VIA needs public input about rapid transit including possible light rail

Bus rapid transit in its own lane; light rail transit could come to SA

By Courtney Friedman - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A big plan including the possibility of light rail to relieve the congestion on San Antonio roads is moving forward, and VIA needs the public's input.

Everyone's been there. They're stuck in traffic, wishing for another way to or from work. VIA's Government and Community Relations director Leroy Alloway is tasked with finding those other options. 

"We're looking at ways to bring possible bus rapid transit in its own lane and possibly light rail transit to the San Antonio region to help provide opportunity and the ability to move people with the expectation of another million people coming to our community," Alloway said. "This is a way we can provide another option that’s more frequent, more reliable and is able to achieve all of those goals by being in its own lane."

VIA has narrowed it down to four corridors, where it could include those two modes of transportation, and it wants to know what the public thinks. 

"We are looking at alternatives that could involve putting dedicated lanes on existing roads, looking at new alignments. At this point, we're really focused more on the corridor than the specific treatment," Alloway said.

In the northwest corridor, one option is a railway that runs from near the Rim, parallel to Vance Jackson, toward downtown. It's currently used by the Quarry. 

"We're looking at the Kerrville subdivision. It's actually in our northwest corridor. The challenge with that is when the Quarry is going to stop using it, but we are exploring that," Alloway said.

Nailing down specific locations will come later. Right now, Alloway and his team are just trying to find out which one or two corridors where the public wants to see this type of transportation. Then, later this fall, they'll present the information to the board of trustees and begin to work on engineering and cost.

Alloway said that since San Antonio has grown so big without rapid transit, it will be more challenging to insert it within the city as it is.

"It makes it a little challenging from an engineering standpoint. We can find a solution, but we all have to work together to be able to actually implement that solution," he said.

VIA is holding public meetings through Aug. 5. The team has an online virtual meeting where everyone can take part. There is a brief survey and a video presentation explaining what they've accomplished so far for the study. To see the study details and to participate, visit www.viavision2040.com

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