Roads: Bandera Road City of San Antonio intersection Texas Department of Transportation
For commuters from the Medical Center to Bandera Rd., one of the worse bottlenecks is the intersection of Eckhert at Bandera. While there are dual left turn lanes for traffic headed toward the Medical Center from southbound Bandera, there is only a single right turn lane for traffic coming from the Medical Center to northbound Bandera. This means that during the afternoon rush hour, that right turn lane backs-up considerably, sometimes all the way to Marshall High School, which itself also contributes to the problems when school’s in session. To get around that, drivers cut through on neighboring streets, especially Woodchase, and some cut through the Carl’s Jr./Dickey’s parking lot. A few bold drivers even make illegal right turns from the center lane, which is marked as straight or left turn only. And I’m sure many drivers just avoid the area entirely.
To finally provide some relief, TxDOT and the City of San Antonio are working to install dual right turn lanes. Some initial prep work to fix the corner curb and bring the curb cut to ADA compliance was completed a few weeks ago, and the “pork-chop” island that separates the right turn bay from the through lanes was removed earlier this week. The City now has some traffic signal work to complete and then the restriping will be done. There’s no official completion date as of now, but I would guess that it would be done by the time school starts-up again later this month or shortly thereafter.
After hour upon hour of citizens to be heard (well over 100 of them), and then several agonizing minutes of parliamentarian wrangling over whether the proposed changes had to have cost estimates to be legal, the MPO finally voted at around 11:20pm. The first vote, to remove tolls from 281, was 13-5 against with one abstention; the vote among elected officials was 6-5 against. The subsequent vote on removing tolls from 1604 went the same way. However, in the surprise of the night (besides Jack Finger ending his comments with time to spare), the board voted unanimously to remove the CDA (comprehensive development agreement) option for Bandera Rd., essentially killing the prospect of tolls on that roadway. That almost seemed like a consolation offering to Tommy, Terri, and the anti-toll crowd. The final vote of the night– whether to build all eight ramps of the 281/1604 interchange instead of just the four already in the works– ended-up being dropped entirely after a board member pointed-out that the additional four ramps could not be built because they would have to be covered under a separate environmental study. This would cause it to lose its federal stimulus funds because the project would not be shovel-ready by next March’s deadline. In the end, I think everyone was too tired anyway to debate it.
Much more to follow in the coming days.