Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
This Sunday, a flock of cyclists – including at least two San Antonio City Council members and the mayor – is set to ride south on Broadway along the 3-mile route of a street improvement project slated to begin next year. Organizers hope the ride will bring more attention to San Antonio’s need for more and better bike lanes.
“This is meant to be a civic engagement ride to continue the conversation [about bike lanes] on Broadway and all major high-speed corridors,” said Bryan Martin, president of Bike San Antonio, a bike advocacy group.
The ride will start at 11 a.m. near the University of the Incarnate Word and include three stops to rest and hydrate along the way at Lions Field, Maverick Park, and Travis Park, Martin said. Visit the Facebook event page for more details.
Cycling advocacy groups SATX Social Ride, the Wild Dawgs, Storm, Zombie Bike Club, and Give 3 Feet will lead the way and provide “bike marshals” to assist with directions and safety.
Electric scooters are also welcome to join the ride, Martin said, and helmets will be provided free of charge.
Bike San Antonio and other cycling advocates have pushed for separated bike lanes on the lower mile of the Broadway project. Voters approved the project as part of an $850 million municipal bond package in 2017. City engineers and consultants say the road is too narrow to include dedicated bike lanes in addition to wide sidewalks, a parking and utility lane, and other street amenities along the burgeoning corridor.
A Transportation and Mobility Committee meeting, where Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) was expected to call for a full City Council discussion and vote on the Broadway bike lane issue, was canceled Monday because most members of the committee could not attend. The committee comprises Gonzales, Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (D7), Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6), Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) and Councilman Clayton Perry (D10).
“What was presented to the voter and what was designed” for Broadway are two different things, Gonzales said. Rather than wait until next month’s scheduled meeting, she is looking to get one scheduled as soon as possible.
“This is a citywide issue,” she said. “It should come to a Council vote.”
Gonzales, who had advocated for bike lanes on lower Broadway, said she will attend the ride on Sunday. A spokesperson for Sandoval confirmed she will be among the pack. Later, a spokesperson for Mayor Ron Nirenberg confirmed his attendance. Martin said Treviño indicated in a conversation last month that he would attend the ride and all Council members have been invited.
Treviño, who has been outspoken in opposing the addition of bike lanes to the project, did not respond to a request for comment Monday. A plan to install protected bike lanes on adjacent streets North Alamo and Avenue B will accommodate all modes of transportation through the corridor, he has said.
Sunday’s ride will not be “the regular experience of a person riding a bike on Broadway,” Gonzales said, and “a person is not likely to change their mind after just one experience.”
Still, it’s an opportunity to show the street to elected officials from a different perspective and socialize with constituents, she said. “I don’t get to do many group rides anymore.”
Martin said he hopes to organize more rides with City Council members in the future. He sees it as an opportunity to “turn something that we’re passionate about into a show of force.”