San Antonio Needs Complete Streets, Not More Highways

A conceptual illustration of the Broadway corridor.

Late this month, the Texas Department of Transportation announced that it will rescind minute orders issued in 2014 and 2015 transferring control of Broadway Street along the 2.2-mile stretch from I-35 to Burr Road to the City of San Antonio.

For the past six years, the City has been busy planning and implementing multiple phases of the Broadway Corridor Project, beginning with Phase 1: the Lower Segment, which encompasses Broadway from East Houston Street to the I-35 overpass–a $43 street redevelopment plan funded by voters.

A major component is a road diet—a reduction in the number of north and southbound traveling lanes from three to two on both sides of Upper Broadway Street–to make room for a protected bike lane, wider sidewalks, and shade trees for cyclists and pedestrians.

Shortly after receiving word of this decision from members of the San Antonio Cycling Coalition, Bike San Antonio traveled to Austin to attend a meeting hosted by the Texas Transportation Commission. We also submitted public comments to the Texas Governor’s Office and gave interviews to local media to voice support for the City’s original plan to build bike lanes on Broadway.

TxDOT’s rationale for the motion to retake Broadway was that a lane reduction would increase congestion and drive cars from Broadway to 281.

The news came as a huge shock to San Antonio cyclists, but it’s a setback for the whole city, which has been making headway in recent years to becoming more bike-friendly. City leaders, including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, voiced their opposition on social media and public forums.

“We need public outrage about this,” said Bryan Martin, former interim executive director of Bike SA. “This is the exact opposite of small government. TxDOT should trust San Antonians to make decisions that are right for them and their community.

“These roads need to go on a diet, and make it safer for pedestrians, bus riders, and cyclists,” he added. “What I’m hearing from TxDOT is a 1 to 2-minute delay is not worth saving lives.”

“Having streets like Broadway under local control allows cities to better attune streets and zoning according to the needs of everyone who uses it,” said Bike SA Board Member Alvin Holbrook. “Forcibly taking control from the city does just the opposite, leaving it to a highway-obsessed firm with a track record of putting auto traffic before people. If you care about how your city looks and feels, you need to care about this.”

Read a letter from SA business and civic leaders to the Transportation Department

Streets like Broadway that are not major highways belong under local control. The posted speed limit on Broadway is 35 miles per hour. Businesses and drive-outs line both sides, buses frequent the right lane, and it is flanked by residential neighborhoods to the east and west, as well as Brackenridge Park. Turning it into a highway will increase the Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) that a person on a bike feels riding close to cars, buses, and other traffic.

Research from the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization shows that while most people are comfortable riding on a quiet residential street, they would feel unsafe riding on a six-lane road with a 40-mile-per-hour speed limit. Most people avoid riding a bike on many parts of San Antonio’s street network because it is a stressful experience.

Since I began biking nine years ago, I’ve ridden on Broadway many times and have never felt safe. Several years ago, I was sideswiped by a truck driver in Alamo Heights who was trying to cut across a neighborhood street over to Broadway. A pedestrian witnessed the near-crash and said it behooved me to watch out for certain motorists, because they could behave aggressively. I’ll never forget his words or the jarring experience, and how I felt like I’d avoided death.

I wonder what the driver would have said if I’d confronted him. I didn’t see her. The sun was in my eyes. I was in a hurry. All of these are reasons I’ve heard motorists give to try and explain bike crashes. None rationalize the damage done to cyclists by motor vehicles each year on Texas roadways.

(Clockwise from left): Lydia Kelly, San Antonio director of Bike Texas, Davey Bemporad, trails and transportation planner for the Great Springs Project, Bryan Martin, former interim executive director of Bike SA, and Kari Kuwamura, executive director of Activate SA, traveled to Austin Jan. 27 to speak before the Texas Transportation Commission about keeping the San Antonio Broadway project under local control. (Courtesy photo)

Roadway crashes continue to rise in our state. More than 4,400 people were killed on Texas roadways last year–the second-highest count for the state roads ever, and 500 more than were recorded in 2020, according to data from the Texas Transportation Commission. Crashes involving pedestrians and cyclist fatalities and serious injuries were higher in 2021 than they have been in years.

