Author of Blog: Daniel Day
New Post once a month.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why San Antonio Don't Deserve Bronze

The League of American Bicyclists back in 2010 awarded San Antonio Bronze Status for bicycle friendly cities.  Back then, things were looking up.  The city was putting in the cycletrack behind Sams Burger Joint, the Linear Creekways were being built and I started to see more people on bicycles like I saw in Austin back in 2004.  The City of San Antonio just passed the Complete Streets ordinance.  Things were looking up with B-Cycle, Siclovia and even VIA promised to allow bicycles on the new BRT buses for which they followed through on but since then, it seems we've been in a stand still.  Progress has been made on the Linear Creekways, the Riverwalk Mission Reach and Museum Reach has pretty much been completed, but that's it.  Today, the cycletrack behind Sams is a parking place for it's delivery vehicles (Image 10-1), the Complete Streets is a joke, not down S Flores, but also where they're repainting the streets and failing to paint bike lanes where they're needed, and the Linear Creekways has issues to say the least.  For the most part, the city goal is to relegate cyclist to the side streets and to have cyclist share the traffic with grumpy motorist on the stroads when we need to use them.

A the beginning of the year, I was at Coffee with the councilman Diego Bernal, District 1 at Sams Burger Joint and learned that they were going to remove the bike lane behind Sams for more parking and put down the cycletrack on N Alamo instead on where it's needed, on Broadway. It use to have wooden post to keep the vehicles out, now they have been all removed and on any given day, you see a delivery vehicle parked in the bicycle lane (Image 10-1).Even the  bands that play there park there and our calls to the city police department go unanswered.  Since they put in the cycletrack, it's hell crossing Josephine, and at the end of it at Casa Blanca and Broadway (Image 10-2), there's hardly a way to get across the intersection from the cycletrack.  At least in Austin down the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, they at least put up a very bright sign telling vehicles to yield to people in the crosswalk on or off a bicycle (Image 10-3).  Now instead of the replacement cycletrack down the Stroad that needs it the most, Broadway, they're planning to put it on a side street that don't need it, N Alamo, a street with virtually no traffic.  The KSAT 12 news story a day after Chase White was hit on Broadway, not N Alamo, Pete Esquivel was complaining about you guessed it Broadway. 

But that's the unwritten policy of the city of San Antonio, keep cyclist off the main thoroughfares and put them on side streets.  We see this on the East Side along Pine both north and south.  Here Hackberry is the main thoroughfare two blocks away but when they repainted the stroad, they decided to keep the 4 lanes of traffic that make Hackberry difficult place to ride.  Instead of painting them where they needed to be down, they since painted them down a street that don't need them, Pine St.  From Steves Ave to E Commerce, you see cars parked in the bicycle lane (Image 10-4).  And again, I wrote what needs to be done in Useless Bike Lanes to this street to make it safer, but don't count on the city of San Antonio to do anything about it. 

Now at night time, after I get off work, I follow go find the side streets because I don't want to become the latest news story on KSAT or NEWS4 WOAI.  And from my job at the airport to my house, I have to break the law to be safe specifically Sec. 22-28. Public parks hours of operation and curfew.(Image 10-5)  I ride down the Salado Creek Linear Creekway and so far since my last story, San Antonio isn't Serious about Bicycles, I haven't gotten pulled over for riding even when I ride right by the East Side SAPD sub station on the trail seeing the police officers fuel up their cruisers.  But it's only a matter of time that I'll be getting a ticket that I cannot afford doing something that the city claims they want me more people to do which is ride their bicycles.  It's worse on the West Side of town where all the stroads don't have bike lanes and are backed up with traffic.  Some try to beat the police there, but only end up getting tickets on the Leon Creek Linear Creekway.  And because of that, many of those people went back to driving their cars to work.

Now the main reason why we should not have Bronze Status is because of the removal of the bike lanes on S Flores St.  I have gone over and over again that the bike lane was were it suppose to be and provided the protection all of us sought.  We wish the city would do the same thing down similar stroads but so far haven't.  I would not be complaining so much about or arguing that the Bronze Status should be revoked if they put the same street diet on Pleasanton Rd, a major thoroughfare and a stroad that needs a bicycle lane.  But no, they told cyclist to use the side street called Mission Rd to get to the South Side away from the business, the neighborhoods, the places that everyone goes which happens to be away from the Mission Trail.  At the end of the alternative route at Mission Pkwy and SE Military Dr, you'll will come to a green field (Image 10-7) with an occasional business across the street.  At Pleasanton Rd and SE Military Dr, you see the HEB grocery store, restaurants and other retail establishments.  And that's why the we the cyclist wanted to keep the bicycle lanes down S Flores, because it provided us the protection on where we want to go.  The nearest grocery store to Mission Pkwy is Walmart and to get to the Walmart, one must deal with 50 mph traffic down SE Military and before somebody says well there's E Harding paralleling SE Military.  Just go to google maps and tell how am I suspose to get over that wall that is separating Harding from the Walmart.. 

