26 Aug 2010, 2:16pm

Comments Off on Heat already on AGUA?

Heat already on AGUA?

In reader comments posted yesterday in response to the Express-News’ story about AGUA’s lawsuit to stop the US 281/Loop 1604 interchange, several posters were calling for boycotts of local businesses listed on AUGA’s “donors” page.  Today, that list of businesses is gone from AGUA’s site.  Reading between the lines, I think it’s pretty obvious that the heat is already on AGUA from their donors over their wildly unpopular and inane decision to sue.

What effect do you think this will have, if any?

First super-street intersection to open Monday

After yesterday’s disheartening news about the US 281/Loop 1604 interchange, I have a bit of good news today.  Earlier this week, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) announced that the first intersection in the US 281 super-street project will be completed and open to traffic on Monday morning.

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AGUA files suit to stop 281/1604 interchange

In what really isn’t a surprise (at least to me), the enviro-wackos at Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas (AGUA) have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the planned US 281/Loop 1604 interchange project, which would build the first four direct connectors at that intersection.  According to an early Express-News report, AGUA claims that the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) didn’t kowtow to their demands, so they had no choice but to file a lawsuit.


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Terri vs Bruce

Bruce Davidson, one of members of the Express-News’ editorial board, wrote a spot-on editorial in yesterday’s paper about how the root cause of toll roads is the Legislature’s and Governor’s resistance to increasing the gas tax.  His editorial essentially says not to blame the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) because they’re just playing the hand they’ve been dealt and that, in reality, they are working to find funding for 281 and other projects “wherever they can get it.”

Of course, the response out of southern Comal County was nearly instantaneous.  more »

Latest US 281 public meeting tomorrow

Artist's rendering of possible elevated expressway at 281 and Evans

Artist's rendering of possible elevated expressway at 281 and Evans

The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority will be holding the third public meeting on its Environmental Impact Statement for the US 281 North corridor tomorrow evening (Thursday).  This meeting will allow ARMA to share the latest status of the study and get input from the public on the remaining proposals.  The process has whittled-down the list of options to three viable proposals:

  • Overpasses: This would build overpasses on US 281 at major intersections.  This proposal provides the least increase in capacity but has the lowest cost.  However, as a toll-free option, funding would need to be found.  Also, because the overpasses would increase travel speeds, many side streets and driveways would possibly need to be eliminated for safety and operational reasons.
  • Expressway: This option would build a conventional expressway with six to eight main lanes and six lanes of frontage roads.  The new expressway main lanes could be toll-free, tolled, or managed.
  • Elevated expressway: This proposal would leave the existing 281 mostly in place as-is and would build four to six elevated expressway lanes above the existing lanes.  South of Stone Oak, the elevated lanes would be on each side of 281, much like the double-decked expressways downtown; north of Stone Oak, the elevated lanes would run along the west side of the existing lanes.  Access ramps connecting to the existing 281 would be provided at strategic locations.  Just as with the conventional expressway option, the new elevated lanes could be toll-free, tolled, or managed.

In addition, any final proposal will also consider bus and park & ride facilities, pedestrian and bike improvements, growth and demand management, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (e.g. TransGuide).  All of the options also consider reserving an envelope for a future high-capacity transit option, such as HOV lanes or light-rail.  One option that had been carried forward previously– the overpasses coupled with additional expansions of Blanco and Bulverde Roads– is recommended to be dropped because of a number of factors.

Each of the options to be carried-forward has strengths and weaknesses.  The next phase of the study will further analyze each to determine which has the most pros and least cons.

The meeting will begin with an open house from 5:30-7pm, followed by a presentation from 7-7:30 and small breakout group sessions thereafter.  It will take place at the Summit Christian Center at 2575 Marshall Road (the same place where the Super Street meeting was held last year.)  More information, including advance copies of the presentation and a map of the meeting location, is available here.

No takers on US 281 comparison study

After last October’s contentious MPO meeting where a motion to remove all toll options for US 281 and Loop 1604 was voted down, MPO policy board members voted to have a study done comparing the toll and non-toll options for 281. 

Nobody wanted the job.

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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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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.

MPO approves long-range plan; Tommy starts to get it

As reported here last week, the San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) policy board was scheduled to vote on the “Mobility 2035” long-range regional plan yesterday.  Toll opponents were angry because the plan included numerous projects in three corridors (I-35 North, Loop 1604, and I-10 West) pigeon-holed as toll-concession projects, also known as Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) projects.  As I explained previously, because current projections show little to no gas-tax funds being available during the time span of the plan, those projects had to have creative funding “placeholders” assigned to them in order to continue planning work on them, those placeholders being CDAs.

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