Author of Blog: Daniel Day

Sunday, October 29, 2017

What isn't Mentioned on Transportation in San Antonio

As I was watching the recent League of Women Voters of the San Antonio Area forum called, “Transportation Needs of San Antonio: How are we preparing for the future?”, I was expecting the usual talking point that rail will save the day, and I got that. But I was surprised to see that Ana Sandoval, council woman for district 7, point out the problem, how we punish people for not having a car are paid less and many job ads demanding that you have "reliable transportation."

I have personal experience with this for my lack of car ownership always puts me at a disadvantage when looking for work.  I lost count the number of times that I've been denied employment for not owning a car.  It was this experience that lead me to create my map on where you could live without a car in San Antonio for when I lived in that square, I found work. (Image 23.1)

Another problem that was pointed out by Bill Barker, Adjunct Associate Professor in Urban and Regional Planning at UTSA. He pointed out how at the turn of the 21st century, there was plenty of money for passenger rail projects, now all that money is now focus on the Northeast Corridor.  He mention that we need a 21st Century solution for transportation.  The problem with that is that we don't have the money for 21st century.  What we need is a 19th century solution to our transportation needs for as virtually everyone mentioned on the board, that the federal money is drying up.

So how did communities before the 20th century pay for infrastructure improvement with out the federal government?  Well they formed their own corporations to raise money to pay for churches, roads and even public transit systems like electric trolleys. To make sure that their investments (the key word here) wasn't a waste of money, they made sure that the value of the land was tied to the improvement.   Their examples can be seen in mountainous areas throughout the Appalachians with roads that have the word "Pike in their name and many of the churches that are in the community built before 1920.

I found out about this while reading the book, "Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America" by John Michael Greer.  On pages 216 through 217...
      "De Tocqueville wrote: “The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found institutions for education, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, and to send missionaries to the antipodes; and in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it be proposed to advance some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they found a society. Whenever, at the head of some new undertaking, you find the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you are sure to find an association. I met with several kinds of association in America of which I confess I had no previous notion; and I have often admired the extreme skill with which the inhabitants of the United States succeed in proposing a common object to the exertions of a great many men, and getting them voluntarily to pursue it.”3The types of associations de Tocqueville encountered used an assortment of ingenious legal structures borrowed, for the most part, from English common law. Those of my readers who dislike the role of corporations in contemporary American life may be interested to know that the distant and much less toxic ancestor of today’s corporate structure was one of them. A corporation, back in those days, was not a privileged legal pseudo-person with more rights and fewer responsibilities than a human being. It was simply a group of people who set out to accomplish some purpose, and got a charter from the state government allowing them to raise money for that purpose by selling shares of stock. Most had single purposes — building a hospital, say, or a canal — and limited lifespans, defined either as a fixed number of years or until the purpose of the corporation was completed."

If we are to do the same thing today lets say to provide passenger rail between Dallas and San Antonio, we are going to have to form a corporation to either lease the tracks from Union Pacific, or lay down our own tracks.  We are going to have to find a way to make money so we can pay back the lenders who paid for the initial cost such as buying passenger equipment and locomotives. We need to show how having a passenger rail station raises the land values and use those raises in land values to pay for the service because ticket revenue isn't enough to pay for the service at all.

If you read between the lines of this forum on transportation, it is that we are literately up the river without a paddle, with no money to pay for expanding highways, no money for buses or light rail and no way to translate any transportation improvements with higher land values that equals to future money for transportation needs.  Sorry folks, but there's no more money coming from the federal government, there's no money that is going to be gain with existing sales tax or gasoline tax.  So what is the ancient solutions to transportation?  Build things near each other, and that is what needed to be mentioned in the League of Women Voters of the San Antonio Area forum called, “Transportation Needs of San Antonio: How are we preparing for the future."

23.1:   My map of where you should live without a car featured in the blog post "Where 2 Live in SA W/O 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...
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.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to give a shout out to you for writing such a great blog. I was an avid reader of JMG's archdruid blog and will begin my big adventure of commuting to work in about one more month. My big powerful electric assist bike (google Super 73 - not the scout, but the big one) will be enhanced with full sized motorcycle turn signals, a 130dB truck horn, and a device that extends out 3 ft on either side to help drivers keep their distance. Also forward and rear cameras will be mounted. I will wear a full face helmet, summer perforated racing leathers with CE rated armor, racing knee and shin guards. Everything in mostly reflective white with some black and silver style flaring. I have raised my uninsured/underinsured motorist limits to $1,000,000, taken out the accident insurance offered at work, and bought the velosurance company bike insurance against theft while also adding some un-reimbursed medical bill coverage with them as well (my car, btw, is an all electric call that my wife and I share). I'll be commuting from Harmony Hills/Castle Hills up Lockhill Selma to De Zavala and then west to the industrial park just past I10 south of De Zavala. Using Huebner would save me time, but I would have to use the sidewalk on Huebner in order to not severely risk my life on a daily basis. I'll be sure to send you the youtube link when I get it all going! Keep up the good fight!