King William / Lavaca
updated April 2017
King William / Lavaca
updated April 2017
In October 2014, the King William Association and Lavaca Neighborhood Association created an ad hoc joint committee to secure a parking needs assessment from the City that would support solutions to our traffic-related problems. These problems included, among other things, decreased visibility at intersections, blocked driveways and impaired first responder access. Both KWA and LNA conducted surveys, held meetings and engaged in social media discussions. Transportation issues were regularly addressed in the KWA newsletter while City staff worked with its outside engineering consultant to secure a study and recommendations.
The KWA and LNA joint Parking/Transportation Committee met with the City’s staff and consultant in July to discuss the ongoing review of our transit issues. The City is working closely with the consultant to identify best practices for permit parking and to further identify funding sources for solutions. Another meeting was expected in late August or early September. - Rose Kanusky, Committee Chair
KWA and LNA created a joint parking/transportation committee in October 2014 to secure a parking needs assessment. Since that time, this volunteer committee has attempted to address a wide variety of transit-related issues. In summary, the committee has:
The City announced that it will install a “chain chime” near the Union Pacific bridge that crosses S. St. Mary’s St. near Brackenridge High School. The King William and Lavaca neighborhoods asked for this solution in the past, and we’re hopeful that it will work.
For those of you who park on the street, I learned an interesting tip about parking and bike safety that I hope many of you will consider using: When you park on the street, rather than reaching for your vehicle’s door handle with your left hand, use your right hand. This forces you to turn toward the street and slightly behind, looking for cycles, pedestrians, and other through traffic. How hard would it be to form a new habit?
- Rose Kanusky
KWA/LNA Parking & Transportation Committee
Thank you to all the residents, business owners, and property owners who took the time to complete the City’s parking survey. We anticipate that results will be included in the next technical memo prepared by the City’s consultant, which should also address national best practices for residential parking permits.
The consultant produced two other technical memos, one surveying available parking in the area and one surveying the street widths. The consultant is likely to make a recommendation in the coming months that will address our neighborhood parking/traffic issues; however, the recommendation may need City Council approval before implementation.
The City has hired a consultant to address some of the parking and transportation issues in King William and Lavaca. The consultant has measured the street widths in King William and Lavaca. The consultant has also determined that the width of a typical parking space on the street is 9 feet wide. This measurement includes 8 feet for the vehicle’s width and only 12 inches between the vehicle and the curb.
In August, at the request of the City, the joint KWA/LNA parking and transit committee presented its concerns to the City staff, City consultant, area developers and a few others interested in urban traffic issues. Jim Mery, deputy direc-tor of the Center CityDevelopment Office, is coninuing to refine our requested scope of work for a parking/transportation study, and we hope to receive a definitive answer from him within the month. We also received favorable coverage of our transit issues in “Local Community News.”
- Rose Kanusky
VIA Metropolitan Transit enjoys working with the King William Association to provide efficient and safe public transportation services to the King William District. It is one of many close relationships we maintain with various public and private organizations to provide top quality services as we work hard to serve our 13-city service region.
With this relationship in mind, we’d like to address some of the concerns the article “The Little Street That Couldn’t” highlighted in the July 2015 edition of the KWA Newsletter. The article stated that VIA relocated Route 46/Commercial onto W. Sheridan St. without informing the City of San Antonio, and it implied that the route could be moved again in the near future. We felt it important to let your readers know this is not the case.
The joint KWA/LNA Parking and Transportation Committee presented its scope of work for a traffic and parking study to Lori Houston at Center City Development Office (CCDO). On the day of our meeting with city staff, the San Antonio Express-News covered our transportation issues on the front page.
VIA is installing new bus shelters throughout the City. The KWA requested that bus stops within King William Historic District be of a style more compatible with our historic buildings.
The transit ridership is very high at the Pedro Huizar Park bus stop, and was at the top of VIA’s list for improvements. As Committee Chair for the beautification for the park, we have worked with VIA to recycle a “pagoda style” bus shelter from downtown. This request needed approval from both the KWA Board, VIA and the City’s Park and Recreation Department. In addition to the approval to relocate the bus shelter, the site needs to be upgraded to improve handicap access.
On the afternoon of June 1, I spotted a peculiar sight. Two City of San Antonio engineers were wandering up and down W. Sheridan Street, scratching their heads and looking extremely perplexed.
I knew exactly what had the Transportation and Capital Improvements engineers so baffled. They were trying to figure out why Sheridan, which the City just resurfaced last year, now looked as collapsed and rutted as an Old West wagon trail. And I also knew what had caused all the damage. The culprit was VIA’s bus 46, which was rerouted to Sheridan on February 2 due to H-E-B’s closure of S. Main Avenue.
By the time you read this, your parking and transportation committee will have finished its survey, held a joint neighborhood meeting with Lavaca, and met with more city and county officials. As I write this article, however, the survey is still open. Rather than wait for the June 15 closing date, I snuck a peak at the survey results and was fascinated by them.
First, to those who questioned the design of the survey and its psychometric properties, I say, “Get involved.” From time to time, KWA volunteers have conducted surveys. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew which neighbors were willing to provide expertise on survey design?
