Author of Blog: Daniel Day
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Two Years Old

As I write this post, It's coming up to the 2nd anniversary of this blog.  Two years ago, I've seen the city of San Antonio change it's mind from putting bicycle lanes in the right place to putting them down streets that really don't need them.  The latest example can be found on Trinity and Martin and San Jacinto and Martin.  Narrower lanes do make the streets better, but it's been my experience that a bicycle lane would do more good down Colorado and/or Martin.  Since the start of this blog, the city has gone from actually building stuff that works, to just building stuff which I'm dubbing "green smoke."  It's there to say "hey, we're making a progress" when in fact they're not.  Since I'm not spending a lot of time in San Antonio like I use to, I would have updated my latest Useless bicycle lanes, so far, nothing has really change in this regard.  It's like we went back to 2008 to when we as a city was just talking about the future of bicycle lanes and alternative transportation infrastructure. 

It also seems like I predicted the future in someways when it comes to the future of rail in San Antonio.  As I wrote back in December of 2014 in the post Streetcar IV: The Future of Rail in SA, I wrote the following, quote:
"Union Pacific Railroad will also stand in the way like one of their freight trains blocking traffic at a railroad crossing.  They dragged their feet when it came to the linear creekway trails going underneath their railroad tracks.  I'm personally counting on Union Pacific to seal those feet in cement to prevent that train from getting next to the Westside Multimodal Center, and even further to Blue Star and Elmendorf." 
Fast forward to 2016 and the announcement from Union Pacific Railroad that they will no longer be in negotiations with the Lone Star Rail District in the use of their railroad right of way between Austin and San Antonio.  In some ways, I did call it, but not really.  When I wrote that paragraph, I was referring to a possible future passenger rail on the railroad track that parallels I-10 on the northwest side.  When I heard that the city was taking the Austin/San Antonio Commuter Rail seriously, I was shocked and for once I saw hope.  But that has since changed, and today, I'm convince that the only passenger rail we'll ever have is the Brackenridge Eagle.  Hope I'm wrong. 

As I look back from my Streetcar Series, I see some hope taking place.  In the recent competition of BYOBroadway, (image 51.1) I saw the stuff I wrote about come to life.  As I read the stories from the Rivard Report on the 6 top finalist, I came to see my park come alive that I wrote about back in August of 2014 underneath US 281 and the I-35 interchange.  In my twitter feed I said that I wasn't worried about getting any credit for seeing the competition and I'm not.  Seeing the competition BYOBroadway was credit enough for what I wrote down two years earlier.in my blog post Streetcar Part III, No Need for Streetcars Down Broadway. Now I can only hope that some of those ideals including mine will be included and rebuilt.  Also a warning to engineers redesigning Broadway, if you keep the center turn lane, we won't get the desired results that we're all want which is a nice place to walk. 

I even entered the competition myself basically submitting what I put forth two years ago on this blog.  I did however change the Midtown section a bit in one of the cross sections (image 51.2) where I put both bike lanes on the Brackenridge side.  But I said that this was a bad ideal because knowing what San Antonio Transportation and Capital Improvements do to the bicycle signals.  Basically they're going to do what they did to the Hemisfair protected bicycle lane, make the bicycle signal not the same as the motor vehicle signal.  If Chicago can keep their bicycle light green with the motor vehicle green light, so can San Antonio. (Image 51.3)

As I close this blog, I wonder what the next two years are going to bring.  I wonder if we will actually get those lights fixed along the Hemisfair protected bicycle lane, will we see rail back on the ballot, or will we see my worse predictions come true like SATomorrow2040 just being there to add more lanes to our freeways.  I still want to see several changes to the law to take place like not having it be illegal to ride on the sidewalk, like not having it to be illegal to ride your bicycle after dark on the linear creekways.  But knowing San Antonio's government track record, doing those improvements won't be living up to the saying Keep San Antonio Lame. 

51.1:  BYOBroadway banner
51.2:  My cross section of Broadway of the midtown section facing north with the protected bicycle lane on the Brackenridge side.
51.3:  Comparing the bicycle signals which are green with the motor vehicle green light in Chicago.  The Chicago picture was taken in November 2015 at the corner of S Dearborn and W Harrison looking north.  The San Antonio picture was taken at Commerce and I-37 looking South. 

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