Defiant, City of San Antonio dodges signal re-timing; won't change it back!

OK folks, time to crank up the heat again…the City of San Antonio who admitted they increased the signal timing at the traffic lights on US 281, refuses to change it back to save you 20-30 minutes in your commute, every day! Read their “spin,” uh, their “response” below and be ready to take ACTION!

From: Tom Wendorf
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2006 6:12 PM
To: lylelarson
Subject: US 281 & Stone Oak Parkway, Evans Rd. & Encino Rd.

With the public scrutiny on toll roads and more attention being placed on
roadway capacity, now more than ever it has it become necessary for the City
of San Antonio to take a proactive and public approach to this issue. The
City’s north side area from Highway SH 151 to IH 35 along Loop 1604 and
US Hwy 281 from north of Loop 1604 to Borgfeld is being looked at for
tolling by TxDOT and the ARMA. The issue of alternate routes and roadways
is rising as the toll issue and public discussion evolves.

I will attempt to address your concerns raised at the MPO Policy Board
Meeting on January 23, 2006 in reference to the signals along US Hwy 281 at
Encino Rio, Evans and Stone Oak Parkway. The City of San Antonio has
recently made some changes to the traffic lights at these intersections.

The current configuration of those signals as they exist today is as

Stone Oak Parkway:

The signal at Stone Oak Parkway and US Hwy 281 is running as an isolated
signal, this means it is not coordinated with any other signal and runs
freely. This signal includes vehicles detectors which provide information
regarding the presence of vehicles on all approaches to the intersection.
This allows the traffic signal controller to address the different
approaches and extend the green time to predetermined maximums based on
demand. No timing changes have been made to this signal recently. The only
recent call to this intersection has been a maintenance call to replace a
faulty detector module. Furthermore the traffic crews have recently checked
this system to ensure that it is functioning as intended.

Evans Road and Encino Rio Road:

Encino Rio & US Hwy 281 and Evans & US Hwy 281 are interconnected with
spread spectrum radios. They are coordinated to operate together during the
AM peak times. The rest of the day they run freely. During coordinated
operations in the AM peak Encino Rio acts as the time keeper for both
signals to ensure the coordinated implementation of the timing plan. At
both of these intersections we have a combination of Loop and Video Imaging
Vehicular Detection System (VIVDS). Traffic crews have recently checked this
system to ensure that it is functioning as intended.

Traffic signal systems aside, with the end of the holiday season and
children back in school, some motorists contribute the delay in traffic to
signal changes, however, the reality of the situation is that the amount of
traffic is still the same
. Traffic volume is exceeding capacity at the AM
and PM peak hours.

Signal timings are especially challenging for an intersection of a
facility that is over capacity and the simple reason is that it comes down
to time allocation. In other words, a traffic signal allocates time among
conflicting traffic movements that want to use the same space at the same
time. Changing the traffic signal timings along this segment of US Hwy 281
will not create capacity. If the signal timing were to be adjusted,
perhaps there would be better progression on US Hwy 281 but at the expense
of increased delays to the Stone Oak Parkway, Evans Road and Encino Rio

This will likely result in increased frustration for these
drivers. Changing signal timings is not a solution to the capacity
problem. Adding additional capacity to US 281 or to facilities
paralleling US 281 is the answer.

The proposed development and roadway has invited additional speculation to
the issue of tollways and added road capacity. Even now, as the Texas
Department of Transportation (TXDOT) is continuing to discuss the toll road
issue, concerns about non-tolled roadways are being raised yet not addressed
. This coupled together with the Washington Mutual development is
indicative of road capacity ballooning to the forefront.

We have been working proactively worked with developers, Bexar County,
TxDOT, NEISD and others on the following projects (see attached map): >
* Bulverde Road from 1604 to Evans
* Bulverde Road from Evans to US 281
* Borgfield Road from US 281 to Blanco
* Blanco Road from 1604 to Bexar County Line
* Marshall Road from US 281 to Bulverde
* Marshall Road from US 281 to Evans Road
* Hardy Oak from Stone Oak to Knights Cross
* Stone Oak from US 281 to Bulverde
* Evans Road from Bulverde to Cibolo Creek

In order to move these projects forward, partnerships will have to be
formed between agencies, adjacent property owners, developers, and COSA.
Currently COSA has no available resources to address this challenge.
Resources could be gained from:
* City ATD funds
* Future City GO Bond Issues
* Future County GO Bond Issues
* Development Agreements
* Alamo Regional Mobility Authority
* Concession agreement from Toll Road Contractor

Over the past few months, staff has been evaluating the situation and
gathering information about possible approaches to road capacity and hopes
to make some headway.

Thomas G. Wendorf, P.E.
Director of Public Works
City of San Antonio, TX
210-207-8025 office

WHAT???? The point is, the City of San Antonio ADMITTED they changed the timing of the signals which increased commute times by 20-30 minutes OVERNIGHT and they think changing it back will cause worse frustration? Who hires these people? Think this is an acceptable response? Me neither. Earlier in the “spin,” Wendorf admits the traffic HAS NOT CHANGED; it’s their signal timing that has and yet Tom Wendorf and the City of San Antonio REFUSE to change it back stating that the ONLY fix is to add capacity. TxDOT’s own plan for 281 (prior to trying to make it into a toll road) wasn’t to add capacity but to put overpasses at the lights because any casual observer knows the problem with traffic on 281 is caused by STOP LIGHTS in the middle of a freeway! Capacity is secondary to the problem the traffic lights have created. Certainly capacity can be addressed with gas tax money that TxDOT has already admitted is available for the fix, but THEY STUBBORNLY REFUSE to fix it as a FREE road we can all use favoring a lifetime of money grabbing DOUBLE TAX tolls instead!

Contact Mr. Wendorf, his superiors, the Mayor, and your councilperson, and tell them you want it changed back!
Kevin Wolff:

Contact your City Council member here!