#ivotebikesa

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

SA Mission Stadium Downtown, an Opportunity Lost.

67.1 
All this talk about building an empty sports stadium in downtown reminds me of the warning I made to then Mayor Ivy Taylor. (Image 67.1)  You can invest in an empty stadium, or you can invest in free bus rides for all residence of San Antonio.  It's time that we get our priorities straight, and I stand by that statement.  We can make it more rewarding to use VIA or we can invest in an empty stadium. 

Now lets get one thing straight, I'm not against building a sport stadium downtown, I'm against using public funds to build it.  But to often we don't think like a Wall Street investor when putting down money into our infrastructure.  All to often, we don't treat public works project like an investment to the tax payer but a cost to buy something pretty.  We don't weigh the investment with possible return on investment as well as the maintenance cost that goes along with such an investment.  As a result, we see the spending of tax dollars, and the need to constantly look for additional funds to keep what we already have up and running. 

The promise I constantly hear is that it will improve the local economy. Well we already have the answer to that and it's a big fat no.  We heard this promise with the Alamodome, we heard this promise with the AT&T center, and yet the area around these stadiums are pretty much as dead as they were before they were built.  What's spurring the development on the Eastside isn't the Alamodome or AT&T Center, but $3.7 million investment put into restoring a bridge over the railroad tracks for people and bicycles, not cars.
67.2

After my tweet, I got a rebuttal from Jeff Long, Assistant GM San Antonio Missions Baseball (AA, Texas League, Padres). (Image 67.2)  He tweeted the image of the response to an empty stadium comment.  Well go to the Alamodome or the AT&T Center nearly everyday of the week and you'll see an empty stadium.  Also if the Spurs are getting way more people to go to their games, then why is the area around the AT&T Center empty?

San Antonio isn't the only city with this problem for Cincinnati was promised a big return with their tax payer subsidized stadium for the Bengals and the Reds.  In the end, it didn't spur development, but created a $14 million dollar shortfall.  When I had the chance to visited Cincinnati, I found that the action wasn't around Great American Stadium, but around Washington Park and Finlay Market.   The same with the Major League Sport Stadiums in downtown Minneapolis.  I've been to Minneapolis and there's hardly anything happening around those stadiums except a transfer from the Blue Line to the Green Line, no retail, no bars or restaurants.  Again the action in downtown Minneapolis isn't around either Stadium but on Nicollet Mall.  And finally, lets point out American Airlines Center where the Dallas Mavericks play.  Located at the far west of West-End, going to the Light Rail Station (Victory Station) and you'll see the same thing, no retail, no bars or restaurants.  Again most if not all are located nearer to the West-End Light Rail Station.  So please tell me again how is a new stadium going to improve the economy downtown?


St Louis has been going through this with the owners of the Rams for several years now and they have still voted no.

And before I get a rebuttal that sports teams bring in people and help promote the local city in tourism and growth, evidence fails to show that major sport teams help at promoting tourism or growth.  We only need to look 80 miles north and see that Austin has been getting way more growth than Dallas, or San Antonio and last I checked, Austin doesn't have a major sports team unless you count the Longhorns, a college team.  One simply needs to look at the motto for Austin which is "Keep Austin Weird" to find out why so many tech companies have been moving to the State Capital instead of San Antonio. 
67.3

So what's the opportunity that will be lost if the SA Missions decide to move downtown?  The opportunity to for transit oriented development and to have a stadium with light rail access.  Mayor Ron Nirenberg campaign promises was to bring light rail to San Antonio and the current Mission Stadium is located at the corner of US-90 and Callahan Rd.  If one just looks at VIA's long range plan, is that they plan to put any light rail on Old Hwy 90 West.  With Plenty of room to build a bigger baseball field and to turn the land around it into development that the owners of the Missions can earn a bigger return on investment all while supporting the transit services provided by VIA.

Currently VIA is updating their Long Range Plan and you can help by taking their latest survey before August 5, 2017.
67.4

And with the threat of the Missions leaving San Antonio for a more friendlier city, my response is a firmly "bye bye."  If you don't value your fans, then chances are you'll not fare better in another city.  These days, sport teams would rather give the finger to their home towns than value their fans/customers.  It is a sign of the times by those who own the means of production who would rather send their businesses overseas or have those same businesses go down in flames in a promise of a big payoff to the CEO.  These short term gains will eventually leave all, owners and customers pennyless with nothing to show the next generation except a big fat bankruptcy and a empty stadium.
 
It will be sad to see such an opportunity lost for San Antonio, VIA, and the SA Missions.  I can only hope that people who are going to be making these decisions will look pass fame and glory and the big folly and see the opportunity right in front of them.  I understand that they probably won't see it, but that's just one of the reasons why I write this blog. 

Images:
67.1 My meme tweet warning against building a sport stadium. 
67.2 The Picture that Jeff Long tweeted showing the attendance for local sport teams here in Bexar County. 
67.3  The previous VIA's Long Range Plan Map.  Can be seen at these blogs , "Mr Nirenberg, Ever think of Walking?" and "Streetcar IV: The Future of Rail in SA". 
67.4  A Google Satellite Picture of Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, where the SA Missions currently play. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Election Report

On Saturday May 6, 2017, it was election day for the city of San Antonio city council and bond and we have some winners, not all good for cycling.  To See who was the most bicycle friendly Candidate, please click here:  http://bikesanantonio.blogspot.com/p/city-election-2017-on-cycling.html

Bad News.....
Rebecca J. Viagran won district 3 again.  This women who openly disguise herself for the people gave the finger to the people won reelection.  As I write this, the day before there was a meeting at the Mission Branch Public Library to remove the bicycle lane.  Naturally, because of work, I wasn't able to attend but from what I hear, they're keeping the bicycle lane on White Ave.  