That’s why cyclists follow Texas bike laws when riding on public roads, whether they’re quaint side streets, busy thoroughfares, or access roads. We know we have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers, and that it’s important to signal properly when turning and coming to full stops at Stop signs and red lights. Even on the greenways, which prohibits motor vehicle traffic, we practice etiquette to keep the linear spaces a safe, fun, and recreational place for all.

We appreciate it when drivers move over and #Give3Feet of space for us to ride on major/busy roadways. It makes us feel not only safer, but like we’re part of a community.

As the implications of this latest development roll out, we anticipate hearing how federal transportation dollars allocated to the Broadway project will be spent. We are encouraged by measures taken at the federal level, from a new safety policy outlined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg aimed at setting better guidance for setting safe speed limits and also awarding grants to cities that build Complete Streets. The new infrastructure bill will provide federal grants to improve bike and pedestrian facilities in safety in our town, as well as roadway issues across the state.

We hope TxDOT keeps the City’s plans for Broadway and recognizes that multimodal transportation isn’t just about urban design for a select group of people, but building the framework for modern and innovative cities across Texas.

-Katie Nickas

Secretary of Bike San Antonio

Growing Our Membership

Those in the San Antonio cycling community know the tireless efforts involved in bike safety and advocacy. Bike San Antonio has been working diligently these last few months to produce a Public Safety Announcement, network at Síclovía, and team up with local bike nonprofits including Earn-a-Bike and Ghisallo Cycling Initiative. We are promoting bike education as we continue to grow our coalition through active engagement with diverse individuals and bike groups throughout the city.
We’d like to thank local SA journalist Billy Busby for partnering with us on the PSA, and his creativity in bringing it to fruition. Since airing on YouTube on Sept. 24, “Saddle Up SA” has reached more than 400 viewers and received multiple shares on social media. This is more than a message from the SATX bike community to motorists to obey traffic laws. It’s a clarion call for the public to share the road, give 3 feet for cyclists, and recognize that people on bikes belong to the community and deserve respect.
This project comprises one in a series of cycling and pedestrian-related PSAs to come that will be featured on TV to help bring cycling tragedies to a halt. We honor a nationwide commitment to Vision Zero and the Complete Streets policy that the San Antonio-Bexar County Transportation Policy Board adopted in March 2009, and that City Council approved on Sept. 29, 2011. Still, it will take much more. We need justice for cyclists who are assaulted, struck, injured, or killed on the streets and highways of Texas each day. That’s why you’ll see us posting on Facebook and Instagram to raise money for injured cyclists and sharing announcements about upcoming events and ways to volunteer to further bike education.
In the season ahead, we’ll launch a membership drive to give folks a chance to show their support for our cause by owning a Bike SA t-shirt, helmet, lights, and bumper stickers. Donating to our organization will help us strategically advocate safer bike infrastructure, education, and awareness both politically and in our communities. We are building capacity to hold public forums with stakeholders, outreach meetings to increase participation from cycling residents in each council district, and hire an executive director to build relationships with elected and non-elected officials.

The calendar is full with all that’s planned. Be sure to look for our board members and riders at the Tuesday night SATX Social Ride, at ActivateSA virtual meetings, on the trails and greenways, and all your favorite riding spots.

Happy fall, San Antonio, and safe travels on two wheels!

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Bronko Bikes at Síclovía

Founder Bryan Martin and crew attended the event to promote and share information about e-bikes.

Ride to Henry B. González Convention Center

Close to two dozen concerned cyclists and advocates rode to a 2022 City Council and Mayor budget hearing to push for more spending on bike infrastructure safety and awareness.

