City tweaks Broadway plan in hopes of a green light from the state

TxDOT still not satisfied with plan to reduce lanes from six to four

The city of San Antonio thinks it has found a compromise to get the state's green light for its vision of a redesigned Broadway.

San Antonio – Top City of San Antonio executives think they may have a way to get the city’s plan to redevelop Broadway Avenue back up and running while still following through with a “complete street” vision.

But the Texas Department of Transportation doesn’t appear eager to bend on its insistence to keep all six lanes of traffic.

The city has been planning an extensive overhaul of Broadway Avenue from the city limits with Alamo Heights, southward into the heart of downtown San Antonio, including bike lanes, landscaping, and expansive sidewalks.

However, the Texas Transportation Commission blocked part of the redevelopment project in January over concerns that the resulting reduction of traffic lanes - from six down to four - would increase congestion.

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

The commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation, voted in January to stop a long-planned hand-off of a 2.2-mile state-owned section of Broadway between I-35 near the Pearl and Burr Road by the University of the Incarnate Word. City officials saw the move as an “about-face.”

Speaking with the media on Tuesday, city executives said they believed they had come up with a compromise solution that would help ease congestion concerns.

While the city still plans to reduce the number of travel lanes to four, it would also focus on cutting out opportunities for left turns between intersections, which could slow down the flow of traffic, and increase improvements to the intersections themselves, including synchronizing traffic lanes.

“If the driver is following the speed limit, is posted on the roadway, this should hit all green lights at the same time,” said Public Works Director Razi Hosseini.

Assistant City Director Rod Sanchez said the city was “hopeful” the state would accept the plan, which it submitted in June and has already generated memos back and forth discussing the details.

“We’ve improved capacity. We’ve improved congestion, and we still get wider sidewalks. We still get the bike lanes that the voters approved,” Sanchez said, referencing the project’s inclusion in the 2017 bond program.

However, in a statement to KSAT on Wednesday, TxDOT stressed its desire to keep all six lanes of traffic along Broadway.

“TxDOT has received the City’s proposal and while we do not agree with the findings to reduce the lanes from six lanes to four lanes, we believe this creates an opportunity for continued conversations,” the statement reads in part.

Another portion of the statement attributed to Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg Jr. suggested the state could work with the city to get federal funds and develop “enhanced bicycle lanes along parallel corridors on City of San Antonio roads.”

Asked Wednesday about TxDOT’s statement, the city said it still hasn’t heard back with an official decision on the proposal.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.