We have several runoffs elections.  For those who are not familiar with the rules of running for city council/mayor, you need to win over 50% of the votes.  We haven't won yet and it's up to you to get out and vote again.  Ivy Taylor won 42% of the vote with Ron Nirenberg coming in at close second.  For the record, Nirenberg came in at 83% bicycle friendly.  Ivy Taylor thinks that the reason why you ride a bicycle is because you haven't found God.  For the record, Venezuela representative founder for OPEC, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo said, "Oil is the devil's excrement." Cars run on oil, again who here in San Antonio lives their day to day life according to God? 

Several Districts are also stuck in a runoff election to determine who's going to be councilmen. 

District 1:
District 1, is in a run off between Michael Montano and incumbent Roberto C. Trevino.  Michael got a 71% of a score of bicycle friendliness, but if Trevino turn it in ontime, he would have gotten a higher score.  But there's one thing going against Trevino, he decided to allow a development to remove a bicycle lane.  Both promised to a lot of things for bicycling but that's yet to be seen. I leave the decision up to you...

District 2:
The Candidates for District 2 failed to respond to my questions except for the Dori L. Brown, one of the most anti cycling candidates I've seen run for city council this election.  Keith A Toney, the Sierra Club pick also lost and it's now down to the incumbent Alan E. Warrick II and William "Cruz" Shaw.  As a residence of district 2, I really have no favorite.  Warrick the incumbent hasn't even put down a new bicycle lane and Shaw seems to be going to the same way.  I can only hope that both candidates explore question J about free bus fare because they represent a very poor district and providing free bus rides will be a boom to the residence who mainly depend on the bus to get around. But if you're looking for a choice, Toney has just endorsed Warrick

District 6:
District 6 seems to be a clear choice for Melissa Cabello Havrda who got a score of 88%.  Her opponent Greg Brockhouse didn't even bother to return my emails so we can safely assume that he's not interested in bicycling.

District 8:
The two candidates that are going for a runoff didn't even responded to my questions.  They are Manny Pelaez and Cynthia Brehm.

District 9:
The two finalist for district 9 was Marco Barros and John Courage.  Again There's a clear choice here for John Courage got 84% being bicycle friendly and he's also the Sierra Club pick. 

District 10:
In District 10, Ezra Johnson and Clayton Perry are the two finalist.  Clayton Perry didn't even bother to return my emails while Ezra Johnson did and got a score of 82%. 

So base on this, I can now endorse candidates for city council. Remember, Earlty Voting is between May 30 through June 6 with the final day to vote June 10th.

Bicycle Friendly Candidates runoff:
Mayor: Ron Nirenberg,

District 1:  Michael Montano



District 2:  Alan E. Warrick II

District 6: Melissa Cabello Havrda,

District 8:  Nobody

District 9: John Courage,

District 10:  Ezra Johnson

Good News.....
The the $850 Million Bond overwhelming passed providing money for several projects including Broadway.  The future isn't written in stone, and we have a chance to still demand that the city provides a protected bicycle lane from Houston St to Hildebrand.  It's not going to be easy if Ivy Taylor wins, but we can do it, but it's up to you to attend those pesky meetings.

I cannot confirm this, but I am wondering if you read my plea to vote for the most bicycle friendly candidate, that you voted for Keven Roles instead of Ron Nirenberg.  I ask this question because of all the under-reported candidates, he got 1557 votes.  I tweeted this because when I saw the views for my page which numbered 2429.  Compared to all the other under-reported candidates, he got over a thousand I am just wondering, did we have an effect in this election, on this guy getting those votes?  I can't prove it, but I can hope. 

In District 7, the bicycle friendly candidate won, ☮Ana Sandoval☮.  We can only hope that she has balls where Chris Medina failed to have them in defending the useless sharrows.

In other Good news, Shirley Gonzales won re-election for district 5, while Rey Saldana, although claiming to regret voting to remove S Flores, won re-election for district 4. 

Now it's up to you to get out and vote.  And even if you didn't vote in the election, you can still vote in this run-off election.  And with Ron Nirenberg, Melissa Cabello Havrda, and John Courage, all coming in at second place, with Ezra Johnson barely scratching ahead, well, they need your vote now more than ever. Most of all, we need bicycle friendly people on city council and in the mayor's office. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Harassment on the Southside

Yesterday, my friend Mary (and that's not her real name) was commuting home on Nogalitos riding Southbound. While waiting for the light to turn green,  was harassed by a Hispanic male, late thirties, driving a white Dodge Ram, license plate BT4-0802. Below are her own words.
"So... I'm riding home and stop at a red light, this truck pulls up behind me honking aggressively I turn around, already knowing what he's honking about, and say "What, it's red!" while pointing to the light. He proceeds to yell at me and drive forward like he's going to hit me so I get off my bike and stand facing him, he gets out of his tuck I reach for my phone, he continues to yell at me saying I can't be on the road. As he approached me I struggled to hit record but a man in the lane next to us gets out of his and tells him to leave me alone. I don't know what everyone's problem is but the passed two months of bike commuting have been very aggressive, this is just going to far; people need to get educated or at least mind their own fucking business. And no he did not get in his vehicle when I stopped recording."

