The greenway system is a gem, finance it with bonds

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Cycle, walk, or run these 82 miles of groomed trails and you’ll encounter deer, foxes, the occasional armadillo, and an array of butterflies and birds.

Traveling the San Antonio Greenways is to bask in the shade of a living oak tree in summer or feel the first cool breeze in November. It’s about going under bridges and following the streams that flow along the highways. It’s discovering San Antonio in a whole new way – outside of the car or truck, moving easily from one part of our community to another.

The network of greenways is sober, nestled under the canopy of trees, but it is a visionary public works project that redefines this city. One day, it will complete this city, and finally, this loop will connect to the city center thanks to other trails. We can’t think of any better way to connect a city that is often ranked as one of the most sprawling and economically isolated in the country, a city with historically high obesity rates and related health issues.

This greenway vision recently took a big step forward after the Bexar County Commissioners’ Court approved nearly $ 85 million for trail extensions and connections.

Perhaps, most notably, the Commissioners Tribunal approved a nearly $ 25 million connection from the Salado Creek Greenway, which bypasses much of the north side, to Mission Reach, which stretches south.

When these various extensions and connections are completed, the City of San Antonio will assume ownership and maintenance. It’s a prime example of the city and county working together to move a crucial public works project forward, and it delivers on the promise officials made last year when they asked voters to transfer the government. sales tax money from the greenway network to workforce development and public transport.

Momentum abounds. The city recently opened a new 2 mile trail at Eisenhower Park on the north side. While 2 miles doesn’t seem like much, this is a crucial link as it connects Eisenhower Park to the Rim, while also merging the Leon Creek and Salado Creek Greenways which are the two most used trails. Salado Creek stretches for approximately 20 miles, stretching north of Loop 1604 to Hardberger Park, along the Wurzbach Parkway and up to the Rittiman Road. Leon Creek is 18 miles of trails.

This final 2 mile link allows approximately 40 miles of uninterrupted trails to keep runners and cyclists safe. And those who consult this new link will enjoy a breathtaking climb.

The city also requested a $ 25 million federal grant to complete the Zarzamora Creek Greenway Trail, which would connect the Leon Creek Greenway and the West Side Trails, which could then be routed to Mission Reach. . For those who keep score at home, that would mean connecting the north, west, and south sides in a way that no traditional road can.

So where do we go from here?

The city has just started planning its $ 1.2 billion bond issuance for 2022-2027, and greenway financing needs to be high on the list. The city should think big and ask voters to approve the completion of the trail system and honor former mayor Howard W. Peak vision.

San Antonio is known for the River Walk and the Alamo, but as any San Antonian will attest, the community is much more than that. The greenway trail network connects “much more” in inspiring and wonderful ways. It will be perhaps the most important public works project in the history of the city.


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