City parks Broadway plan as TxDOT holds firm on keeping existing lanes

City says the plan - and $65M in local funds - to redevelop the corridor are “on hold” as state comes up with its own design

The City of San Antonio’s plan to redevelop Broadway as a “complete street” with bike lanes, expansive sidewalks and landscaping has come to a halt.

San Antonio – The City of San Antonio’s plan to redevelop Broadway as a “complete street” with bike lanes, expansive sidewalks and landscaping has come to a halt.

But whether it’s a dead end or just a red light remains to be seen.

After a meeting Thursday with the heads of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Transportation Commission, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in an emailed statement, “We learned today that TxDOT’s priority is not improving traffic flow and mitigating congestion, it’s all about six lanes of asphalt, regardless of capacity.”

“TxDOT tells us they will work on a plan that keeps the six-lane roadway and addresses pedestrian safety and multimodal mobility. We’ll review it when we receive it.”

The City of San Antonio's plans for the Broadway corridor north of I-35 include reducing the number of traffic lanes from six down to four. (City of San Antonio)

In the meantime, the city says the Broadway plan is “on hold,” as are the local dollars for it - roughly $65 million.

The planned lane reduction of Broadway Avenue from six lanes down to four was behind the Transportation Commission’s January decision to reverse course on a plan to hand off a 2.2-mile, state-owned stretch of Broadway to the city.

The move effectively stopped the years-long plans to redevelop that portion of the corridor between I-35 and Burr Road - roughly from the Pearl to the University of the Incarnate Word.

READ MORE: State throws spike strip in front of City of San Antonio’s plans to reduce lanes on lower Broadway

However, city officials told media earlier this week they were hopeful that a tweaked plan they had developed using the state’s traffic assumptions would satisfy concerns about capacity and congestion. The amended plan would be largely the same, including the reduction of traffic lanes, but include changes to make traffic flow more efficiently.

The city has argued that its plan for a “complete street” was what voters approved as part of the 2017 bond program.

TxDOT still controls the portion of Broadway Avenue included in the Upper Segments of the Broadway plan. The Lower Segment is owned by the city and is under construction.

The entire Broadway corridor redesign, from Houston Street to Burr Road, is estimated to cost $144.8 million between a variety of funding streams, with $31.6 million already spent and committed.

Of that, the two upper segments of the project on the state-owned stretch have an $83.7 million budget with $4.6 million spent and committed so far.

The lower portions of Broadway are already owned by the city and construction is underway. They remain unaffected by the city and state’s battle over the upper segments.

KSAT emailed TxDOT for comment and received the following statement:

“While TxDOT’s position remains unchanged when it comes to ensuring this important roadway maintains its current capacity, we are convinced there are ample opportunities for us to work together on a vision for Broadway that improves traffic management and affords added visual enhancements and active transportation options.  TxDOT will immediately begin development of plans to refresh State Loop 368 and we have invited the City of San Antonio to be an active partner in this effort.

“Similar to the agreement we have with the City of Alamo Heights, we have the opportunity to work together on incorporating the burial of utility lines, better sidewalks, and landscaping. TxDOT can also work with the City of San Antonio to seek federal funds and develop enhanced bicycle lanes along parallel corridors on City of San Antonio roads.”

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.