The video she posted can be found here at https://youtu.be/rSoxont5F30

This is why we were all for the S Flores bike lanes in the first place, because harassment didn't happen when they were in place.

So what can you do about this, why don't you get ahold of the local politicians of this side of town. in the links below.

And if this is happening to you, please contact me, unlike other newspapers, I'll report it and encourage my readers to call the authorities to get justice.


Mayor Ivy Taylor
210-207-7107  Mayor.IvyTaylor@sanantonio.gov

Ron Niremberg campaign comments link    https://voteron.com/ask-ron/

D3  Rebecca J. Viagran
210-207-7064
http://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d3/Contact/sendto/District3

D4 Rey Saldana 
210-207-7281
http://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d4/Contact/sendto/District4

D5 Shirley Gonzales 
210-207-7043
http://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d5/SuggestionBox

I don't know who else to contact, but if you have a contact for the SA Current, The Rivard Report, and the Express News, please email me sirbikesalot06@gmail.com 

And if you have a similar harassment video on your bicycle, please email me with the video. 

I'll be updating this with links that actually work, later today. Until then, copy and paste please. 







Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Case for Free Bus Rides

As part of my City Election 2017: Candidates Position on Cycling I asked one question that stood out. Question 'J' is  the question about providing free bus rides to all citizens of San Antonio. It a question that I believe that we need to start answering for when it comes to the future of transportation options, well there's only one option for San Antonio and that's driving.

As I stated before in previous post, I said that we here in San Antonio consider driving a free thing to do. We attack the ideal of toll roads, we attack the ideal of getting rid of a vehicle lane to make room for a bicycle. We attack the very ideal of light rail, calling it a waste of money. Yet we never attack the fact we don't have money for roads, thatfreeways don't pay their way nor decrease the number of ozone action days we experience every year.  We call toll roads double taxation yet we never say riding the bus is double taxation. We paid for the bus service through a half cent sales tax and yet we are forced to pay to use the bus like paying to use a toll road. Let that sink in for a moment especially if you're anti toll road.

If you where to ask me 4 years go, I would have said that it was a bad ideal because of what happen in Austin. So what did actually happen in Austin when free bus rides were offered back in 1990? In 1990, Austin, Texas decided to make the buses free of charge. Things went well at first, but as the program went on, problems started to arises because people who wouldn't normally be able to ride would abuse the system.  There's a term for these types of people and they're called "problem riders." And after one year of offering free bus rides, they immediately institute a 50 cent bus fare.

I began to reconsider this when I heard what the city of Tallinn in Estonia was doing which was making the public transit free of charge and still charging the tourist.  Believe it or not, we do something similar here in San Antonio with the hotel/motel tax.  We charge tourist a tax to pay for our parks, and other improvements.  Some of the money that is going to pay back this bond 2017 and other previous bonds is coming from this tax right now. So why can't we do the same thing for the residence of San Antonio? 

So what did happen in Tallinn when they made the buses free of charge.  Well to use the bus free of charge, you have to be a residence which cost €2 to register.  There was no change in driving habits of people, but what they did see was a increase of rider from the most poorest areas of the city.  So far, they don't have a problem with vandalism or with more problem riders. 

So Why can't we do the same thing here?  My vision for free bus fare in San Antonio consist of paying a yearly fee of no less than $30 to no more than $100 per resident or household of San Antonio.  This pass will work like a regular 31 Day Pass, but will last 13 months, giving enough time for people to buy a new yearly pass. This pass will only be available to residence of San Antonio.  To qualify, you need at least 2 or three things.  They can be a pay stub or a your W2, an government issued ID, a CPS Energy bill, a SAWS bill, a lease to a property, or a property tax receipt from that Bexar County Tax assessor office. I envision having people from VIA setting up a table at VITA centers to register people.

Now this isn't the only strategy to consider. "Fare Free Zones" are places where people don't have to pay to board the bus.  Several cities use this to encourage people to use public transit mainly in their downtown area.  MATA has a fare free zone in West Memphis, AR (which I have actually used) and the UTA has several fare free zones in and around Salt Lake City, UT. For San Antonio, I could see fare free zones being transit centers or even parts outside of loop 410.
 

Today A 31 Day Pass cost $38.  If you don't think that's a lot of money for a struggling family then guess what, your doing pretty well.  That's up $4 from the cost of $34 when I last purchase one in 2015. (And no I still don't own a car.)  It means parents who use the bus system to say that their kids are still 11 yrs old when they're actually 14, (yes I have done it.) to people begging for bus fare on the bus.  And yes I have begged for bus fare on a VIA bus and I do donate my own money to help a person paying for bus fare when this happens.  And if you are wondering why I say that "driving is consider a free thing to do" then look no further at the cost of renewing your a car registration yearly.  According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, it cost $51.75 plus (and since I don't own a car and don't know this fee) $10 local county tax fee, plus $7.50 Inspection Fee.  Now that not counting the insurance cost, so lets go by the cheapest and we'll just do a one month because if you don't think that people here in San Antonio who are struggling financially are cutting corners, then you are doing pretty well.  For sake of argument, well say that insurance is $50.  The Last time I got a car inspected was $30.  Add it all up, $51.75+$10.00+$7.50+$30.00+50.00 = $149.25.  So if you don't take into account for the cost of gasoline, maintenance, and insurance which when you are poor, you try to avoid paying, basically it cost only $149.50 to drive around.  Compare that to a 31 Day pas, which according to the math, you'll buy 12 passes in one year 365/31= 11.77.  $38 per pass times 12 passes comes to roughly a cost of $456 per person. 