Leon-Salado Greenways Connection

Bike SA President Russell Hom-Crosier took his bike along the Leon and Salado Greenways Sept. 5 and took this panoramic photo showing the connector trail linking the two.

The YMCA of Greater San Antonio hosts Síclovía Sunday, Sept. 26 

More than 22,850 participants celebrated the 10th annual event, held along Roosevelt Avenue this fall.

Bike San Antonio

katie (at)

The Perfect Time to Build Bike Infrastructure

A record number of cyclists have been riding along the streets and greenways of San Antonio since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bike shops began selling out of bikes last spring, and have struggled to keep up with demand since.

Planned protected bike lane on Ave B that BikeSA advocated for

The time to build comprehensive bike infrastructure in San Antonio is now. With a population of 1.5 million, the city is the sixth-largest in the U.S., and continues to be the fastest-growing, outpacing any other major metropolitan area. Still, statistics and local wisdom show it’s behind in providing citizens with a safe, interconnected bicycle network.

In May of 2019, People for Bikes reported that San Antonio had a bike-friendly score of 1.5 out of 5 stars based on ridership, safety, network, reach, and acceleration, ranking it 284th out of 512 cities. That number has decreased to 1.2 according to the organization’s latest data–a problem that is reflected statewide. Despite the fact that more than 4 million Texans ride bicycles each year, Texas is at the lower end of bicycle-friendly states in terms of current laws enacted to protect people on bikes (ranked 30 out of 50, according to the League of American Bicyclists).

San Antonio’s bike community is growing exponentially, and while motorists may be starting to take bicycles seriously, the reality is the city is not safe for cyclists. People continue to be killed on San Antonio roadways while riding. The overwhelming reason San Antonio residents don’t ride bikes more often is they don’t feel safe riding in traffic, but the lack of bike infrastructure gives them no other option.

Over the last four years, Bike San Antonio has been hard at work improving bike safety. We’ve engaged in meaningful outreach with bike groups throughout the city, including SATX Social Ride, Activate SA, Pedal SATX, and Earn-a-Bike. We’ve hosted public events such as Street Skills Classes and walk and bike nights. We’ve spoken to city planners and architects with the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO) and Public Works department, as well as elected representatives on the San Antonio City Council, to advocate bike infrastructure. By participating in questionnaires and online surveys, we’re increasing public participation to make our elected officials aware of which streets are priorities for public safety.

Broadway Ride

On October 27, 2019, Bike San Antonio and Bronko Bikes hosted the inaugural “Ride Broadway with City Council and the Mayor” to advocate a protected bike lane on Lower Broadway Street. Broadway was one of the 50 major citywide projects included in the $850-million municipal bond package approved by voters and passed by City Council in 2017. It committed funds to build 200 miles of sidewalks, bike amenities, and multi-use paths over the next five years. $42 million of this funding is devoted to transportation, drainage, public facilities, and recreation on the southern portion of the street, which is now under construction.

Riders from across San Antonio, the SATX Social Ride, Wild Dawgs, Storm, Zombie Bike Club, Give 3 Feet, and San Antonio S’well Cycle flocked to the event. They joined Mayor Ron Nirenberg, City Council Representatives Shirley Gonzales (D5) and Ana Sandoval (D7) in a ride down the busy corridor in support of bike lanes.

Ride Broadway with City Council and the Mayor

Complete Streets

Bike SA board members also attended a virtual CoSA meeting on August 6, 2020, to advocate bike infrastructure on Commerce Street from St. Mary’s to Santa Rosa Avenue. We urged the City to comply with the Complete Streets policy that the San Antonio-Bexar County Transportation Policy Board adopted in March 2009, and that City Council approved on Sept. 29, 2011.

The City’s Department of Planning and Community Development recognized the need for Complete Streets more than a decade ago, and the proposed Complete Streets policy requires city roads to be planned, designed, built, and maintained for all users, with requirements for developers to consider bike lanes, wide sidewalks, and pedestrian buffers, among other amenities.

