LEON VALLEY, Texas – Leon Valley leaders are looking for a solution to their Bandera Road traffic problems that won’t negatively affect their residents and business owners.
Some 80,000 vehicles use Bandera Road between Loop 410 and Loop 1604. The Texas Department of Transportation proposed an elevated highway as a possible fix to get vehicles through faster and maintain local traffic at the street level, but it represents a problem for Leon Valley.
For about $18,000, The city contracted researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio to formulate an alternate plan.
Bill Barker, adjunct associate professor, and Richard Tangum, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research, explained the plan they were able to come up with.
“We proposed a boulevard, which is a grade high-capacity roadway design that has center lanes,” Barker said.
He said three center lanes in each direction would be for through traffic and two additional lanes would be added in each direction for local traffic.
“This creates a much safer-feeling environment and actually a safe environment for bicycles and pedestrians,” Barker said.
The extra lanes would be built where there are currently drain ditches. The plan also includes trees and a median.
Tangum said people are reluctant to accept the elevated highway plan because of how it would affect the city.
“It’s very apparent. You can see that it really separates the two sides of the city and can have very negative consequences,” he said, pointing to a map showing the landscape of the city with both the elevated and boulevard model.
“There would be a cost to businesses and residents and so on under each of the alternatives,” Barker said. “Really, this one minimizes the cost.”
Researchers have not been able to determine the cost of building a boulevard over an elevated highway. They don’t believe turning Bandera Road into a boulevard will solve the traffic congestion.
As the city looks to grow by about 1 million people in the next 20 years, the researchers think the city needs to look at expanding other roads into boulevards as well.
“We need to look at the whole network of streets and thoroughfares and look at an approach that really disseminates traffic across a whole system of boulevards throughout the city,” Tangum said.
UTSA research team members will present their boulevard concept with details during a town hall meeting at Leon Valley City Hall from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Jan. 27. Several other items will be on the agenda. Residents will also be able to vote to choose which concept they would prefer to see.
TxDOT will be tasked with making the ultimate decision.