That's the big thing here, is that the city is promoting cycling but at the same time failing to address the safety concerns that we face everyday.  They constantly say that they want more people to cycle, but at the same time they want cyclist to use side streets.  If this city was friendly to cyclist, I would not be breaking the law every night in choosing the safe route down the linear creekways to go home or for that matter, riding my bicycle on the sidewalks, Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited. If this city was a friendly bicycle city, they would have the proper facilities for my safety on the major thoroughfares instead of asking all the cyclist wear a helmet and take a side street.  The problem I have with this city being a bronze bicycle friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists is that it is sending the wrong message to those who think that our city leaders wants people to be on bicycles.  Keeping this status makes the League complicit with the city's decision to remove the bicycle lanes from S Flores, the relegating of cyclist to side streets and the acceptance of parking of motor vehicles in bicycle lanes and paths throughout the city. 

This is my argument against the League's status for the City of San Antonio.  I would like the League to come back within a few years, like right after they have the Rail Streetcar up and running and see if the city provided the necessary paths along the tracks and around the stations, to see if they removed the silly laws that make it illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk let alone down the Linear Creekways at night.  And maybe by then we would have the network of bike lanes down the other stroads like Southcross, Pleasanton, Zarzamora, and Nogalitos to name just a few on the Southside.  Right now this Bronze status isn't helping we the people who ride bicycles around San Antonio and who want San Antonio to be a safe cycling city. 

10-1:  A Sysco Delivery Truck parked in the cycle track behind Sams Burger Joint
10-2:  The End of the cycletrack  at Casa Blanca and Broadway
10-3:  The Lance Armstrong bikeway in Austin Crossing by Lamar
10-4:  A Truck parked in the bike lane On S Pine by Steves Ave looking South.
10-5:  The rule sign at Tobin trailhead.
10-6:  The CIM's Map showing where the alternative bike route is going.
10-7:  The End of the the bike lane at Mission Pkwy and SE Military Dr looking north. 

Up Coming Bicycle Events

 Cycle In-Cinema .  
When:   Every Thursday, June-August at Dusk, 8:45pm
Where:  Main Plaza, 115 N Main Ave, 78205
Description:  Out Door Movie.  

Friday The 13th Alleycat Race

When:  Friday June 13, 2014  7pm
Where: Bottom Bracket Social Club, 1603 N Colorado, 78201
Description:  A scavenger hunt bicycle race. For more information, click here: Facebook

Tour De Tube 2014
When:  Sunday June 29, 2014
Where:  The Slab, 414 W Cevallos, across the street from La Tuna
Description: A group bicycle ride from La Tuna to the Comal River.  For more information, click here:  Facebook

Earn-A-Bike Co-op. Grand Opening 
When:   Saturday, June 14, 3pm-5pm
Where:  2619 Guadalupe St, 78207\
Description: Join us of the grand opening of the Guadalupe St. Earn-A-Bike Co-op. Food, music, give aways, bikes and more bikes.  Earn-A-Bike Co-op.

If you have any event you want me to post about, please email me


  1. . . . Thank you for this detailed effort. As a fifty-years-and-counting activist in cycling, former competitor who competed in the national championships of bicycle racing, one who is a journalist and proofreader, and still commutes throughout Houston cruising at 30kph at age 67, I comment with the intent of being helpful.
    . . . When you mentioned "cycletrack," my first impression is you were speaking of a velodrome, an oval closed-access racetrack with banked turns. What you actually were referring to are more commonly called "bike lanes." Since the entire article is in "first-person," it deserves a by-line under the title, even if it's only the anonymous "Sir Bikes A Lot." Among other minor flaws to correct is the name "League of American Bicyclist" which needs an "s" at the end (plural); there are a number of words where you dropped the "s" when it needs to be plural. Where a gerund exists (a verb used as an adjective to describe a condition or state-of-being), the word should be an infinitive (usually ending in -ing) or past-tense (usually ending in -ed). Thus the misspelled "how I'm suspose to get over that wall" would become the condition "how I'm supposed to get over that wall"!
    . . . Also, I think I spotted a possessive of it spelled "it's" which is incorrect. Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose. They already show possession so they do not require an apostrophe.
    . . . All-too-many people get through school without bothering to master the use of "its" and "it's." Most possessives are formed by adding "'s" to the end of a word — but not the word "it." This is because there is a contraction (for "it is") already spelled "it's." So, the possessive of "it" is "its." Its "its" is "it's" if it's "it is," and "its" if it's not. Clear now? 'Nuff said!
    . . . Please continue your advocacy, and constantly remind cyclists that it's not forward speed, but vertical speed (gravity makes everyone fall at the same speed, enough to cause concussions on hard surfaces) that is the reason to wear a helmet. Dogs under the front wheel, cracks hidden in a puddle, sand or oil in a turn, any reason besides traffic can cause a fall — "You have shoes to protect your feet, what do you have to protect your brains?" Strap-on-ankle red blinkers are cheap in 99-cent stores, as are powerful new L.E.D. flashlights for night riding (also wear reflective yellow or silver-bright clothes). Use rechargeable batteries. Put a "dentist's mirror" type rear-view device on your eyeglasses or left-side helmet visor (much better than heavy shakey handlebar mirrors) so you can aim the mirror view behind you with a slight turn of the head.

    1. I will endeavor to fix my grammar. LOL