Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Light Rail is Coming to San Antonio!

According to, the VIA Metropolitan Transit Board has unanimously adopted a plan for San Antonio public transportation that will include light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit lines.  Currently San Antonio is the largest city in the U.S. with a bus-only transit system.  The city's last streetcars were discontinued in 1933.  But with a projected population of over 2 million by 2035, the need for public transportation will increase dramatically. 

As seen on the map, there will be bus rapid transit routes added.  The city's first bus rapid transit line is set to launch late next year or in early 2013, plus there are plans for additional bus rapid transit lines stretching north and south.

Next comes the streetcar lines through downtown.  There will be construction of an east-west modern streetcar line through downtown connecting VIA's planned West Side multimodal center and the Robert Thompson Transit Center at the Alamodome on the East Side.

Finally, there will be two light-rail corridors in the region, one stretching north and south, initially joining the airport and downtown, and one east and west, connecting Lackland AFB to Fort Sam Houston.

And meanwhile, bus service will remain the bedrock of the system. Bus frequencies will be improved and new express lines will be added to facilitate transportation in the suburbs.

All in all, the VIA plan will help San Antonio residents get to work as more and more people leave their cars at home and enjoy the ride!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Section of the San Antonio River "Mission Reach" Celebrates its Grand Opening

              Photo: Andrew Buckley/ /

The restoration of the San Antonio River's ecosystem, which encompasses a total of eight miles, remains a work in progress.  But the first two miles of the extension had it's unveiling last week, with work continuing on the last 6 miles, due to be completed in August, 2013.  Saturday was the first time joggers, walkers and cyclists could navigate trails from San Pedro Creek to Mission Road. 

Saturday's ceremony also included the opening of the Mission Concepción portal, a stone masoned archway and trail, the first of four that will link the river to missions Concepción, San José, San Juan Capistrano and Espada. The portals will be opened one by one as the final phases are completed.

Sixty years ago, the river was modified and straightened, becoming a glorified drainage ditch. Now it's beginning to look more like a typical South Texas river, but everything about it is engineered — down to the placement of the 23,000 native trees and shrubs.

To learn more about this local treasure, read Pierre Bertrand's informative article in the San Antonio Express News.