Death by Detour: The Main Plaza Proposal!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
May 23, 2006
As the Commissioner of nearly all of downtown San Antonio, I have a special duty to express my opinion on its well-being. I was actually born downtown at the Santa Rosa. My great, great grandfather John Bowen was married at San Fernando Cathedral in 1850 and lived on the river where the Tower Life Building is today, at Bowen's Island. We all have some tie to downtown!
So when our Mayor launched his idea to improve Main Plaza, I was very interested. Little did I either expect or know that his legacy expressed in his campaign of a "placita" was to be Main Plaza! I believe a case can be made for improvement of this and other Plazas, especially Hemisfair Plaza. I have never agreed with a multi-million dollar improvement price tag and certainly not with a permanent closing down of any streets around it however, to do so!
I have never found Main Plaza particularly in need of major change. What I have found is that the surrounding streets make this part of town more useful and less labored as we locals access this part of the City. East Commerce has little equal in terms of transporting downtown traffic from east to west. Equally busy is Dolorosa or Market Street going west to east. Yet they were both seriously promoted by the Mayor as integral to the Main Plaza improvement! Their non-inclusion is even considered a "compromise"!
Though not as busy, the north-south arteries of South Main and Dwyer-Soledad streets are also significant arteries that convey downtown traffic onto and off our expressways for our very busy Courthouse, Justice Center and City Hall Complex!. All four streets convey significant workers by VIA and automobiles. This area is not just a corner or an edge of downtown, it is a crossroads for perhaps the busiest nerve center in downtown!
What is most incomprehensible about the Main Plaza Detour is that from 10,000 to 15,000 employees of and citizens seeking services from the local government complex - the Courthouse, Justice Center and City Hall, travel to and from here every day! My request of the City leaders is that any improvement in Main Plaza should not make traveling by working and service-seeking locals inconvenient. Since this is a fun as well as a working downtown, at any given time streets can be shut down for parades and special events. Work must have a higher priority than play. We the citizens own downtown and it must continue to work us.
Remember and retain Main Plaza for our local residents!