Alternatives to elevated tollway on Bandera Rd. proposed by community and business groups

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Opponents Unite To Battle Bandera Road Elevated Tollway Option
KSAT News
August 4, 2006

SAN ANTONIO — Several community organizations mounted a continuing effort Friday to put the brakes to an elevated toll-road option over Bandera Road.Members of San Antonio Toll Party and AGUA are among groups trying to convince the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority to abandon the idea of possibly building an elevated tollway between Loops 410 and 1604 with no exits.”It just seems outrageous because they’re trying … (to) destroy a whole community,” said Terri Hall of San Antonio Toll Party.

Another concern for opponents is that the toll road would be built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.”We want to make sure anything that happens minimizes negative impacts to the water quality in the recharge zone,” said Annalisa Peace of AGUA. Texas Department of Transportation officials estimate that 54,000 vehicles travel daily through Bandera Road and officials are looking for ways to relieve congestion.

Hall agrees about the traffic troubles but said that there are better alternatives, include synchronizing of traffic lights, increasing public transportation and reversing the lanes of travel during peak traffic hours.Alamo Regional Mobility Authority officials are accepting public comments on the proposal until Monday.

But Terry Brechtel of ARMA stresses that many options are being looked at before a final recommendation is made on what to do about Bandera Road, if anything.

“The alignment we’re looking at today is a corridor that has many options available to it,” she said. “There’s a lot of misinformation in the community about an elevated corridor. We’re looking at elevated, at grade. We’re looking at the possibility of a creek alignment that was also mentioned in the feasibility study.”

Toll alternatives wanted for Bandera Road
By Patrick Driscoll
Express-News Staff Writer
08/04/2006

Are there any realistic options to proposed elevated toll lanes along Bandera Road?

With a deadline looming to submit opinions to decision makers, toll critics are urging residents to demand that alternatives be considered.

Toll officials say they welcome all comments, which are due by Monday, and for now all options are on the table.

Possible solutions to deal with Bandera Road traffic were announced Friday by the San Antonio Toll Party, Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas and the Helotes Heritage Association.

Ideas include:

Improve synchronization of signal lights.

Replace intersections and signal lights with roundabouts.

Convert road to a limited access parkway.

Reverse traffic in one or more lanes during rush hour.

Implement a rapid bus system with some of the comfort and convenience of light rail.

“These aren’t even under consideration so far as I have seen,” said Bill Barker, a transportation consultant who’s assisting the Toll Party.

Alamo Regional Mobility Authority officials said they’re listening and later this year will list options they believe the public most wants studied.

“We’re looking for sustainable long-term solutions,” spokesman Leroy Alloway said.

But other than tolling, the only funding allocated to Bandera Road over the next 25 years is $5 million for studies.

VIA Metropolitan Transit might develop rapid buses and dedicated bus lanes on half a dozen or more roads in coming years but plans don’t include Bandera Road.

Also, a state study estimates that a toll fee of 13 cents a mile, increasing with inflation, would cover less than half the $281 million to $358 million cost of building two to four elevated toll lanes on Bandera Road between loops 410 and 1604.

Other funds could come from gas taxes shifted from other projects or private firms interested in operating the toll lanes.

Comments can be submitted by fax to (210) 495-5403, e-mail to BanderaRd@AlamoRMA.org or mail to: Public Information Manager; Alamo Regional Mobility Authority; 16500 San Pedro, Suite 350; San Antonio, TX 78232.

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