The City is looking to head off a traffic nightmare along Broadway and across all of the northeast portion of downtown as major development is poised for the area between the Museum Reach all the way past the Pearl into downtown, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
At question is what sort of transportation plan and what sort of highway construction would best serve to allow the coming growth of traffic in the area to pass most freely.
Engineer Gene Dawson told a City Council committee that the Broadway area, mainly from Josephine north of the Pearl to the urban core of downtown, is experiencing double the average growth rate of downtown San Antonio, and a growth rate that exceeds many rural and suburban developments.
"Close to three million square feet of office space, more than a million square feet of restaurant and retail, and close to 6,000 apartments," Dawson said of the development which is planned, platted, and in many cases already under construction on the Broadway corridor.
He says that will mean an additional 128,000 daily trips will be added to Broadway. He says the plan which is made now will determine whether those trips will lead to gridlock or will lead to a smooth flowing of various types of vehicles, including pedestrian traffic, buses, scooters, and bicycles.
And Dawson says the vast majority of these trips will not be on Broadway itself, as the growth in the area spills onto many neighboring streets.
"89% of those trips will affect the rest of the downtown area's street grid," he said.
One problem, Dawson said, was many of the people who will work in those nearly three million square feet of offices will, despite the intense apartment construction in the area, live in the area. He says engineers surveyed the employees of companies which will be moving into that new office space, and discovered that a large number will commute, many from the fast growing Alamo Ranch area on the northwest side, and from the north central area. That means those cars will have to be accommodated in the Broadway area.
Dawson presented several designed for the re-engineering of Broadway. They include three traffic lanes, protected bike lanes and on street parking, to four traffic lanes without on street parking, to designed which do not include protected bike lanes, and which move bicycle traffic to adjacent streets. The current design includes no bike lanes on Lower Broadway, which is a major point of controversey for several members of Council, and for many Broadway commuters, who use bicycles to get around the crowded urban area.