Since my venture onto Twitter, I started a new hashtag called SA Sidewalks Suck, (#sasidewalkssuck). I got the ideal when simply noticing all the messed up sidewalks that I see everyday. It's rare that I get to see something build right, but when it is, it is at the expense of the private property owner. A good example of this is at 1800 Broadway. The sidewalk there in front of that new development is at the owners expense for it much of it is on the private property not the public right of way. At the end of the property, you see it clearly for the old buildings still standing next to it are built to the end of the property line (Image 13-1). The sidewalk becomes narrow with electric poles standing in the way. The other new development at 1900 Broadway didn't do this at all and can be clearly seen with the narrow sidewalks all around. There's a reason why one have businesses, and the other is vacant, and no, it has little to do with the timing of the building of the structures for next year, 1900 Broadway will still be abandoned. Well at least the business/retail part while people live above the abandoned space.
There's a reason why everyone drives, and to accommodate that habit, we simply made sidewalks impassable, narrower so all the cars can go by and have parking spaces even in downtown. In our neighborhoods, we made them non existence filled with cracks and abruptly ending (Image 13-2). And even when we tout a new development in a bad neighborhood, we simply fail with the sidewalks. The Guadalupe Cultural Arts center on the west side is the best example of an improvement gone wrong. This is another one of those "act of racism" that I pointed out in "Two Accidents that Didn't Need to Happen." As you can clearly see here (Image 13-3) that there's a sign and a potted plant blocking the sidewalk. To me, this says "You people need to buy a car." Now why they couldn't put this sign up over the street next to the traffic light is beyond me and if we're going to have decorations on the sidewalk, lets make sure they're plenty of room to get around.
Now some of you will be asking, hey, it gets 100 degrees during the summer time, so nobody will be walking around. Yet you would be wrong about that for if that was the case, I wouldn't see people walking nearby Guadalupe St on Brazos St at around 3:30PM, July 3rd or seeing the people walk on S Flores st right after the bike lanes were put in. Now I know this excuse is being used by our political leaders and activist all the time, but I can tell you, it ain't true. It's not just the tourist walking around Downtown, it is also the locals walking to catch a bus around the corner or workers in the offices going to lunch. We have a chance to build great sidewalks here in San Antonio, but until we ditch the standards of 4ft wide sidewalks in favor of 6ft wide and driveway entrances at 1 percent grades instead of 2 percent grades, we'll continue to have a minority of people who will ride public transit for the people who ride the bus are not transit riders, they're pedestrians, period. Until we come to that conclusion, we'll always have a VIA that sucks, well always be plagued with a city that is unhealthy and fat and most of all we'll always see the wheelchairs out in the street. (Image 13-4)
13-1: At the end of the development 1800 Broadway looking south.
13-2: I forgot where I took this picture in Dignowity Hill, but I believe it is somewhere near Willow.
13-3: A sign and a potted plant blocking a good sidewalk on Guadalupe and Brazos st Intersection looking west.
13-4: I don't know what happened to my wheelchair picture, but this kid riding on McCullough in the road near Basse is a cool illustration of the lack of sidewalks all around town, 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.
Where: Alamo Bike Shop/Taps y Tapas ~ 1016 N. Flores St ~ 78212
Description: San Antonio's Bicycle Swap Meet and Flea Market.