By Morgan Montalvo
City planners are holding a series of open houses this week to solicit public input on how to accommodate San Antonio's projected population boom.
Demographers say Bexar County can expect a 1-million-person increase by 2040, prompting area municipalities to explore a range of options as traffic and demands for resources increase. The City of San Antonio this week scheduled four SA Tomorrow public sessions to offer area residents forums for idea sharing and brainstorming.
Rudy Nino with the City of San Antonio's Department of Planning and Community Development considers public input critical to addressing the Alamo City's future needs.
"We want the residents to drive this planning process," says Nino. "The residents are the ones that are going to be directly impacted by ultimately what is put on the ground."
SA Tomorrow organizers have identified nine areas for attention, ranging from housing and environmental protection to municipal-military affairs and transportation.
As traffic in and around San Antonio continues to increase, Eloisa Portillo-Morales, the city's sustainability planning manager, says residents may want to experiment now with alternate means of travel as a way to help reduce road congestion and pollution in advance of a tide of additional vehicles in the years to come.
"Try taking public transportation maybe once in a while; start eliminating or combining your errands, so that you're using your vehicle less.
"Start trying to walk a little bit more," says Portillo-Morales.
Public health issues related to rapid urban growth are also under the microscope as part of the SA Tomorrow initiative.
"We're talking about chronic diseases, we're talking about disease that could be prevented by some kind of immunization," says Metro Health spokesman Mario Martinez, "we're talking about water quality, we're talking about food-borne illness -- we are tracking those already."
The last of this week's four SA Tomorrow open houses is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. tonight at Roosevelt Park Clubhouse, 331 Roosevelt Ave. on San Antonio's southeast side.