San Antonio was recognized in this recent report, “Safe Streets in American Cities,” for setting Complete Streets policies, and has made strides in safe paths for walking and biking. Much more work is needed, however, for our roadways to accommodate users of all ages and ability levels by providing a holistic approach to multi-modal transit.

We continue to support the Vision Zero SA initiative and the full implementation of the 2011 Bike Master Plan, which recommends a 1,768-mile network of bike facilities, including 861 miles of bike lanes, 12 miles of bike boulevards, 228 miles of multi-use paths and cycle tracks, and 500 or more additional miles of wide shoulders and signed routes. The plan outlined 17 miles of bike lanes and paths to be constructed, including the designation of Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails as connectors linking bike infrastructure across San Antonio, and the addition of protected bike lanes on major thoroughfares. We’d like to see the recommended improvements put into action.

Strategic Plan

Bike San Antonio’s board members have aligned the following projects with our Strategic Plan of Take Action, Bike Rides, Community Engagement, and Bicycle Safety through Education and plans, which will be presented at upcoming meetings:

      • Stop funding/planning more greenway miles until committed greenways are funded/given completion dates.
      • Build a continuous E/W corridor through downtown that connects to Broadway protected lanes
      • Build the “Tito Bradshaw Memorial Bikeway” that connects to a downtown corridor and extends to at least 410 East. Ensure the Bradshaw family/community is consulted in this process.
      • Create an E/W corridor that connects to a downtown corridor and extends to at least 410 West.
      • More public meetings about Roosevelt Avenue
      • Public Works shall maintain an up-to-date website of all protected bike corridors.
      • Do something concrete to get more bike racks out there.

Advocacy is our #1 goal. Communication with property owners, businesses, and designers is key to securing bikes a place on the road. Continued outreach and marketing will help grow a broader, more inclusive coalition of cycling advocates from diverse demographics and neighborhoods throughout San Antonio, helping create fair and equitable bike infrastructure for streets designated within the Bike Master Plan and beyond.

Working with the AAMPO and groups that receive federal funding to implement local plans will help Bike SA unite municipalities and agencies to build a truly connected network, provide public bike education programs, and leverage funding at the county, state, and federal levels to improve connectivity to roadways outside Bexar County.

The Future

We’ll continue to seek out large projects that offer buffered or protected bike lanes and that link gridded areas inside 410 to curvilinear streets and neighborhoods outside 410.  In addition, bike safety can be greatly increased at intersections. Cyclists prefer not to take neighborhood streets because they have to stop at every intersection and face poorer street quality, as well as dogs, lighting, and other obstacles.

Over the last couple years, we’ve welcomed two new board members: Alex Papanastassiou served as Bike SA’s Executive Director until he had to leave the group early this year due to other commitments. We are happy to have Tina Beecham on board with us as our new Vice President. Tina is a Trek advocate and founder of Pedal SATX who works with Bike World, People for Bikes, and Black Girls Do Bike, which has close to 500 members and more than 86 chapters nationwide. Tina’s commitment is to strengthening bike advocacy in San Antonio through various practices, including surveys to gather input on streets lacking bike amenities, and to secure better funding sources. She stresses the importance of safety and action in improving bike education.

There’s no doubt that bike riding is growing in Texas. The increasing number of bike riders on the streets is leading state legislators to introduce bills addressing traffic and bike safety. We also need protection for multiple road users. H.B. 554, introduced in the Texas House of Representatives in the 2021 legislative session, for instance, requires motorists to provide a three-foot distance between a car and a bike and truck drivers to provide six feet of safe passing space. H.B. 3325, the “Crash Not Accident” bill filed by State. Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-District 43, changes the terminology to describe transportation-related accidents as crashes. This April, a second bill was voted unanimously out of the Texas House Committee on Transportation and recommended to be sent to the Local & Consent calendar.