Now if you want to contradict me in the comments below, go right ahead.  But if you fail to take into consideration that the average person who can't afford a car, lives primary from paycheck to paycheck and they're only looking at that $149.50 to pay per year to legally operate a car comparing to the $456 per year, then it's seem like a better deal. Just compare the travel times on google maps, with a car to that of VIA, especially since more blue collar jobs are outside of VIA's service area, then you begin to see why so many people who ride VIA says it sucks even though I pointed out how they really have their act together.  At the end of the day, it was Bernie Sanders says, it's more expensive to be a poor, and he's correct.


For more information on "fare free transit," please visit the wikipedia page, "Free public transport."

If we can find money for vacant sport stadiums, for sport teams that will never make San Antonio home, or anything else you believe is a waste of tax money, then we can definitely find the money to do this.  Now I know I'm going to hear the excuse "we don't have the money for this," but I know that I'm going to hear one or two ridiculous excuses.  If you follow news on VIA, just watch, you'll come across one that is just so out there, so nutty, it will be a good enough reason never to invest in a tool to fix things. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

#ivotebike2017

It's that time of year folks, when you need to do your civic duty and go out and vote for a new mayor and a city council.  With out your input, I might as well shut down this blog and rely on the lack of reporting by the Rivard Report on this issue.  Where else are you going to read about the removal of a bicycle lane because a developer wanted parking over a safe place to ride your bicycle?

This year, I wanted to target everyone running for office, both mayoral and district council candidates and ask all of them the same questions.  With help from the some of the bicycle groups on Facebook, I chose 11 questions; 8 relating to bicycle, 3 relating to VIA.  Also those who decided to vote to remove the S Flores bicycle lane back in 2014, I decided not to hold that vote against them due to the fact that this is the first asking them about it.  I needed a yes and no answer and some just left the answer blank.  They also left explanation which you can find out by clicking here and clicking on the candidate name.  Also I designed the questions to hold those running for office accountable to their answers. As much as I wanted to ask them about enforcing the 3ft rule, I knew that we as a community couldn't hold them accountable to that.  These questions are the things that I hear about my fellow cyclist and bus riders complain about all the time, getting a ticket riding your bicycle on the sidewalk, not being able to use the Howard Peak Greenways after dark, and VIA needing more buses and routes.

Also I decided to add Incumbent D1 candidate (I) Roberto C. Trevino answers.  His staff sent me the info just to late and because of that, he'll not be on the handout that I made.

I originally had a cutoff date of March 24, 2017, but due to my work and the lack of internet getting in the way of sending reminders, I decided to add one more week to the cutoff because I decided to grade every candidate.  The result is what you and everyone else can go ahead and print out on where each candidate responded.  If they didn't responded, then they're not on the printout, but I have them listed on the City Election 2017: Candidates Position on Cycling with the explanations accessible by clicking on the candidate's name.  Below are and my reason for the questions I chose.  there was going to be 12 questions, but due to room, and being the question that was voted the least priority, I left it out.  It was, are you willing to make 25mph the speed limit of San Antonio unless otherwise posted.

The Bicycle Questions.

A. Will you as Mayor/Councilman implement the Bicycle Master Plan throughout the city/in your district?
This is the biggest complaint I hear, that the city isn't building enough bicycle lanes. They're suspose to update this document every two years, sadly the last updated document that I could find was last updated in 2013. Despite this document not being updated, council members never tell Transportation and Capital Improvements do this plan when repaving streets and stroads
So you probably asking how do we make sure that the candidate will actually do this?  Well I cannot do this alone, you are going to have to do this. I'll try to organize a meeting sometime in the fall, if your interested in attending, please contact me sirbikesalto06@gmail.com

B. Will you vote to remove a bicycle lane?
With a supposedly bicycle friendly candidates voting to remove the S Flores Bicycle lane back in 2014, I felt the need to enforce this.  So if by any chance that by voting for a development or to actually remove a bicycle lane, then the next time they run, we'll be holding them accountable despite future promises. This is the reason why you see Rey Saladan

C. Will you make it illegal to park a car in the bicycle lane?
63.1
This is the biggest complaint of all, a car just parking in the bicycle lane because it's not like anyone uses this lane is on a bicycle. Now I'm willing to make exceptions like broken down vehicles of no more than 2 hour and parking in one that is next to a church during church services, but that's it.  If no legislation is passed by the council, then we hold this accountable. 