As it turned out, KWA mirrored its survey on the one conducted by the Lavaca Neighborhood Association, which is partnering with us on the parking and transportation committee. Yes, LNA beat us to the punch. Because we are working jointly, comparable questions for the initial survey were important to us.
LNA had 70 respondents, and KWA will have over 150. With neighborhoods of approximately a thousand addresses each, do you think our results are statistically significant? If not, we’re still pleased with the outcome.
I didn’t expect any new ideas or proposed solutions to surface from the survey, so I was surprised to see a few. One interesting idea was to eliminate parking on the streets overnight, but I think the people that proposed this idea don’t realize that a number of neighbors have no driveways and have no room to install them.
Then there are neighbors with more cars than space in their driveway, either because of the number of adults living in the household or because the home has an apartment. On the flip side, there are residents with driveways who do not use them.
Another interesting idea that seems like a nonstarter is to forget any new regulation and focus solely on enforcement. Of course, the committee and our executive director have been asking for more enforcement, but enforcement alone is probably not enough when the number of cars continues to grow.
The majority of our historic streets were built before a 20-foot fire lane was a concern. That safety requirement is non-negotiable. Most likely, we need a combination of adequate enforcement, shared parking, a parking garage and parking alternatives like bike racks. The committee is not proposing any one solution. We want the professionals at the City to figure it out.
- Rose Kanusky, Chair
Did you ever play the telephone game in school? A group of people sit in a circle, and one person whispers a message into the next person’s ear. The recipient of the message whispers it to the next person, and so on until the last person announces the message. Not surprisingly, the final message has morphed from the original.
You may have heard a rumor that KWA has compiled a list of homeowners whose electrical and plumbing systems aren’t up to code. There is no such list. But like other rumors, there’s a grain of truth in the statement.
In October 2014, KWA created a joint ad hoc committee with the Lavaca Neighborhood Association and area business owners to address parking and transportation issues in Southtown. We were specifically tasked with obtaining a city study with city-sponsored solutions. We are not advocating for one solution over another with the exception of one priority – safety.
We have been meeting with city staff, elected officials and others as we continue our quest to obtain a parking survey. In each of these forums, the committee continues to stress its number one priority – safety.
Per the KWA Strategic Plan, adopted by the Board in August 2014, one strategic initiative is “Quality of life issues: First Friday, parking, noise, traffic and crime.” The metric or goal that corresponds is the “completion of a traffic and parking study.” KWA members can see the complete Strategic Plan on the KWA website under “member portal.” If you are not a member, come by the KWA office to review the document.
In October 2014, the KWA board authorized the creation of an ad hoc committee to work with the City of San Antonio’s Transportation and Capital Improvements Department to study parking and transportation issues within the King William and Lavaca Historic Districts (LNA). The committee is chaired by me, and includes the following members: KWA President Harry Shafer, board member Christine Viña, executive director Cherise Bell, KWA member Tom Hoog, and LNA member Michael Berrier.
King William Association staff was informed by VIA that a new style bus shelter was chosen for downtown. Installation of the bus shelters is to occur at each corner of the intersection of S. Saint Mary’s St. and Cesar Chavez Blvd. This corner includes the Pedro Huizar Park, an important gateway into the King William Historic District.
At the September 19, 2013 regularly scheduled KWA Board meeting staff presented the proposed VIA bus shelter which was to be installed at Pedro Huizar Park. The KWA board voted against the modern bus shelter as they felt it was inappropriate for this gateway. As directed by the board, staff wrote a letter to VIA with copies to our Councilman, Historic Preservation Officer, and Parks and Recreation Director notifying VIA of KWA’s concern over this very modern bus shelter proposed for the park. Because of our letter, VIA pulled the replacement of the bus shelter.
Based on conversations between KWA and VIA, the current downtown bus shelters ,designed by the architectural firm of Fisher Heck, will be recycled and installed at Pedro Huizar Park.
In March, KWA staff was informed by VIA that the downtown bus shelters would be extending into the King William area. At the April 16 regularly-scheduled KWA Board meeting, the board reviewed the proposed bus shelters and once again agreed that they were inappropriate for our Historic District, and King William bus shelters should maintain a separate identity from downtown. KWA has been working with VIA staff and again proposed to VIA that the Fisher Heck bus shelters be recycled and relocated to the King William neighborhood. As of April 24, KWA does not have a list or map of the bus stops that are slated by VIA to receive a bus shelter, nor a commitment from VIA to recycle the Fisher Heck bus shelters.
- Cherise Bell
Many streets of King William are used during the week by downtown commuters looking for free parking. However, nowhere is the problem worse than on Arsenal Street and City Street next to H-E-B’s headquarters. Despite H-E-B discouraging its employees and vendors from parking on these residential streets, many of them continue to do so. In addition, employees of other nearby businesses and city offices also park on Arsenal and City during the day.
With the impending closure of S. Main Avenue, the Center City Development Office (CCDO) conducted a two-day traffic study of S. Main, S. Flores and Arsenal. The CCDO reported that, according to their study, the closure of S. Main will result in less commuter traffic on Arsenal. Paradoxically, however, the CCDO believes that the commuter parking situation on Arsenal will worsen. Because of this, the CCDO is proposing a year-long pilot Residential Permit Parking (RPP) Program for the residents of Arsenal as well as a portion of City Street.