Unfortunately, however, laws are not enough to save the lives that have been cut short by bike crashes. Earlier this month, San Antonio witnessed the tragic loss of another cyclist who was near and dear to the community. Beatrice Gonzales was riding with her friends when she was struck by a drunk driver in front of Central Catholic High School on St. Mary’s Street. It was like any other night when cyclists enjoy riding, until disaster struck.

This kind of thing can’t keep happening. Bike San Antonio is determined to see San Antonio become a bike-friendly city for all. Please stay tuned and visit our social media channels to see the excellent work we’re devoting to building bike infrastructure in our home city.

April 2019 Meeting with TCI

On Tuesday April 9th we met with Transportation & Capital Improvements (TCI) officials:

Razi Housinni – Interim Director/City Engineer; Peter Zanoni – Deputy City Manager; Arthur Reinhardt – Interim Deputy Director; Richard Grochowski – Broadway project manager; David McBeth – City Engineer, St. Marys and Fredericksburg projects; Bianca Thorpe – Programs Manager.


-Tito Bradshaw Memorial Bikeway on East Houston Street

-Bike Lanes on St. Mary’s, Broadway, Fredericksburg, Cincinnati

-Restriction of cars parked in bike lanes

-Bike SA Master Plan update

-Bike Parking

They agreed to look at restricting cars parked in the bike lanes we provide them with. We sent them this: According to a Bike SA poll, cyclists have identified the following streets to remove car parking, because really, you can’t count these as bike lanes, they are actually car parking lanes. Mission Rd, Cincinnati Ave, Ashby, St Marys, Austin St, Woodlawn, S Presa, Grayson, Dover Ridge, N Vandiver, Les Harrison.

On E Houston, they said they can commit to looking at a protected bike lane from 3rd to where the contra flow lane starts. Also the potential bike boulevard on a side street from there.
Our responses to the meeting: We think that Ave B south of the freeway can work if we make it a one-way with a protected bike lane as you said. But since it isn’t part of the bond project, we’re afraid it won’t get funded, or if it does it will take like 20 years before it’s finished. We would also want the stop signs turned outwards for cross traffic, and very prominent wayfinding signs and markings on the road on Broadway indicating where the bike route goes. 

According to the complete streets ordinance: “All new construction and full reconstruction of city roadways will be planned, designed, constructed, and maintained to maximize the benefits to all users.”

All of the bike projects you are seeking federal funding for are in the most wealthy neighborhoods, yet the highest concentration of cyclists and cyclist crashes are in the downtown area where there is little safe bike infrastructure. Why were those projects prioritized?

David said he would send the latest streetscape plans of St. Mary’s and Fredericksberg.

Bianca said she would update us on when we can expect to see the bike crash map after she meets with UTSA.


Meeting Notes

Tito Bradshaw Memorial

  • The group discussed the new bikeway built in memory of cyclist Tito Bradshaw and how to connect it to the Salado Creek Greenway.
  • Feasibility of adding bike lanes to East Houston Street.
  • Possibility of Houston Street becoming a magnet for dock less scooters if it is made pedestrian-friendly and the need for another corridor to accommodate the density of scooters.
  •  TCI was amenable to doing a study and analysis.

Restriction of cars parked in bike lane

  • TCI reviewed the law passed by the SA City Council in 2014 that prohibited parking in bike lanes. As a result, any new bike lane installed would restrict parking. However, the law does not apply to lanes that are already in place.
  • TCI expressed concern about adding bike lanes where there are residential areas and driveways.
  • Russell suggested adding signage on all lanes telling people whether they can park—not only in areas where parking is prohibited.
  • TCI stressed it needs Bike San Antonio’s help in identifying the streets where signage is lacking.

Bike SA Master Plan Update

  • TCI said it submitted $60 million worth of projects to the City Council about three weeks ago for authorization to submit the Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) update for funding as part of the Congestion Mitigation Project (CMAC).
  • Of the $60 million, about $21 million is for the Bike SA Master Plan or bike facility projects.
  • TCI will learn whether these projects are funded by July or August 2019.
  • TCI provided that $1.5 million was allocated for the Bike SA Master Plan and implementation.

