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.
I went over to chat with the engineers and was greeted immediately with a question: “Do you have any idea who decided to send bus 46 down Sheridan and why?” It spoke volumes that a City engineer had to ask that question of a resident. Fortunately for him, I did have an idea, and the discussion that commenced revealed just how many policies and procedures both the City and VIA ignored when they agreed to hand over a block of S. Main Avenue to H-E-B.
VIA initially considered sending bus 46 down Arsenal St. However, after the City added bike lanes to Arsenal, there was no longer adequate room for the bus. VIA then decided to move bus 46 to Sheridan without informing the City. This was an unfortunate decision because Sheridan does not have the infrastructure to support the weight of a VIA bus.
I figured that since I was already giving background information, I would go ahead and give the engineers the full-on “King William history buff” treatment. I explained that the street has existed since the late 1800s. It was originally a dirt road named Lee, but by 1894 when the Devine Homestead was subdivided into a neighborhood, the street had been renamed W. Sheridan. The street crossed over both an acequia and the San Pedro ditch. When the street was given a gravel base and paved in the mid-1900s, the acequia and ditch were paved over as well.
I was hoping that my rendition of the street’s history didn’t bore the engineers too much. As it turned out, the information about the San Pedro ditch really caught their attention. They went and checked their maps. When they returned to the site on June 9, they told me that the buses’ weight was causing the street to buckle over the ditch, which now was part of the City’s sewer system. In their opinion, the bus route will need to be moved. So, bus 46 riders should stay tuned. You’re about to get rerouted again.
- Charlotte Luongo