ALAMO RANCH – Tucked away in the heart of Alamo Ranch is a neighborhood surrounded by nature.
It’s why Ginnie Charbonneau bought her home 16 years ago.
“We have rabbits,” she said. “We have deer.”
The forest growing along her back fence gives Charbonneau peace and privacy, but that growth will soon be stunted.
Last year, VIA Metropolitan Transit bought a 16-acre plot of land near Alamo Ranch Parkway and Lone Star Parkway to build its new Park & Ride facility.
In a statement, VIA said it plans to serve the future facility with two routes, but it could initially start with Park-and-Pool.
Final design plans for the facility are expected sometime next year.
“I’ve gotten mixed reviews, but mostly, people are frustrated that they chose the place where they chose,” said Jordan Wagner, president of the Alamo Ranch Homeowner Association.
Charbonneau is not happy.
“It’s just going to destroy it,” she said.
Her neighbor, Celeste Cunningham agrees.
“Most of the owners here have vehicles,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a massive need for the transportation.”
VIA said it believes Alamo Ranch needs a Park & Ride facility because of its rapid growth.
“Whoever is going to ride their busses is not going to be from this area,” said Charbonneau. “They’re going to come in from somewhere else.”
Cunningham is worried about the facility’s impact on her neighborhood’s safety.
“I don’t know what that could cause for more potential bad products like burglaries or car thefts or any break-ins or anything like that,” she said.
KSAT asked VIA for an interview several times to ask about Cunningham and Charbonneau’s concerns.
Spokeswoman Lorraine Pulido refused to make anyone available for this story, insisting we send our questions via email.
She said VIA’s Government and Community Relations team has met with people in the Alamo Ranch community to give them a chance to provide feedback.
Charbonneau said she feels like VIA doesn’t want to listen.
“Excuse my French,” she said. “They don’t give a damn.”
Charbonneau and other neighbors in Alamo Ranch said they didn’t get a say in the new facility — and they’re right.
“In the case of constructing new facilities, such as what’s proposed at this site, there is no mechanism for a public vote,” Pulido said in a written response to one of our questions. “VIA is charged with providing the best-possible service across its 1,200-square-mile service area. Its policy is set by a Board of Trustees, the members of which are appointed by the City Council, Bexar County Commissioners Court and suburban member cities.”
With design plans still in the works, Charbonneau said there is time for VIA to change course.
”Go somewhere else,” she said. “Just — there are better places.”
Q&A with VIA
After VIA refused to grant KSAT an interview for this story, they agreed to answer questions via email. Below you will see the full, unedited written responses that VIA submitted to KSAT.
KSAT: Why did VIA pick that specific plot of land to build this park and ride? Neighbors who live nearby say they’re worried about congestion and noise.
VIA spokesperson Lorraine Pulido: VIA continually assesses its transit network to better serve the growing San Antonio region. This assessment includes criteria such as travel patterns, ridership, growth, development and community input, all of which inform how VIA plans for the future. Other criteria include location of land with regard to current and future transit service, unique land characteristics and geographic locations consistent with necessary roadway access.
The Alamo Ranch area, including the location of the property VIA is acquiring, has already been significantly developed for residential and commercial use. VIA’s facilities would serve as a component to help reduce congestion in the area because it would allow residents to park and carpool initially and eventually park and access transit service — in both scenarios, the number of personal vehicles on the road would reduce through usage of this facility.
VIA’s Government and Community Relations team has met with adjacent residents to clarify the intentions for the property, which at this point, is to create a park-and-pool lot for commuters.
It should also be noted that due to the site’s location over the Edwards Aquifer, VIA’s facility will comply with all regulations, and will likely exceed them, in alignment with VIA’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.
KSAT: What did VIA do to get feedback from them? One neighbor said they had been told there was a town hall in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
Pulido: Since the beginning of 2023, VIA’s Government and Community Relations team has met with residents, neighborhood associations, elected officials and other organizations — including keeping the Precinct 1 Bexar County Commissioner’s Office apprised throughout the process — to ensure that adjacent residents and groups are aware of VIA’s plans and have opportunity to provide feedback. Public outreach is ongoing.
KSAT: Why did they not get to vote on this plan? They said they believe the city got to vote on this, despite the park and ride going out in the county.
Pulido: In November 2020, voters in the city of San Antonio authorized the redirection of a 1/8th-cent sales tax that VIA will begin collecting in perpetuity beginning in 2026. The vote was specifically to authorize a new source of funding.
That sales tax supports the construction and operation of the VIA Rapid Green Line, the region’s first Advanced Rapid Transit corridor, which will run from near the San Antonio International Airport to Steves Avenue on the South Side along San Pedro Avenue. The new sales tax increment will also fund improvements to the bus network, along with VIA Link — the agency’s micro-mobility solution for areas that aren’t compatible with traditional fixed-route bus service.
In the case of constructing new facilities, such as what’s proposed at this site, there is no mechanism for a public vote. VIA is charged with providing the best-possible service across its 1,200-square-mile service area. Its policy is set by a Board of Trustees, the members of which are appointed by the City Council, Bexar County Commissioners Court and suburban member cities.