D. Will you make sure Broadway has a protected bicycle lane from Houston to Hildebrand?
If the Bond passes, then the money is available to build a protected bicycle lane on the city's busiest corridor that people ride their bicycles on.  We have a chance to make sure that Broadway has a protected bicycle lane, even one just 10 feet wide.  Despite what some candidates replied that really they have no say and that is true.  It is not true that they can't influence the mayor or the future district 1 council member. (Image 63.1)
63.2

E. Will you insist on new developments to include bike infrastructure such as a bicycle lane, mix used 10ft paths, and bicycle racks?
After what to the Bicycle lane on Broadway at Jones, I felt the need to add this. (Image 63.2)  If any future development decides to remove a bicycle lane, then we hold accountable the council member.  Lack of any action by the mayor or council with legislation, we hold them accountable.

F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk?
When I wrote about this in back in 2014, I really didn't have a answer and thought that since B-cycle was around, that this law won't be enforced.  But alas, I have been hearing recently that people have been getting ticketed for riding their bicycles on the sidewalks.  I see it done all the time and I do it too especially when I need to ride against the flow of traffic.  This is an outdated law and if law enforcement can ride their bicycles without hitting people walking, then the rest of us can do it too.  I'm even will allow the amending of this law that if you hit a pedestrian with your bicycle, then it's the fault of the bicyclist.

G. Do you support a city ordinance that prevents any further Development of park or green space lands for development of sports fields?
This is a question that was recommended to me by people who love to mountain bike in McAllister Park with the recent bond fight to build more baseball fields.  It's not a park that I regularly go to, but even I feel the need to point out that we're losing green-space outside loop 410.

H. Will you either amend or repeal Sec. 22-28. Public parks hours of operation and curfew, so people can use the Howard W. Peak Greenway trails after dark?
This is another complaint I heard from people who live around the Leon Creek Greenway, how they were forced to give up commuting by bicycle because they got ticket for using the safest place to commute by bicycle.  I decided to say hell with the law and broke this law regularly.  The most deadliest thing I encountered wasn't an ax murder but a spider web blocking the path underneath Houston St. (Image 63.3)  I regularly rode past the Eastside Substation with police refueling their vehicles and never once got a ticket.   The worse thing was almost running over a racoon.
63.3
I understand that some parts of the Greenway is private property and I can understand that they will not allow people to use those parts of the greenway after dark.  I got nudged by Park Police not to trespass north of Loop 410 on the Salado Creek trail and found an alternative neighborhood route and rode on the sidewalk doing it. 

VIA Questions

I. Are you willing to look for more funding options to improve and expand VIA bus service?
When I attended a meeting about the system change in 2003, I came across a lady who said the following. "Do you want the money that is spent on bus stop amenities to be spent on more service."  Everyone hand shot up. If you read Empty Buses, it is the biggest complaint that Rey Saldaña, heard when he started riding the VIA bus.  Whether this leads to more funding option, or an increase in the sales tax, I would like the candidates who said yes to this to do their due diligence to find more funding options for VIA.

J. Will you support free bus rides for all residents of SA?
Being the only one asking these questions, I decided to ask my own and this is it.  For the reason behind this question, you'll need to click on the story "The Case for Free Bus Rides."

K. Are you willing to bring Light Rail to a vote?
Read any story lately about bus service, the riders demand that we have light rail.  Now this question isn't about whether you supported light rail, it was whether you are going to bring it to a vote.  I'm not going to argue here why a The mayor of Addison, TX is threatening to leave DART if they don't get light rail by 2025. But if you want to understand why people prefer rail over buses, you can go read Streetcar Part II: Buses aren't Better than Rail. What I wanted to know and Candidate Tony Valdivia for District 8 said it best in his explanation quote: "I am not a fan of light rail at this time as I believe the rapidly changing technology will shortly create a more efficient and economical means of travel. As a representative of the City, I would give the citizens a chance to vote on light rail, if requested. " And that's is the answer that I wanted to see. 


Images:
63.1:  Cross Section of my proposal and with the City proposal for Broadway.
63.2:  The new apartment complex at Jones and Broadway showing that parking was build over the existing bicycle lane.  The proposal that was told that the bicycles would be on the sidewalk.  This pictures shows how dangerous it would be for cyclist getting off of the sidewalk back onto the bike lane.
63.3:  A picture of a spiderweb blocking the Salado South creekway underneath Houston Street.


3 Reasons You Should Vote

62.1

Have you ever wondered why San Antonio is allergic to better bicycle infrastructure?  Why we can't have any useful infrastructure like Austin or Houston for that matter?  A friend of mine came across ilovesanantonio.org, a local voting resources by SA2020. At the bottom of the page (this is on my android) you come across statistics and this one tells it all. (Image 62.1)  It is the Average age of the people who vote which is 63 years old. 

Reason #1
62.2
Now your probably asking, why is this the reason that our bicycle infrastructure isn't useful. Well the older you are, the less likely you are going to be for infrastructure that doesn't involve cars going as fast as possible. If you don't believe me, take a look at the picture of who showed up to remove the S Flores bicycle lane. (Image 62.1)  The youngest one who testified against it appeared to be in his early thirties.

