Series of City Planning Open Houses Addresses Area's Future Population Growth, Priorities

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.

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