Cycling Advocates Seek Protected Bike Lanes in Roosevelt Avenue Overhaul

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Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Roosevelt Avenue runs north-south through San Antonio's South Side.

The City is collecting responses through an online survey for a major overhaul of Roosevelt Avenue on San Antonio’s South Side that stretches about 5 miles from South St. Mary’s Street to Interstate Loop 410.

The 34-question survey includes several street designs featuring various options for bike lanes, medians, turn lanes, and sidewalks. Survey participants are asked to critique each design.

Bike San Antonio, a local cycling advocacy group, is calling on residents to take the Roosevelt survey and tell the City to install bike lanes that are separated by a curb or physical barrier.

The survey closes Friday, Sept. 6.

Roosevelt is considered a commuter street, but the UNESCO World Heritage designation of the Spanish-colonial missions along the San Antonio River has increased visitor traffic in the area, which is expected to grow.

Courtesy / City of San Antonio

The City survey asks responders to select the most important section of Roosevelt Avenue to them.

The $14 million street infrastructure project is part of the voter-approved $850 million 2017 municipal bond. More than $13 million comes from the bond and about $1 million from SAWS and CPS Energy.

This is the second survey regarding the Roosevelt project. It was designed with input from the first survey in addition to input from a community meeting held in March. The second meeting was hosted last week and the City’s Transporation and Capital Improvement (TCI) department will host another community meeting in November or December.

The first survey received 251 responses and 61 people signed in at the workshop, said Paul Berry, chief communications officer for TCI. “A report will be created at the end of the public outreach process with the World Heritage Office making it available as part of the long-range plan for the Roosevelt Corridor.”

Once the public outreach process is completed, a timeline and phases for the project will be established, he said.

Not all bond projects get a survey, Berry said, but “all bond street projects have some type of public input component. In the past, it was done exclusively through public meetings. … The decision to use surveys is based on each project, but we are finding that surveys are very helpful in understanding resident wants, needs, and concerns. So we plan to use them more often for larger street projects.”

A survey was not, for instance, used for the $42 million design of Broadway. Stakeholder input meetings were held with property owners, cycling advocates, and others, but the public meetings were held to describe the elements to the community, not to inform the design.

Cycling advocates, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and some City Council members want to see protected bike lanes on the lower portion of Broadway where TCI renderings instead show parking and travel lanes because, TCI representatives argue, the width of the street would not allow for safe bike lanes.

At Nirenberg’s request, TCI is working on alternative designs that include bike lanes. He expects to see those “soon,” he said Friday, and to eventually have a full Council discussion before the design is finalized.

At its most narrow points, Roosevelt Avenue is 60 feet wide, Berry said, but the needs of the street are different.

Courtesy / City of San Antonio

A rendering shows a possible four-lane road with a center turn lane, 10-foot bike lane, and 8-foot walking path from March Avenue to Ashley Road along Roosevelt Avenue.

“Roosevelt is more of a commuter thoroughfare,” he said. “There aren’t the businesses and restaurants that are right up on the road” there like on the lowest stretch of Broadway downtown.

On-street parking isn’t needed on Roosevelt, he said, because most area businesses have off-street parking.

“It’s just a different vision for lower Broadway than it is for Roosevelt,” he said. “Both are getting great attention and funds needed to make the roads better, but they’re different roads and they’re being treated as such.”

Future meeting information and surveys for Roosevelt and other City projects will be posted at SASpeakUp.com.

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