SAN ANTONIO — Fueled by an allotment of more than $21 million provided through this year's budget, San Antonio crews are embarking on an effort to fix sidewalks around town—while also preparing to improve public safety by adding dozens more.
City officials say among their priorities is not just for families to walk safely one night out of the year, on Halloween, but every single day. Now contractors are laying down the concrete, whether it's along Jackson Keller near Avenue Maria Drive on the north side or along Christine Drive southeast of downtown.
“We’re going to build a significant amount of sidewalks where there is no existing sidewalks,” said Razi Hosseini, director of the city's Public Works Department.
Members of Hosseini's team provided an update to the transportation and mobility committee on Monday. The item was discussed relatively quickly, and the ultimate plan involves creating 129 miles' worth of new sidewalks over the next five years.
District 3, encompassing much of the south and southeast sides of town, will receive the brunt of that new infrastructure, according to the city’s presentation.
“Access to public safety, access to hospitals, access to schools—we go after those areas first,” Hosseini says.
Sidewalks are prioritized based on a grading system. Pedestrian safety, school access and transit access are the top-three priority areas for protecting residents. According to the city’s matrix, only 2.1 miles – or 0.13% of the total – of the total gap miles are considered top-priority, while about 752 gap miles – or 47% – are in the priority 5 category.
San Antonio currently has more than 5,200 miles of sidewalks for pedestrians to use, but more than 1,500 miles where they don't exist at all; it would take $670 million to completely fill those gaps.
Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda, chair of the Public Safety Committee, pointed out during the meeting that not all neighborhoods necessarily want sidewalks installed.
If you think the sidewalks in your area need improvement, you can always call 311.