Reason #2
If you ever listen to the KunstlerCast, I recommend that you go listen to KunstlerCast #141: Interstate 69 with Matt Dellinger.  There you will hear the short story on why the main guy who is trying to build this freeway is well over 90+ years old.  During the interview, he notes an interesting fact, the people who are for the this interstate are over 45 years of age. 
62.3

Reason #3
Another reason you should vote is because today, young people have a disadvantage already placed upon them.  If you where born after 1990, chances are you are making less money than your parents at the same age they were.  This forces younger people to try to save money anyway we/they can.  Eventually people are going to try to use a bicycle or take VIA to get around, and when that happens, they're going to find that driving a car is almost the only way to get around.

So if you aren't registered to vote yet, I suggest that you click on this link:  https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp and get to it pronto.  Because the only way we get bicycle lanes, a VIA system that don't suck, IS TO VOTE.

Click Here to Register to Vote:  https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp Deadline is April 6 to vote in the San Antonio Municipal Election...

Early Election is Monday, April 24 thru Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Click here to find an early voting location.  http://nowcastsa.com/blogs/heather-dimasi/map-where-find-early-voting-polling-locations

Election Day is Saturday, May 6, 2017.

To find out where the candidates stand on the issues facing cycling in San Antonio, please click here.... bikesanantonio.blogspot.com/p/city-election-2017-on-cycling.html

The blog that explains my questions #ivotebikesa 2017

Image:
62.1: the sastistics that ilovesanantonio.org has on their site about voting.
62.2.  All the old people thanking Council Lady Viagran for removing the S Flores Bicycle Lanes.  Source:  http://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/rebecca-viagran-south-flores-council-vote_credit-iris-dimmick.jpg
62.3: VIA's new paint scheme. A bust traveling West bound in W Commerce St at Calaveras.

Friday, February 24, 2017

MPO Needs Your Input

Our Local MPO is asking for Input on proposals for bicycle and pedestrian facilities across the region.  They Are....

Hillcrest/Babcock Intersection Improvements: $1,000,000
Converse Greenway Trail:  $1,382,725
Ackerman Sidewalks and Bike Lanes: $1,742,763
New Braunfels Citywide Pedestrian Connectivity: $1,516,711
Zarzamora Pedestrian Improvements:  $5,000,000
Schertz Pedestrian Routes & Bike Lanes: $1,158,266
Seguin, Walnut Springs Trail Extension Project: $2,801,246
Alazan Creek Linear Hike and Bike Trail: $6,000,000
Martinez Creek Linear Hike and Bike Trail: $3,125,000

If you add all the amounts together, you get $23,726,671.  Unfortunately, there's only $15,000,000 available for projects. The Alamo Area MPO wants you to rank these projects as to which ones are the top 3 (click here) and here are those projects and the reason why I put them in the priority.

5. Martinez Creek Linear Hike and Bike Trail:
    Cost:  $3,125,000
    Project Description:  Consists of 1.4 miles of 10 foot wide shared hike and bike trail along
    Martinez Creek beginning at Cincinnati Avenue and extending to Mario Farias Park.

 As a person who uses the linear Creekway for commuting and a person who violates the law that states such trails can't be used after dark, I am for the expansion of such trails.  These trails will only help the police go underneath and chase away the homeless that sleep underneath these bridges.  It

4.  Converse Greenway Trail:
     Cost:  $1,382,725
     Project Description:  Construct 1.2 miles of 10' wide concrete linear greenway trail between
     Converse North Park and Converse City Park.

If this trail is ever completed, it will serve a basic need of being able to connect two places. It will provide residence who don't own a car an alternative across Gibbs-Sprawl Rd (an aptly named rd by the way).  I don't know if Converse will ever allow this trail to be used after dark, but it would be really cool if they did.

3. Schertz Pedestrian Routes & Bike Lanes:
    Cost: $1,158,266
    Project Description:  Construct 10’ shared-used path. Construct 6’ sidewalks, including curbs, curb ramps, and drainage. Stripe 6-8’ bike lanes along two connector streets. 6.97 miles total.

When I wrote my post, Where 2 Live in SA W/O a CAR, I wrote it with the personal experience of not owning a car.  I'm always asked if other areas of Bexar County could be an area to live with out a car and my answer is only if there's proper infrastructure is available to be able to walk or to bike.  Schertz is such an area not only lacking basic pedestrian infrastructure, but VIA bus services.  I can attest with personal experience that the reason why VIA is so loathed even though they do a lot of things right is because many areas of San Antonio lack basic pedestrian infrastructure.  People would rather wait for a bus to go around a block than to walk there all together.  Having Schertz improve sidewalks and add bicycle lanes will help provide the residence with alternatives to go to the grocery story and compete with more walkable areas of San Antonio.  But take my advice Scherts, putting in protected bicycle lanes will help with the traffic problem way better than any painted bicycle lanes. 

New Braunfels Citywide Pedestrian Connectivity:
    Cost: $1,516,711
    Project Description:  Construct sidewalks, ramps, and other pedestrian-related infrastructure in the
    Seele Elementary School area and on key segments of San Antonio Street, Walnut Avenue, and
    McQueeney Road (2.2 total miles).

As a member of Strong Towns, I understand that improving sidewalks is the best investment that any municipality can make to receive the biggest return.  If you ever been to New Braunfels, you would know the community is lacking sidewalks. They could use some sidewalks. 

1. Zarzamora Pedestrian Improvements
    Cost: $5,000,000
    Project Description:  Install missing sidewalks, repair existing sidewalks, remove unnecessary
    utility poles, install pedestrian crossing infrastructure, implement ITS strategies, and perform road
    diets along Zarzamora Road and SW Military Drive (4.5 miles).

