By Kristian Jaime
With the toss of some neatly placed dirt along UTSA Boulevard, multi-modal improvements nine years in the making officially started.
The 19-month project was paid for by 2007 bond savings and a portion from the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO) and totals $7.3 million. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will use the funds for the development of biking and walking lanes.
Recent improvements to the adjacent street coincides with newly released total enrollment numbers at nearly 30,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Many of those students are at the main campus creating pedestrian traffic from those living at nearby apartment complexes or subdivisions. Thus investing in safer paths to campus was paramount.
“This is one of the fastest growing corridors in the entire country and is also on the doorstep of one of the fastest growing universities in the country as well. We need capacity improvements and we also need multi-modal improvements as well,” said San Antonio City Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8).
The project is currently being overseen by Transportation and Capital Improvements (TCI) for the City of San Antonio and was designed by Vickrey and Associates, Inc.
According to Councilman Nirenberg (D8), this will also expand the current two-lane street to four lanes to accommodate the latest transplants to the area. Along with creating more safe paths for both cyclists and pedestrians, it is also the beginning of much more work within the SA Tomorrow vision for the Alamo City.
“This is about improving quality of life not just in a single sector, but across the city itself.Our TCI team has been working diligently to make this ready for a future school year,” continued the Councilman.
UTSA president Dr. Ricardo Romo echoed the Councilman’s sentiments noting the steep rise in the number of apartment complexes and living options for potential and current students.
“The Councilman has been our champion on may of the projects,” Dr. Romo said. “The campus has been expanding and in the future, we will have a new $100 million engineering and science building right near the new path. Realistically there is very much traffic in city, so this will give people the option to walk safely.”
Work on segments of the project have already started with the blocks of traffic cones and caution fencing along UTSA Boulevard to prove it. As the city plans for an official ribbon-cutting in the near future, Northside residents will have to be patient for the facelift coming to the UTSA corridor.