Traffic Growth Management in Precinct Four
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
May 12, 2005

In visiting with a local leader in our community who recently came here from another state, he remarked how nice it was to be in an area that was growing not dying. I have taken for granted our overall growth to some extent, but I know of the challenge for economic development that exists in certain communities in Precinct Four. Happily, we are not generally beset with decline in Bexar County.

What we are challenged with instead is the pain of growth and the change that comes with it. Enter the Decade of Transportation in Texas!

The north-south traffic in Precinct Four is primarily on 1604 East, 281 North or I-37 South & I-35 and the east-west traffic is primarily on I-35, Highway 78, Highway 87 and 181 South. Each of these arteries has its own peculiar characteristics. All of these arteries are growing in traffic volume and at some point, will need for traffic controls, including traffic lights, roadway reconfiguration and overpasses as necessary. These arteries have particular interface with the County. All of them are State or Federal highways, not County roads.

I have been proud to partner with communities in Precinct Four to enhance our roadways, as well as to obtain traffic lights at 181 South and the Greenway subdivision, Highway 87 and Stuart Road and FM 3465 at Highway 87 and others. I will continue to assist my constituents in seeking a host of other traffic improvements as they are shown to be necessary to the safety of our community.

Highway 87

Because I am the County Commissioner, I was recently invited by TXDOT and the community to attend a meeting on a grade-separation (overpass) at FM 3465 & Highway 87. I sit on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) which agency distributes federal, state and local monies for transportation-related projects. TXDOT sits on the MPO with me and other officials. However, it is important to understand that TXDOT is a state, not a county agency. The State Representative and Senator for the area ultimately may trump my voice on this proposed project.

TXDOT has been allocated $3.1million dollars to install an overpass at this location and if it is not installed, the money allocated goes back into a statewide pool, not another preferred location within our community that needs attention. The TXDOT proposal has implications for both the east-west commuters as well as the businesses whose customers would be affected by such. Both deserve respect and careful consideration before any decision is made about whether to support or oppose an overpass at this location.

The first impression from those assembled is that we should flat-out reject the proposal of the overpass. Some thought it made sense. Others felt we needed more information. The business owners in this area long known as Lone Oak were and are naturally most concerned. TXDOT offered to find ways to help make it work for all. I thought we should look carefully before we reject the money, but not fear rejecting it if that was the best course of action to take.

TXDOT research shows the following average daily traffic count on Highway 87 growing every ten years as follows:

1970 - 3,900

1980 - 6,400

1990 - 7,100

2000 - 12,300

I am very proud to be accessible and visible in the community. But, I cannot usurp the rightful role of elected state officials in this matter who fund TXDOT. I can weigh in and ultimately will do so. But for now, the final word will come from the State Representatives and Senators representing this area with whom I will organize a meeting shortly after the current legislative session.

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