Out of all the the projects posted, this is the one that is number one on my list.  The project stretches from Fredricksburg Rd all the way to SW Military Dr.  It is a 4 lane corridor of speeding cars, impassable sidewalks on the west side.  It's also where VIA wants to put its next Primo route for the 520 is the second busiest route in the city. It is also no coincidence that the Diabetes Institue is located at Alazan Creek Linear Hike and Bike Trail or Hillcrest/Babcock Intersection Improvements.  Well the reason why I didn't list them is because our MPO now includes New Braunfels, Seguin and Beorne, so when deciding the priorities on this list, I thought of those places too.  If It was being San Antonio centrist, I would have made Zarzamore, Alazan and Martinez the top of this list.  Also the other reason why I left out the project in Seguin is because I don't know enough about the project at all to give my two cents.

Remember, all comments are due February 28, 2017.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

SA Doesn't Make The List/There will be no Bike Lane on Broadway.

Every two years, Bicycling Magazine releases their list of the 50 Best Bicycle Cities in the United States of America, and guess what, we're not on this list.  I can't say that I'm surprised at all because back in 2014 I predicted that San Antonio wouldn't make the list and Austin would be on the top 10 of that list. Well Austin is at number 7 in 2016. Back in 2014, it was at number 11.

Gone are the days that to get on this list, all you had to do was build a bunch of hike and bike trails. Today, there's hike and bike trails galore stretching hundreds of miles. If you ever get the chance to visit a small town in Iowa, you are very likely to come across one. In southwest Ohio, there are several trails stretching from Cincinnati to to just north of Dayton, even to Columbus. Every city/town in the United States is basically copying Austin, Texas to improve their community.

A friend of mine ask me to ask you to help him get a list of bicycle friendly businesses so they could be asked to contact The League of America Bicyclists. If you know of any business that would like to be listed as a bicycle friendly business, please have them visit http://bikeleague.org/business.

Now if you ever read "Why San Antonio Don't Deserve Bronze," you would know how I feel about the League's grading system. Although having more bicycle friendly businesses would help to expand San Antonio standing, it will not be enough to make San Antonio make the list in 2018. If San Antonio is to be back on the Bicycling Magazine bicycle friendly list, we are going to have to build protected bicycle lanes. If this recent Rivard Report story on the Broadway is any indication, we'll never be on this list ever again.

60.1
In the report from The Rivard Report, "Renderings of a Reimagined Broadway," they show several concept visions of Broadway that will be built if the Bond is passed in May. Except for one cross section referred to as Upper Broadway Cultural Corridor, Tuleta to Allenswoth, (Image 60.2) all the cross sections lack even a simple bicycle lane.  Compare them to my cross sections that I did back in 2014, (Image 60.1) and you would see that I found plenty of space for a 6 ft protected bicycle lanes on both sides of Broadway including on street car parking/bus stop island.
60.2
Below, you'll find the cross sections that were featured on the Rivard Report story with my cross sections right below them. In Each and everyone of them, I show how there's plenty of room to put a two way protected bicycle lane. I'll be going in order, from north to south.

Starting at Hildebrand, we have a 100 feet to work with.  In the proposed rendering, you see a bicycle lane at either end.  Well this doesn't have to be for there's plenty of room not for just a two way protected bicycle lane, but also for on street parking. (Image 60.3)
60.3
The next one is from Allensworth to Tulet. Even though they have a 10ft protected bicycle lane, it is recommend by NACTO that bicycle lanes are at least 6ft wide.  I decided to add on street parking,  because there's plenty of room for that too.  And keeping with having trees in the turn lane, I did that too. (Image 60.4)
60.4
I don't know why they couldn't even add the protected bicycle lane that they started from Allensworth down to Josephine.  There's plenty of room for that too. (Image 60.5)
60.5
Any proposals that are made south of Josephine must be able to incorporate the yearly Battle of Flowers Parade.  In their proposal, there's no bicycle lanes.  But if we remove the center turn lane, we will gain the room to put in either bicycle lanes or a protected bicycle lanes with removable planters or barriers. Knowing the City of San Antonio, they won't do this. (Image 60.6)
60.6
As We go further south, again we see no proposed bicycle lane, nor on street parking, the reason why this part of Broadway had it's bicycle lane removed back in 2010.  Again this is where the Battle of Flowers parade goes down and taking that into account, we can have the protected bicycle lane with the removable barrier and what the businesses want, on street parking. (Image 60.7)
60.7
Even From Houston To 3rd, there's plenty of room for both parking on both sides of the street and a two way protected bicycle lane.  (Image 60.8)
60.8

If these illustrations that were featured on the Rivard Report tells me anything, it tells me that the City is not serious about Vision Zero,(#VisionZero) but are for making sure that driving a car as enjoyable as possible.

