ParkandRide

One day, the Stone Oak Park & Ride could be a hub leading into a wide range of transportation options for motorists, mass-transit riders, bicyclists and pedestrians.

San Antonio is getting help from the public in developing the SA Corridors project, which will eventually integrate the city’s SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan and VIA Metropolitan Transit’s Vision 2040 Long Range Plan.

A draft framework is available for review at sacorridors.com. The project team has been studying 12 routes in VIA’s plan — critical areas of growth along current and proposed Bus Rapid Transit and light-rail lines.

One in particular links Stone Oak to San Pedro Avenue south into downtown.

David Marne, a former Shavano Park mayor who sits on the VIA board of trustees, is excited that VIA and the city are working together to envision the future landscape of local transit.

“(SA Corridors) is for the betterment of the community,” Marne said. “With the addition of the Park & Ride in Stone Oak — we’ve built the ‘park’ part, now it’s time to build the ‘ride’ part.”

With more than 1 million people expected to move into Bexar County in the next two-plus decades, city and VIA officials determined it’s now time to compose a long-term strategy introducing multiple transit options for preserving neighborhoods, creating opportunities in affordable housing, and producing equity for a diverse population.

Other designated passageways include Fredericksburg Road near the University of Texas at San Antonio main campus into downtown, and Nacogdoches/Perrin Beitel roads leading into Austin Highway.

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry said improving transportation options could boost North Side economic development by better mobilizing neighborhood business owners and their patrons.

“SA Corridors aligns with our work for the Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative that District 10 has been working on for a few years now. SA Corridors will help move patrons, employers and employees alike down our corridor.”

The draft plan envisions the Stone Oak/San Pedro/U.S. 281 sector as mostly a blend of high- to medium-density residential development with significant pockets of office/business park space, and open/park space.

The idea, according to the city, is to identify zones immediately around VIA transit stations in each corridor, which accommodate a mix of safe pedestrian and bicycling options, and the possibility of future alternate choices, such as light rail.

The new Stone Oak Park & Ride, and the one at the San Antonio International Airport, are current transit stations in the Stone Oak/San Pedro/U.S. 281 corridor.

However, specific alternate transit proposals for all of the routes are not yet identified.

VIA and the city are moving ahead with the additional examination of two stations — Huebner/Babcock roads and the Five Points neighborhood north of downtown — because they appear to already exhibit some of the desired traits.

The city has hosted a handful of open houses and workshops to foster community feedback.

Marne said expanding the number of mass-transit hubs across town will increase the amount of transportation options, and reduce traffic and pollution.

“The closer you are to public transit, the more transportation options you have,” he said.

“It also makes for more productivity,” Marne added. “Buses have free Wi-Fi, so you can still do your work or homework going from one place to another.”

According to municipal officials, one long-term goal is to properly guide economic development and growth around VIA’s transit investments in each of those corridor areas.

In order to achieve these aims, local officials add, there must be adequate regulations, such as zoning, and incentives to help cultivate the right type of developments.

Some neighborhood organizations are already providing input. One group, San Antonio Neighborhoods for Everyone, began a petition in November asking City Council to fully support the framework plan sooner than later.

According to the Petition.org document, “sacorridors.com is a vital plan that helps VIA receive federal funds for rapid transit in San Antonio.”

Representatives for SANE said adopting SA Corridors would be a key step toward improving “walkability,” public health, affordable housing, social equity and the environment citywide.

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