainstorming, Petrov and his group looked to the heavens and came up with an idea. 

"We were like 'OK, let’s go up in the air. Let’s think about how we could travel along Broadway being up in the air'," Petrov said. "So we started to think about different ideas and concepts."

They also had a little history to look back on since there were two skyrides in San Antonio's past to study. 

Petrov wants to make visiting downtown and all its features easier for tourists and locals.

"(We want to) connect all the cultural markers of the city," Petrov said.

The first phase of the project would run from near Travis Park to Hildebrand Avenue, about 3 1/2 miles with six stops.

"(You could) go to all the museums on one ticket," Petrov said, "You could go to the zoo. You could go to the Doseum. You could go to the Tobin, and it is all within one transportation system."

Eventually Petrov would like to see the Skyride expand two more phases, making it all the way to the airport.

In the meantime, Petrov said he is not sure of the cost since there is still more research to be done, including how to obtain the land. 

He would love to have all that figured out and phase one completed in five to six years.

Petrov’s immediate goal is to get feedback from the residents of San Antonio and the surrounding area.

"We wanted Broadway to become like a space that is thought, imagined and transformed by its citizens." Petrov said.

The exhibit continues through April 16 at the Institute of Texas Cultures.

"We felt very strongly about this notion of experiencing the horizon of San Antonio," Petrov said.

About the Author:

David Sears, a native San Antonian, has been at KSAT for more than 20 years.