13 thoughts on “Commissioner Wolff: High-Speed Rail Transportation ‘Closer Than Ever’ for SA

  1. “At some point in the future, hopefully while I’m still on the MPO, I think it’s time for us to be bold,” she said. “And ask ourselves: Are we willing to forego some of these incremental improvements to begin to transform our community and make that investment in rail?”
    If Sandoval is serious about being bold then why did she hire some of the biggest nimbyists to be on her staff? It’s going to take big changes and a lot more infill/density to support good transit and be bold.

  2. Light rail has worked so well in Minneapolis, St. Paul Minnesota, they are working on their 3rd line now.
    It’s past time to bring light rail to SA before the air polluting, traffic jams occur.

    • You’re absolutely correct, Robert. It’s past time…especially since traffic jams and air pollution have already become part of our daily lives.

      So, is this a good time to ask our “leaders” why the extension of U.S. 281 does not include a rail transit component – or even right-of-way preservation for a future corridor?

      While we’re at it, should we even wonder about the parallel widening of Bulverde Road and how it does not begin to address the real and immediate needs of pedestrians (much less cyclists)?

      You know, our family lives less than a mile-and-a-half from the Johnson High campus, yet my daughters have never been in a position to seriously consider walking or riding their bicycles to school. A MILE-AND-A-HALF!

      Either our dear “leaders” WANT paralyzing traffic and pollution (of all sorts), or they JUST DON’T CARE!

      Or both.

      Garl B. Latham

      • Tip of the hat, in return. The design of the incredibly expensive ($580m+?) 281 widening project is soul-crushingly bad from an interrelated pedestrian/mass transit perspective. For example, planners across the nation reacted negatively via social media to the ‘plan’ to have cyclists share a lane with semis entering the 281 expressway, as depicted in project renderings. This doesn’t fly as acceptable urban design in 2017 anywhere except in San Antonio/Bexar County:

        And I can’t believe they’re still talking about the 281 VIA park & ride that was meant to be complete in 2016. Again, the renderings depict a VIA facility that is impossible to walk or bike to with any comfort or safety:

        Like other VIA facilities, it also seems that the new ‘park & ride’ (nobody builds these anymore) will lack other uses including commercial development that supports biking, walking and transit use. It’s also not clear how much VIA will charge for parking — if the answer is nothing, it’s even more of a boondoggle:

        Given the design and location, I don’t see how this will move people to ride VIA — but then again I don’t understand the allure of Stone Oak development at all.

  3. Well, I have lots of opinions about San Antonio mass transit and the urban design literal ‘steps’ — or footpaths and pedestrian networks — that need to be improved for any transit to really work in and for San Antonio.

    But I’ll limit myself to this: where’s the discussion or sense of urgency about WHAT HAPPENED to downtown Megabus service this summer, noting that we’re less than 90 days from SA300?

    For those not paying attention to downtown transit including regional bus connecting with Houston, Austin and Dallas, Megabus no longer operates from Broadway or really anywhere near downtown. Instead, Megabus has been at a ‘temporary’ location (840 Probandt St, near Bill Miller BBQ — south of Steves and near the 90) for months now, at the worst urban location in the Megabus network that I’m aware of.

    The stop at 840 Probandt isn’t far from Southtown (about a mile) or the Mission Reach (about a half mile), but there ain’t no sidewalks/footpaths to get you there, boo-boo. No BCycle either. There’s a VIA bus — the 46 (one stop even has a bench), but no pedestrian crossing. Did I mention no parking?

    Austin built a downtown Megabus depot near the Capitol dome, revitalizing a vacant gas station, in the same year San Antonio seems to have chased Megabus clear out of downtown. Noting how every successful regional passenger rail service is supplemented (and on some days replaced) by regional bus, San Antonio’s ‘temporary’ Megabus stop could be improved, if simply just to learn how to do pedestrian work that supports transit or address some clear ADA accessibility issues. Regardless, various better San Antonio Megabus locations already exist, including in VIA’s vast vacant property portfolio, that could support various city aims and investments as well as Megabus riders — ie. visitors and residents who are currently users of local and regional mass transit.

    VIA’s Ellis Alley, Thompson Transit Center, Centro Plaza and Five Points Transfer Station all come to mind as possible Megabus locations in San Antonio (really, any decent urban sidewalk will do) — but noting how Centro Plaza and Five Points still lack BCycle facilities in spite of ‘equity’ and additional VIA budgeting, additional TXDOT funding for San Antonio bikeshare, and recent BCycle station construction.

    Just to say, I’m bored to death by the rallying cry for passenger rail some time out in the future (2049?) when it’s apparent that San Antonio’s leaders don’t care about, understand or use the public and private mass transit system we have right now.

    • “…I’m bored to death by the rallying cry for passenger rail some time out in the future (2049?) when it’s apparent that San Antonio’s ‘leaders’ [sic] don’t care about, understand or use the public and private mass transit system we have right now.”

      Amen, brother!

      Thank you for your salient comments, Mark.

      Garl B. Latham

  4. This is a topic that will be around for the next 50 plus years.

    Fast transportation from say IH 35/ Cibolo to downtown, Bulverde or 281 to downtown,
    Boerne/Leon Springs to downtown,
    Helotes to downtown,
    1604/Culebra/Hwy 151 to downtown,
    SW Military to downtown and
    IH 37 south/Military Drive to downtown – these are the hotspots that need to be looked at.
    Regarding SA International Airport we need to buy all the land needed around to increase its size, build more airline depots and place in transportation to ferry passengers from different arrival/departing terminals as does Phoenix, Las Vegas and other cities. If not, Austin will continue to dominate the air forever … or build a truely regional San Antonio and Austin Mega airport.

  5. I’ve lived in a lot of different places and I’m still dumbfounded every day how the city let development just go crazy around the edges of the county, with little thought into developing the infrastructure needed to get people around these areas. Or just having everything in place and THEN develop the areas, as I saw in parts of California. SA is filled with these transit choke points, and are basically an open joke to everyone who lives here. Everyone knows you don’t go past 1604 after 4 pm unless you really have to, for example. Not to mention the access roads and accompanying traffic for the seemingly hundreds of big box retailer and discount clothing locations adds to all of this mayhem. We keep talking about attracting more business but people I’ve known who visited SA for vcation or work are often dumbfounded over the 281/Stone Oak, Alamo Ranch, or I-10 corridors. On top of all this, while some big strides have been made (i.e. Salado Creek, Leon Greenway at large), there’s some real soul searching that needs to happen if you wanna ride a bike or simply walk in a lot of areas of the city. Oh yeah, and the streets are a mess if you live in a lot of places inside 410, so that’s neat.

    How did we get here?

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