Preserving What's Best About Our Downtown
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
You don't have to be a native or even a long-term resident of San Antonio to know that our downtown traffic management needs improvement. If you have lived here awhile however, you can compare today's traffic with that experienced in the past. Two recent traffic-related experiences convince me that the City must address the out-of-control nature of some of the traffic in our ever-popular downtown.
The first incident involved the free and seemingly unfettered right of parades of whatever size, to monopolize our downtown traffic. Crossing a recent parade by automobile en route to locations downtown seemed easy enough. One officer merely allowed traffic to cross the parade route at convenient intervals. However, another officer held up traffic till the parade ended. This backed up unknowing drivers and their automobiles for blocks! Upon asking the officer if the traffic could cross as I had earlier, the officer informed me that parades have an absolute right of way and no traffic could cross the parade route.
There are about 75 runs, walks and vehicular parades in downtown annually. The existence of these parades would seem to necessitate signage advising us that we are driving into a dead-end or traffic generated "parking lot". Motorists could then avoid the problem.
The other recent experience reminded me once again of the increasing traffic jams on East Commerce Street between I-37 and around South Main. On most days East Commerce is relatively manageable. On certain nights however, there should be some rerouting of the traffic. Maybe a "pedestrian only" designation should be made. In the event of any change in the traffic condition though, a highly visible sign like the transguide signs should advise motorists at different entry points of the appropriate instructions to follow in order to avoid the mess.
We spend a lot of money attracting visitors to our fine City and County. Our downtown is the envy of the nation if not of the world. It seems only right that we would acknowledge that we have a traffic problem and devise a solution that satisfies those who use the parade permits and those who motor through the downtown area for pleasure or business.