Kathy Palmer, SCTSRPC
Well this was certainly an interesting meeting.
It was held at the TxDOT District office in San Antonio and we had a variety of attendees from Laredo through to Seguin, including members of the San Antonio and Seguin Chambers of Commerce, a Frio County 911 Coordinator, City of St. Hedwig, City of Seguin and City of Laredo Planning and Zoning Commissioners, a Guadalupe County resident and a Guadalupe County Texas Farm Bureau representative.
Kudos to Judge Marvin Quinney, as he was the ONLY elected County official to attend.
Commissioners and Judges from Bexar County, Atascosa County, Medina County, Zapata County, and LaSalle County although invited, were nowhere to be seen. Being that the intent of this Segment Committee is to make sure your folks in your Counties are given yet another avenue to make their concerns, comments and considerations heard relating to the expansion of the Alternate I35 Corridor, one would think at least an alternate from those Counties would have been present.
This project, the consideration and recommendation of the best way to alleviate congestion of both vehicular traffic as well as transportation of commerce on I35 via an alternate route around San Antonio, will take at least 18-24 months. During that time, the members of the Segment 4 Committee will meet monthly to “cuss and discuss” ways to create a win/win/win scenario to the best of it’s ability.
Win for the Citizens of the areas affected, Win for the alleviation of the traffic and transportation of goods, and win for a 50 plus year plan so that, wishfully thinking, we will have a handle on where we want to be and how we want to make it happen.
It appeared by the input given at the start of the meeting approximately ¾ of the folks in attendance are very pro Commerce however it has to happen, while those in the rural areas are pro property rights and use of existing right of way. There was lively debate as to the differences in the definition of “economic viability” as those in the city see the definition as commercial businesses all up and down the main roads and successful movement of commerce in those areas, while those in the rural areas see the definition as commercial business is good as long as it is not forcefully taking over the properties of residences along the roadways and building such roadways to bring trucks and freight through their once quiet farmland.
The Segment Committee members have been tasked in each of their individual areas to:
- Identify transportation needs, Examine Existing and Planned Facilities
- Identify areas where new location facilities may be needed
- Prioritize the individual needs into a Master Plan
- Finalize the Corridor Development Plan
As members of the SCTSRPC, St. Hedwig and Wilson County as well as a portion of the representation of Guadaulpe County are all continuing with the original input of unfettered use of existing right of way on I10 and SH1604. Existing and future SH130 is a major part of this IH35 alternate plan, which directly affects Guadalupe County (Marion and Seguin via IH10), St. Hedwig (IH10 and SH1604), and Wilson County (SH 123 and expansion of SH1604).
The Committee’s main goal is to make sure that when a final recommendation is made of the Alternate to I35, that it indeed solves the true problem in the areas it will affect. That is the challenge that confronts each and every member as they will all be vying in the beginning for their individual areas while at the end will be tasked with prioritizing each issue brought to the table into a final Master Plan.
Eventually, the Segment 4 Master Plan will then be merged into the Segment 1-3 Master Plan therefore creating the “new”, specific, alternate route to I35 from the Texas/OK boarder to the Texas/Mexico boarder. As you can see the TTC 35 has not gone away, it has simply been broken down into smaller chunks to be analyzed and then reconstructed. TxDOT is looking for a “cohesive transportation system for the I35 Corridor with interstate multimodal transportation solutions”.
It is imperative that the public give competent, factual input to each of the Committee members as this runs its course. Following the NIMBY approach will not work. In order for the Committee member to be able to give it’s input as a reason to keep their issue at the top of the list, factual information from an environmental, historical and/or economical aspect must accompany the issue.
Meetings are open to the general public and you are encouraged to attend. This is an important issue that will affect each and every citizen in the East Bexar County, Guadalupe County and Wilson County area whether you think it will or not. Please contribute and help the Committee members in your area as they strive to make sure their area is not left behind or worse yet, paved over.