 The 73-page report by California-based design firm MIG and Parsons Brinckerhoff of Canada at http://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Final_Broadway_Corridor_Plan_web.compressed.pdf


Images:
60.1: My cross section featured in my Story, Streetcar Part III, No Need for Streetcars Down Broadway. Source for cross section:  http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mEV5Yb_NRmY/VAExhNU_R2I/AAAAAAAAAvc/OMgqeqzEsCU/s1600/Midtown%2BBroadway%2BIdeally%2BBus%2BStop%2BWest.jpeg

60.2: Source of image https://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/upperbroadway-road-diet.jpg

60.3: Source of the top: https://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/upper-broadway-to-hildebrand.jpg, Source for the bottom: http://streetmix.net/BikeSanAntonio/63/allensworth-to-hildebrand-wparking

60.4: Source of the top: https://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/upperbroadway-road-diet.jpg  Source for Bottom: http://streetmix.net/BikeSanAntonio/71/allensworth-to-tuleta-wparking

60.5: Source for top: https://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/upper-broadway-road-diet-josephine.jpg   Source for Bottom: http://streetmix.net/BikeSanAntonio/72/josephine-to-tuleta-wparking 

60.6: Source for top: https://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/lower-broadway-josephine.jpg  Source for bottom: http://streetmix.net/BikeSanAntonio/72/josephine-to-tuleta-wparking

60.7: Source for top: https://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/lower-broadway-3rd-road-diet.jpg
Source for bottom:  http://streetmix.net/BikeSanAntonio/61/3rd-to-i-35

60.8: Source for top:  https://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/lower-broadway-road-diet_centro-MIG.jpg  Source for bottom:  http://streetmix.net/BikeSanAntonio/70/houston-to-3rd 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What The Source Failed to Mention.

On January 4, 2017, TPR The Source had a show called,  "Is San Antonio 'Stuck Behind The Wheel'?".

They had 3 guest....

They also had two reporters as well

Through out the entire show, they mentioned some solutions like managed lanes, passenger trains and car pooling, everything else other than bicycling and walking. Below are my impressions of some of the guest and what they talked about....

Ray Lopez
It's funny how they had a guy on who voted against the multimodal system he so championed. I remember meeting him for the first time at this event at the Pearl I think back in 2012.  He described rail as part of this 'multimodal system.' He described it as people would get in their cars and drive to the train station and hop on the light rail, then they'll take a bus or a rubber tire trolley to their final destination.  What I heard was, "you get in to your car, then you park, then you get into this bigger car to transfer to this ugly car to your final destination.' I doubt that his ideal would come to fruition because even he refuses to take the bus to pick up his kid from school because he would have to wait for an hour for the next bus.  Doubt that others are willing to do the same even with a train.

Comparing Dallas to San Antonio
The one thing that got on my nerves is that these people couldn't stop comparing what they have in Dallas, to what can be accomplished here in San Antonio.  That's because DART put it's light rail down old railroad right of ways.  Houston is a better example of what will happen if they ever put in light rail which is right down the middle of the street.  The thing about Houston is that they have these wide streets which I refer to as stroads (see video) to be able to put down these rails without really impacting vehicle lanes.

Another thing that they didn't talk about is that the light rail in Dallas really fails to get people out of their cars.  What it does do, it keeps people who can't afford cars from needing to buy a car. When I rode the DART system two years ago, the people I met and talked to seem to have money. That if they lived in San Antonio, they would break down and buy a car. But because the DART system works like a 'glove', they don't really feel the need to buy one.  If you want to know why people aren't using the rail in the DFW area, I ask you to go back and read Doing Commuter Rail Right Part I.  Apparently even if we get rail, we won't be operating it well either.

SA Traffic Jam Future
You got to love the doom and gloom predictions that Linda Alvarado-Vela along with Ray Lopez put out through the entire show on how 1.5 million more people are coming to San Antonio in the next 20 years and they all are going to drive. To be honest, I don't see that many people moving to San Antonio. I'll be surprises if 500,000 more comes to Bexar County. Let me tell you why their predictions are wrong.

There's No Money.
With all the solutions they put forward, they left out the fine print, no money for said projects. Adding a vehicle lane or managed lane to the freeway, building a light rail network, all cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Take into account for TxDOT lacking money for basic road maintenance, and you come to realize how screwed we are. You'll hear from the Toll party on how we have the money to fix the problems with congestion, telling you how this politician or that politician is stealing your future away by supporting toll roads. Or you can accept reality that the reason why the MPO and TxDOT were looking to toll roads as a solution was because they saw the budget shortfalls of today coming back at the turn of the century. It is because of the Toll Party efforts that we don't have light rail nor managed lanes on any of our freeways. To say they (our political leaders) are against driving leaves our a simple fact that they to drive cars and like you don't want to be stuck in traffic.

For the record, I do agree with the toll party on public/private partnerships, they tend to screw everyone for profit.

Alas not Least
The one thing that I have dedicated this blog for is the cheaper solution such as bicycle lanes and protected bicycle lanes. I'm also a big supporter of rail transit which isn't cheap and constantly inform people through this blog how it's better than buses. But at the same time, I don't misinform you about such realities of how said systems would work and won't be as advertised. But let's lay out the most obvious fact of all that is not mentioned anywhere, which is our congestion is a sign of our city being a successful place to live. Now before you accused me of wanting to be stuck in a traffic jam, I like you don't want to be stuck in one.

 I cannot help the fact that we live in a city where those in charge refuse to provide alternatives and only 3% of the population shows up to vote in city elections. Those 3% of people ate against bicycle lanes calling it graffiti. Since the majority of local citizens aren't showing up at the polls, we'll we deserve to be stuck behind the wheel.