Residents desperate for safety changes along busy highway on South Side

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Residents living near Roosevelt Avenue, south of Loop 410, are desperate for safety changes after the most recent fatality happened when a man was struck and killed by a vehicle on the busy stretch of highway.

Olga Martinez with the Villa Coronado Neighborhood Association said there have been 13 deaths resulting from people being hit after trying to cross the road since 1970. Now, 13 crosses are lining the highway in honor of those that have died.

“Thirteen is too much,” Martinez said. “We want to come together. We need the speed limit to change. It is 50 (mph) now, but we want it lowered. We also want constables or someone to monitor the traffic.”

Martinez said the best place to add a crosswalk would be in the middle of the two intersections due to the amount of businesses located there.

“We have a lot of people who like to go to Dollar General,” Martinez said. “VIA bus and the school buses go in and out and it is really dangerous for them. It is for safety, and I think it is well overdue.”

Martinez said she feels hopeless after making several attempts to bring the issue to District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran.

“I have reached out to her and she only tells me it is (the Texas Department of Transportation),” Martinez said. “Everyone reacts, but no one acts, and then when it is political time, they are over here trying to reach out to you. But it should always be an interest, anything the community needs or if something happens in the community. They should be on top of it. I should not have to keep trying to bring this up like this.”

Viagran said with the Vision Zero policy in place, the city is aware of the issue and officials are brainstorming ideas to fix the problem as soon as possible.

“Absolutely one death is too many,” Viagran said. “That roadway is too wide, so some ideas are to maybe look into adding pedestrian islands. That would create a middle safe haven, if you will, so pedestrians will have a place to stand while they are in the process of crossing over.”

Viagran said that, although she knows this is an issue that needs to be solved now more than ever, she understands this process takes time.

“It is a matter of coordination. It is a matter of dollars, but at the end of the day and at the beginning of the day, it is a matter of life and about our safety for pedestrians,” Viagran said. “The city, the county, the state would have to come together and create that. But that has to come from our engineers to take a look and see what are the elements that need to be in place to create that safe crossing.”

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