What’s in store for your Loop 1604 commute?

People mill about at a meeting for Loop 1604

People mill about at a meeting earlier tonight for Loop 1604

Here’s the gist of what’s being laid out, in a series of public meetings wrapping up tonight, for Loop 1604’s future.

The problem, officials say, is that traffic demand in 25 years will be twice as much as what can fit on the highway today. The lanes can currently handle about 80,000 vehicles a day, but demand is 110,000 now and will surge to 155,000 by 2035.

An environmental study is sizing up impacts of three basic strategies:

Buses and passenger rail. At best, this can meet 15 percent of demand when you consider that top-notch transit cities such as San Francisco, Washington and Boston snare about that much of the trips in those cities.  

Managing and improving traffic flows. This is done with engineering, like the super street idea, and behavior incentives that range from carpooling to staggered work hours and telecommuting. California enacted laws requiring large employers to use such commuting strategies but cut traffic just 3 percent.

Adding four lanes to the highway. Since each lane can handle about 20,000 vehicles a day, that would do the trick.

So you can see where the math leads. 

However, a dozen various community criteria will also drive decisions, and that produces a little more mix into the approaches.

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13 Apr 2010, 5:43am
Commuting Construction and closures:

Comments Off on Loop 1604 getting a helping of stimulus

Loop 1604 getting a helping of stimulus

Work starting up to widen Loop 1604
Work starting up to widen Loop 1604.

Workers began plopping orange cones into place along Loop 1604 near Randolph AFB and driving in heavy machinery last week. 

The job is to widen the road into a four-lane divided highway from FM 78 to Graytown Road by summer 2011, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Federal stimulus dollars are funding the $6.63 million cost.  

“These improvements have been in the works for several years but were unfunded,” TxDOT engineer Frank Holzmann said in a statement. “With availability of economic stimulus funding, we now have an opportunity to move forward on this.”

But moving forward could be a slow and/or muddy affair for now. The National Weather Service has forecast rain throughout the week.

Massive Loop 1604 study goes back to the public

Loop 1604 study map

The top ideas on how to add lanes to almost half of Loop 1604 will be laid out in a series of three public meetings this week so officials can get input.

With gas taxes strangled by decades of inflation, diversions and political inaction, toll fees and toll-backed bonds have emerged as a primary path to get some things done on the 37-mile stretch of highway. 

A previous study was derailed in 2008 after toll opponents and environmental activists filed a lawsuit in a federal court. The lawsuit in part called for Loop 1604 and U.S. 281 to be studied together, since they would have been part of an interrelated tollway system, and the judge seemed to agree.  

For this week’s meetings, study officials will provide several short presentations each night, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.:

For more information or help, start out at More for 1604’s event page.

Other links:

12 Mar 2010, 12:01am
Construction and closures Roads Transit:

Comments Off on Downtown will be jam-packed Saturday

Downtown will be jam-packed Saturday

Photo from www.luminariasa.org.

Photo from www.luminariasa.org.

It’s going to get a little crazy this Saturday, with some 200,000 or more people converging on downtown and carrying on from morning to night.  

If you’re heading down there, or just passing through, have a plan. Several streets will be closed. And buses on a dozen routes will be rerouted throughout the day. 

First up, an annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will thump and blast its way past the Alamo, starting at 11 a.m. Then the party will shift to the River Walk for an afternoon of dancing and music at the Arneson River Theatre and a 3 p.m. river parade.

Later, throngs of artists, performers, musicians and fans will light up La Villita and HemisFair Park for Luminaria: Arts Night in San Antonio, and hang out past midnight. The celebration highlights Contemporary Art Month.  

So if you want to be mobile in downtown San Antonio this Saturday, you might have to get a little creative. Good luck!

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The only thing to look forward to is the past

Omnibus soaking its wheels in the SA river

Omnibus soaking its wheels in the SA river

With all the zippidy-doo-dah hoopla over the possibility of a return to streetcars, why not go the whole hog and bring back mule drawn omnibuses?  I mean, who else is doing that?  Let’s think outside the box and get out of Portland, Oregon’s shadow once and for all.  Think of the benefits.  No expensive overhead or the need to tear up streets for miles on end and tourists will love it.

Mule drawn streetcars were introduced in San Antonio in 1878 but omnibus service has that beat by seven years.  It cost 5 cents to go from Main Square to Alamo Plaza.  With all the money we’ll save by not installing staggeringly expensive streetcar systems and their unsightly overhead power lines, we could go back and charge the same fare in 2010 that it was in 1871.  I guess there is a flaw in my logic somewhere but, you know, I’ll be d****d if I know what it is.

