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'They urinate in my yard': St. Mary's Strip traffic study aims to address concerns of parking and crime

While Deana Santoio supports the city's study in finding a favorable solution for everyone, she's inconvenienced by the barricades blocking the street to her home.

SAN ANTONIO — A city-funded parking-traffic study within the St. Mary’s Strip and surrounding neighborhood wraps up this weekend. Meanwhile, residents and businesses are keeping hopeful the study leads to more parking space and less criminal activity.

“The bars is not the problem. The problem is security. We don’t have security over here,” said Sergio Trevino.

Trevino and his wife are not big fans of the late-night shenanigans that go down in the Tobin Hill neighborhood. They’ve lived in the area for the past 16 years. Loud music in the early morning hours is just one of several annoyances.

“The beer cans on the street, a bunch of trash, they urinate in the yard,” he said.

Other neighbors echoed similar complaints during a community meeting held in March, which involved input from residents, business owners and city officials.

The city hired Pape-Dawson to perform a traffic-parking study along the night-life strip of businesses, which included barriers blocking entrances to residential streets.

The first time the barriers were installed was from March 31 to April 3 during evening hours into the early morning.

The second and final time of the barriers propped up is happening during Holy Week, although only on Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The presence of the blockades, which are usually unmanned by law enforcement, has prompted criticism by residents who say it’s difficult to get to their homes.

Deanna Santoio noted she doesn’t mind the loud music emanating down the strip of bars and restaurants, but she does mind the barriers.

“It’s a hassle to get to your house,” Santoio said. “I literally have to get out of my car and move a barricade and come down here and then maybe have a cop ask me for my ID or something.”

Tammy Russell not only owns and serves as head chef of the Candlelight PourHouse, she also lives in the Tobin Hill neighborhood.

Russell understands the concerns of residents since she is a member of the community. She stressed there’s a major need for more parking in the area.

“We already struggle with parking as it is because of the construction so it forced a lot of our customers to have move into parking in the neighborhoods,” Russell said.

Tow trucks on a Friday night are commonly seen along the north St. Mary’s strip as they patrol for vehicles parked incorrectly.

Russell noted her business is still recovering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. But lately would-be customers have expressed it’s simply too difficult to find parking in the area.

“I think a very good solid solution is a parking garage.”

District 1 San Antonio City Councilman Mario Bravo told KENS 5 the goal is to complete the study by the end of this weekend and present the results in May.

Whether a parking garage will help alleviate the issues of crime remains to be seen. But residents and business owners especially, hope the study results in a solution that’s favorable for everyone.

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