One thought on “Elmendorf Lake Park Improvements Mark New Chapter for Westside

  1. Elmendorf Lake Park is beautiful and the new pedestrian LED down lighting is great! Yet, as with recent investments at Woodlawn Lake Park and new work proposed for Brackenridge Park, there hasn’t been the attention to detail, prioritization or oversight needed from the City to improve biking, walking and VIA bus riding to and from the park — making Elmendorf Lake yet another primarily car-based or San Antonio ‘parking park’ (our unique and embarrassing take on how to design a modern public park) while also failing to address long identified barriers to ADA compliant, safe and comfortable pedestrian paths and entrances to this particular park.

    For example, where the Elmendorf Lake Park paved trail network connects with a sidewalk leading to Rodriguez Elementary (on W. Cesar Chavez Blvd near SW 21st) as well as to Sacred Heart Chapel and Project QUEST, the sidewalk narrows to 2.5ft in some sections — well below the minimum width required to provide ADA access or as recommended by national Safe Routes to School or Alamo Area MPO’s Pedestrian Safety Plan (2012) guidelines.,-98.5385093,3a,75y,107.62h,75.33t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLabhMU0Xo6gF9CDJbKb6wA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Related, an oddly configured new ‘z’ pedestrian crossing of Commerce Street/Buena Vista to and from the VIA bus stop at 22nd Street (why not a direct, one-button cross?) makes for a frustrating two-button, 3+ minute wait on a narrow island by busy traffic — well beyond the guideline of a maximum pedestrian wait time of 90 seconds and noting that long pedestrian wait times are understood to encourage jaywalking.

    Worse, the new ‘z’ cross connects with a 2000ft section of W. Commerce St sidewalk (between 24th and 19th) that is crumbling, narrow, uneven, overgrown, missing segments in some blocks and not ADA compliant despite leading to VIA bus stops and connecting neighborhoods north with Elmendorf Lake Park.

    In addition, the new ‘z’ crossing of Commerce Street at 22nd should have been paired with a new pedestrian crossing of Culebra near 22nd and VIA bus stops — a spot where a pedestrian was killed crossing in 2012. Beyond helping to protect and assist VIA riders, a crossing of Culebra near 22nd would allow this quiet secondary street to function as a bike-way between Woodlawn Lake Park and Elmendorf Lake Park (Alazan Creek trail isn’t projected to be completed until FY2019), providing a needed alternative to cyclists using dangerous high traffic streets such at 24th/Wilson and Zarzamora (avoiding Zarzamora as a cycling street by focusing to alternate north/south routes, per the recommendations of SATomorrow corridor planning).

    The $850m 2017-2022 Bond Program mentioned in the article does not seem to focus to addressing longstanding ADA pedestrian compliance issues, including sidewalk barriers along paths leading to Elmendorf Lake Park and VIA bus stops — possibly violating the City’s ADA Pedestrian Transition Plan as required under Title II of the ADA. Nor does the Bond Program seem to address known pedestrian safety ‘danger zones’ and active VIA corridors such as Culebra between 24th and Zarzamora, which also challenges safe pedestrian access to Elmendorf Lake Park.

    Council needs to come to grips with the City’s existing ADA Pedestrian Transition Plan,which seems to have been neglected by urban planner Mayor Taylor and the current Council (last updated in 2011?) — including with recent SATomorrow planning and UDC amendments. The City’s ADA Transition Plan and the priority areas Title II of the ADA sets (including paths to VIA bus stops and other areas of ‘public accommodation’ such as schools and parks) should have guided Bond Program discussions and priorities but didn’t. Without this attention from Council, San Antonio will continue to plan for and make beautiful but largely inaccessible new public sites including parks and bus stations — missing opportunities to improve public health, safety and mobility if not endangering San Antonians.

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