28 Jan 2010, 11:00pm
Construction and closures:

Comments Off on I-35 closed Saturday

I-35 closed Saturday

A daylong blanket of wetness (I can still hear a soothing patter outside) has pushed a scheduled nighttime closure of Interstate 35 to a more traffic-heavy Saturday morning.

Crews will close all main lanes in both directions between AT&T Parkway and New Braunfels Avenue from 4 a.m. to as late as 2 p.m. so they can do bridge work, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Motorists should look for alternative routes such as Austin Highway and Broadway; or I-10 and Houston Street.

Also, watch out for the closure of three westbound Loop 410 lanes at San Pedro Avenue from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Could be rough. Work there includes culvert and bridge repairs.

The ultimate judge on whether the closures happen, of course, is the weather. The verdict for now, per the National Weather Service, forecasts a good chance for more showers Friday, followed by the sun coming out of hiding Saturday and Sunday.

Check out the latest:

15 Jan 2010, 12:30pm
Construction and closures Roads Toll roads:

Comments Off on Terri’s at it again (part 2 of 2)

Terri’s at it again (part 2 of 2)

In yesterday’s post, I took aim at the alleged “egregious fiscal malfeasance” that local toll-opponent Terri Hall accused ARMA of with regards to their plans for a US 281/Loop 1604 interchange.  Today, I’ll take her to task on her claims of “unequal application of the law” with regards to the environmental studies required for the interchange versus those for 281 north of 1604.

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Terri’s at it again (part 1 of 2)

This past Monday, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) held a public meeting to show their plans for the US 281/Loop 1604 interchange.  The interchange is being funded primarily with federal economic stimulus funds and therefore will be built toll-free, but that’s not enough for local outspoken toll-opponent Terri Hall.  She had a lot to say about the project on her MySA.com blog yesterday.  I submitted a response to it last night, but as she has to approve it, it hasn’t been posted yet.  (But I’m not really surprised.)  So I’m going to respond to her here on my turf.  Because her comments went all over the map, I’m going to break this response up into two posts: one about the costs of the interchange (today), and one about the environmental clearance it is getting (tomorrow).

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13 Jan 2010, 10:13pm
Construction and closures Roads:

Comments Off on TxDOT previews planned I-10 improvements

TxDOT previews planned I-10 improvements

I-10 inbound at UTSA Blvd.

I-10 inbound at UTSA Blvd.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  With my website update and the holidays and the ensuing aftermath, I’ve been a wee bit busy, not to mention just spending time with my adorable 16-month-old!  But I’m ready to dive back in, so here goes…

I just got home from TxDOT’s public hearing on their long-planned improvements to I-10 West.  As I mentioned earlier this week, my recollection was that the proposed changes would include adding an extra freeway lane in each direction and removing the existing outbound DeZavala exit.  That indeed still forms the core of the improvements package, but there were a few other goodies.

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Two big San Antonio transpo meetings next week

Two agencies– TxDOT and ARMA– will be conducting public meetings next week for two separate projects.

281/1604First up is ARMA with a public meeting to discuss the US 281/Loop 1604 interchange project, scheduled to break ground later this year.  It is being funded primarily by federal stimulus money and will build the first four elevated ramps connecting 281 south of 1604 to both directions on 1604.  The meeting is Monday, January 11, at Parkhills Baptist Church, 17747 San Pedro.  Doors open at 5:30pm for an open house.  The formal presentation begins at 7:00pm with public comments thereafter.  I’m going to try and have a web page on the interchange project done this weekend.

Two days later, TxDOT will hold a public hearing on proposed improvements to I-10 West from Ramsgate to Loop 1604.  These plans have been on the back burner for serveral years as no funding has been available.  The planned improvements include adding an extra mainlane in each direction and major revisions of the ramps in that area.  As those of you who pass through there know, the ramp configuration outbound between Huebner and De Zavala is particularly problematic.  The last renderings I saw removed the existing ramp for De Zavala and instead re-purposed the Woodstone exit ramp as the De Zavala exit.  That one small change alone, assuming it’s still in the works, will be a big improvement.  The hearing will take place on January 13th at the Clark High School cafeteria, 5150 De Zavala Rd.  The open house begins at 6:30pm with the actual presentation and public hearing starting at 7:00pm.

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