A few years ago, I designed a map on where you should live in San Antonio if you want to live without a car and this is what I came up with. (Image 23-1)
How I came up with the map.Back in 2008, a friend of mine asked to be a sub director of a group on meetup.com because I knew of a lot of independent place on the south side. While a member of this group, someone told me that the to some people, they consider everything south of Hildebrand the South side. Personally I considered this in insult, but no matter, it gave me more independent places to choose from. As I met more people from the far north side, it became more evident on the disconnect I personally had. There was this one vegan lady who drove a smart car, and a big supporter of PETA. She claimed that she was being an environmentalist by not eating meat, and driving a "smart car, but she lived over the "Environmental sensitiveness" Edwards Aquifer Recharge zone not realizing that her dog poop was ending up in our drinking water. It's funny, I don't live over the recharge zone or produce any greenhouse gas while riding my bicycle, but she does through her internal combustion engine. This made me realize that you should be living inside the loop (Loop 410) if you wanted to live without a car. My short experience with her and her companions made me realize that there was a lack of culture that San Antonio is famous for out side loop 410
The more I thought about it, loop 410 was pretty large, and even then before I reached the loop, I got harassed more and more on my bicycle, like telling me to get on a non existent sidewalk or even better, telling me what I was doing was illegal for which if they ever read their drivers manual issued by DPS, it will tell you , I'm pretty much a car under the law. During that time I came to the realization that if you happen to live in a grid street area, your more able to find an alternative safer route to ride your bicycle on. It was around this time, that I realized where I got on the bus, and where I got off the bus to ride my bicycle, and then it became clear. I would first choose a bus when I was south of Southcross, or north of Hildebrand before I decided to get on my bicycle and ride it. By early 2010, the map came together after I realized that with in the drawn area, you can find more than one bus to get to downtown on, and thus, it formed into what you see today. It was then I realized that if you live south of Hildebrand, north of Southcross, east of Cupples, and west of Walters, you could comfortably live without a car in San Antonio.
Exception on the map:Now there are some areas that are inside my little square that I really don't recommend living in like River Road, Roosevelt and Southcross area, and the neighborhood between Hackberry and I-37. Outside my little map, Government Hill, South San, and Mahncke Park just to name a few.
River Road by default of TxDOT and USDOT, decided to cut off a beautiful neighborhood with the building of US 281. It's pretty much a gated suburban community and although it is close to downtown, I don't recommend it because the Albertsons grocery store has been replaced with a YMCA and during any given day, your nearest bus stop is either on St Mary's or Broadway.
Again, this area of Southcross Blvd and Roosevelt Ave is an area where even though industry is nearby, there a lack of safe bicycle facilities and even though the Mission Reach is in this area, I don't include it because much of it is in a flood zone.
Mahncke Park and Government Hill is also an area I recommend that you avoid simply because that if your unable to find a place close to Broadway, you'll be leaning to owning a car sooner rather than later. This is due to much of the area being without frequent bus service. Although parts of Government Hill East of N Pine is has the 20 serving it, I took it off of the area simply because the 20 is more of a cross town bus than a downtown bus and downtown buses go to the places where you can connect with the most buses.
Relations to Bicycle Culture.
After talking with a naysayer of the S Flores bike lane and reading a story on little plastic thing that Starbucks gives out to some customers who are driving made me realize, we're focusing on the wrong places to put down bicycle lanes and Cycletracks. Yes, they're needed at those places, but lets face it, if they're put in and around the Downtown area, they'll serve more of a use than ever being put on Culebra outside loop 410 or even worse, down a street that don't need it. Since the city of San Antonio isn't serious about bicycling, but about driving, enjoy getting stuck behind a stinking car. (Image 23-2) It does make me wonder if there's an element high up with in the local political pyramid that don't want a role for the bicycle other than recreation.
23-1: My map of where you should live without a car. If you want to make one of your own, I recommend that you use yahoo maps instead of Google. Make sure you put down that these are walking directions and they are...http://yhoo.it/1F7QFuy
Hildebrand at Broadway
Club Dr at Wilson Blvd
Cupples Rd at Brady Blvd
Brady Blvd at S Zarzamora
S Zarzamora at W Southcross
E Southcross at Gevers St
Gevers St at Walters
Walters at Sherman St
Sherman St at N Pine
N Pine at Josephine
Josephine at N Alamo
N Alamo at Broadway
Broadway at Hildebrand.
23-2: A Family stuck behind traffic on Houston St at Presa looking East back in October 2012.