In just 2 days, 1,000 people have signed the petition for The Tito Bradshaw Memorial Bikeway on E Houston, and 8,000 emails have gone out to 8 city officials. We are demanding action! As a result of these emails, I received a message from the Director of Transportation & Capital Improvements (TCI) expressing his condolences and agreeing to meet. He also shared the news that two weeks ago, City Council approved $21 million for dedicated bike facilities, and to update the City’s Bike Master Plan. He encouraged us to provide feedback on what we want prioritized in the FY2020 budget. Please take the survey at www.SASpeakUp.com. View all surveys here.
This was my response. We appreciate your efforts to update the bike master plan, but once it is updated we need to implement it. San Antonio is good at creating plans to increase street safety, but not as good at implementing them. We are a highly creative and technologically advanced society, we can easily make it so we don’t have to fear for our lives just to get from a to b.
I have to disagree with you that we are making progress with Vision Zero. As you can see in these graphs, since 2010 we have hardly increased the number of complete streets, traffic fatalities and serious injuries are increasing, alternative transit use is decreasing, and commute times and VMT are increasing.
Bryan and I walked down Broadway the other day to show how dangerous the streets are. As you can see in this video, there are construction steel plates in the bikeway that are uneven and unsecured. We called them in to 311 6 days ago and they are still there. They are placed incorrectly, and they shouldn’t move when driven over. Many cities add a textured coating on the plates, and place them so they are all flat. Cyclists and even motorist can easily slip on these with any bit of rain. Cyclists told me that they biked over them in the dark and didn’t even realize they were slick metal plates until they were off of them.
I’ve heard city officials here say that protected bike lanes are great, but “we aren’t built for that in San Antonio.” The Netherlands wasn’t built for bikes either, but in the 70’s they made a conscientious decision to accommodate cyclists. Now in some cities as many as 50% of all trips are by bike. I consistently hear from planners and officials here that if we take away car lanes it may increase traffic. Look at NYC who have been installing protected bike lanes on their streets that are already at a standstill with traffic. They make it a priority because they understand the importance. I encourage you to watch this video as well.
In terms of the money allocated to bike infrastructure and planning, the amount devoted to bikes is minuscule compared to the entire transportation budget. We could build 1,280 miles of protected bike lanes for the cost it takes to build 1 mile of freeway! San Antonio now has just 355 miles of on-street bike lanes. The bike plan goal is to add 1,740 miles of bike lanes in the next 20 years, which is 87 miles each year, we are not on track to meet this goal. We look forward to working with y’all to remedy these deficiencies in the transportation network.
This is Lydia’s comment to the email: So much money has been spent on plans that sit on the shelf. I worked at the MPO for 8 years (1/2005-5/2013) and have been following the process as an advocate since 2013. I cannot count (tooooo many) the times it has been promised that plans will be implemented.
I do believe that that is one of the reasons people have no interest in going to public meetings. I am as passionate about improving the situation for people who ride bikes as anyone; however, after trying to improve things since February 2005, when I hear someone at your level say there’s going to be another plan I just shake my head and say here we go again.
You have staff who have master degrees in urban planning. They don’t need a new plan. They just need authorization to IMPLEMENT existing plans: Bicycle Master Plan, VisioZero stuff that is out there, SA 2020, and countless community/neighborhood plans.
So, please, don’t tease us with another plan. It’s just rhetoric/propaganda that we continue to hear over and over again.