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Dangerous curve sees fast fixes

Neighbors praise new paving, want to see a longer guardrail on Knights Cross Drive

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A dangerous stretch of road near Stone Oak Parkway got some much-needed attention  the last few weeks.

The hilly curve at the bottom of Knights Cross Drive, between Stone Oak Parkway and Summer Knoll Drive, was locally notorious for slick conditions in wet weather. Residents asked officials to put the brakes on any more collisions, and the city responded.

Neighbors like the new paving installed by work crews that cuts down on skidding, but want a longer guardrail to protect nearby properties from future crashes.

“We started hearing about problems and accidents on that stretch last year. The pavement got very slippery, particularly on that turn. Our office got on it as quickly as we could,” said District 9 Councilman John Courage.

“With a situation like that, first we report it to 311, and then we follow up with the city’s office of Transportation & Capital Improvements. We’ve had good responses from them – they’ll go out and evaluate situations,” Courage said.

“Sometimes traffic problems can’t be that easily fixed, but we’ve heard from several people in the neighborhood that they’re happy with the work,” he added.

In this case, the requests produced quick results. According to Courage’s Communications Director Zack Lyke, the San Antonio Police Department stepped in with a radar trailer to deter speeding on the curve, until the road itself could be upgraded.

The betterment was done promptly, Lyke said. By the end of March, the city had performed not just one, but three potential fixes.

“We put in a new pavement mix that is rougher, so cars won’t skid when they’re turning that corner.” — Paul Berry

“We also put in a street sign before the curve warning people to slow down, and we went a step further and extended a guardrail on that curve by 12 feet to protect the houses and yards that backed up to the curve,” he added.

The home of Don Lindberg and his wife, Sue, on Almadin Street backs up to the north side of Knights Cross. While the Lindbergs haven’t sustained any property damage, they’ve seen a lot of wrecks, and gone out to help after accidents on numerous occasions.

They were also among community members who worked with District 9 staffers to urge repairs.

“You would hear cars sliding down the road and just wait for the impact. It’s amazing that there hasn’t been a head-on collision,” Don Lindberg said.

He added the new pavement is an improvement.

“So far, so good. The new surface seems to be providing a better grip,” he said.

Connie Quinones said more than a dozen cars have slammed into the backyard fence during the 11 years she and her husband, E.J., have lived in their residence on Visor Drive, on the south side of Knights Cross.

“It took a lot of years to get some action. You couldn’t let your dogs out in the yard, you couldn’t let your grandkids out in the yard,” Quinones said. “One time a car hit the fence so hard a big piece of it bounced off our back door, and last year a lady was badly hurt when her car lost control.”

Quinones gave the city high marks for a “great job” on the latest paving.

“It has rained several times since, and even when they were working on it, and there has not been an accident,” she said.

However, she expressed disappointment the guardrail wasn’t extended further than a dozen feet. She said neighbors on her side of the street who experienced the most property damage felt the barrier was their best protection.

Berry acknowledged that homeowners had wanted a longer guardrail of 35 feet or more. However, he said city engineers evaluated the area and concluded any damage to cars and passengers from striking the barrier in certain spots could be much more dangerous, so the city chose to go with the new signs, new pavement and only a 12-foot guardrail extension.

So far, though, with no accidents reported by early June, Knight’s Cross neighbors said they are able to breathe a little easier on rainy days.

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