St. Mary’s Street Bike Lanes

  • TCI informed that St. Mary’s is another bond project for which about 70% of the design is complete. Three or four public meetings have been held so far. A bid will be placed this spring with a public meeting following in May or June.
  • The new project would include curbs with dedicated bike lanes and a driving lane running in each direction with parking on one side of the street.
  • TCI stated that due to high demand for nightlife, vehicles, and pedestrians on St. Mary’s, it is moving forward to try and widen the sidewalks, remove obstructions, and add dedicated bike lanes to the winding street.
  • TCI identified an adjacent residential area as well as parking as challenges to the project.
  • TCI said the eventual goal for St. Mary’s is to have buffered bike lanes.
  • TCI agreed to send a schematic plan of the St. Mary’s project to Bike San Antonio.

Quotes from Arthur Reinhardt:

“We want our streets to be as complete as possible. We are also looking at parallel corridors.”

“We want a destination—a shared use. We’ve had some challenges with pedestrian safety. When we start to move those elements, we run into problems.”

“Vision Zero guides us and focuses a lot on pedestrian safety. We have to get better engineering.”

“For two-thirds of the Broadway project, we feel we can fit bike facilities. We want to have a great street, sidewalks, shade, and promote other modes of transit, but one of the challenges is the southern section. It’s the rock we’re under right now. We’re looking at Avenue B farther south. We want to convert Avenue B to one-way traffic and repurpose half the street to have a nice protected bike lane.”

The following topics were also raised:

Safe-hit flag posts

Cycle tracks

Adding bike lanes at the time new sidewalks are installed

Integrated sidewalks/bike lanes/shared spaces

Installing binding laws requiring a certain number of bike lanes to be installed per year (

Armadillo shells in buffer lanes

Current bike projects:

A cycle track on Hamilton Wolfe Road, an east-west running corridor located on the city’s NW side in the Medical Center.

A bike facility project added on Abe Lincoln Road.

A bike facility project on Lockhill-Selma where there’s about a mile gap running from I-10 to Salado Creek

A bike facility project at the Five Points neighborhood intersection at Fredericksburg Road, where a VIA bus station is located. TCI would like to connect this area to Cincinnati Avenue.

Janel requested an update to the citywide bike routes and crash maps that UTSA was working on for Vision Zero.

Broadway Street Analysis

Yesterday we walked down Broadway with MIG Urban Designer Mukul. We learned that there are many areas of Broadway that allow for extra room, not necessarily notated on the street design schematics. For instance, there are buildings that are set back further than their property lines, which give more room for sidewalk and bike lane space. Under I-35 there is a center turn lane that turns into nothing, which can be removed and added to the sides to create a protected bike lane. Analyzing the street in person is an invaluable necessity we plan to continue while working towards a Broadway complete street.

Mukul informed us about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail that is an 8-mile bike and walk path through the city. It has points of interest along the way connecting some of Indy’s most popular cultural institutions. Something like this in SA could draw tourists out of the downtown areas to activate and enliven other areas of the city that are economically depressed. It could also provide safe and convenient ways for locals to travel while getting exercise.

BikeSA BMAC Presentation

On January 9, 2019 BikeSA Director Janel Sterbentz presented to the AAMPO Bicycle Mobility Advisory Committee.

Audio of the presentation starts at 2:45

The videos mentioned in the presentation

Bike Lane Clean Up

FutureSA Forum



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Survey Results

A total of 247 people took the Bike Survey. Respondents ranked San Antonio 49 out of 100, 100 is feeling very safe biking in the city. Over a third have been in a crash while cycling. 77% of those crashes were auto related, 16% were due to poor infrastructure and 8% other. So about 1 in 4 respondents have been in auto related crashes while cycling in San Antonio. A majority (64%) want more bike paths and lanes. In a Facebook poll, Broadway got 236 votes for a protected bikeway. See all results here.

Our Goals