SAN ANTONIO – Funding for a bike lane project got a unanimous vote from the San Antonio City Council on Thursday, though it had split sentiment.
The $6 million in Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone money that the City Council voted to authorize will pay for protected bike lanes on portions of Avenue B and Alamo Street. It’s not a standalone project, though.
“Everybody believes we should have protected bike lanes on Avenue B and Alamo. So that’s really not in question,” said District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales from the dais. “The question was always the bike lanes on Broadway.”
The voter-approved bond project for the Broadway Street corridor between East Houston Street and Hildebrand Avenue is meant to reconstruct the street with “curbs, sidewalks, driveway approaches, bicycle amenities, lighting, drainage and traffic improvements as appropriate and within available funds.”
Though the city plans to have protected bike lanes along the upper stretch, city staff members say the lower stretch of Broadway inside I-35 is too small to accommodate the lanes.
A recent traffic report on Broadway Street, between Pecan Street and I-35, concluded the following: “Trying to accommodate all modes of transportation into a 78-foot cross section will lead to poor operations for all modes, as well as create safety issues throughout the corridor.”
The Avenue B/Alamo project is meant to complement that downtown stretch of Broadway, providing a parallel, protected pathway for bicyclists.
“It's still one, you know, protected bike path from Houston all the way to Hildebrand, which I think is great,” Assistant City Manager Rod Sanchez told reporters after the council vote.
Still, some council members, including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, appeared frustrated by the lake of lanes on the lower section of Broadway.
“On this dais, it feels like we’ve heard every bureaucratic excuse in the book to building anything other than a car-centric road in the heart of downtown,” Nirenberg said before the vote.
Councilman Roberto Trevino, whose District 1 contains the section of Broadway in question, supports the protected lanes being built on the parallel streets instead of on that portion of Broadway.
“What we’ve offered here is a good option. It’s a safe option. It’s a funded option,” Trevino told council members.
Despite the arguing, the path forward appears to be relatively settled, with Sanchez saying that with this direction from the City Council and city staff will proceed with the Avenue B project.