Idea will remain on back burner until City Council election, this college’s president says.
By Richard Montemayor
To improve the safety of those who cross San Pedro Avenue to reach this college, President Robert Vela will revisit a proposal to build a sky bridge with the new District 1 city councilman after the May city election.
The pedestrian bridge connecting San Pedro Springs Park and this campus was originally proposed by former college President Robert Zeigler and Diego Bernal, former District 1 councilman.
Vela said he supports the proposal for the bridge because San Pedro is a difficult street to cross, even in the crosswalks.
“I think it’s partly because cars are coming downhill and they’re having a hard time stopping,” Vela said. “We have actually had students that have gotten hit by cars that were trying to cross the street.”
With the recent renovations to San Pedro Playhouse, the theater’s owners contacted Vela to ask if they can use some of the college’s parking as overflow.
“We open up our parking to our neighbors all the time; however, there is a danger in crossing the street at times, depending on where you cross on San Pedro,” Vela said.
Along with the playhouse, another neighbor to this college that has contacted Vela is Great Hearts Monte Vista charter school, 211 Belknap Place.
Vela said the school’s principal contacted him to see if there was an open area at this college so that the children can play rather than having to cross San Pedro.
“It’s too dangerous for the children to cross the street in order to get to the park, so instead we let them utilize our front lawn at Koehler House,” Vela said.
Having a pedestrian bridge over San Pedro would make crossing safer for the community, Vela said.
“The bridge is a way to connect us to the park, and it will enable us to be good neighbors to the community while providing easy access to the park,” Vela said.
This proposal was aligned with the city bond passed for the 2012–2017 bond program, which gave San Pedro Springs Park funding for improvements to the park.
“At the time Diego Bernal was our councilman for the district area that our college is in,” he said. “He really wanted to do a lot more work on beautifying our city parks.”
Since then, Bernal moved on to become a state representative.
Vela was scheduled to meet with Bernal’s replacement, Robert C. Treviño, before spring break; however Treviño canceled the meeting and has not rescheduled to get his take on the bridge proposal.
Preliminary work for the bridge has started, said John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities operation and construction management.
“What we’re doing is a certain amount of due diligence that we need to do anyway to proceed with the project, so that after the elections in May for the new city councilman we can then schedule a meeting with them to discuss the project in order for it to go forward,” he said.
Terracon Consulting Engineers and Scientists was contracted to do the preliminary work, along with geologist David Yelacic, who works for Terracon, Strybos said.
Yelacic was assigned to monitor the geotech borings conducted at San Pedro Springs Park because of the historical value of one of the oldest parks in the country.
“Geotech borings were conducted and completed in accordance with the city of San Antonio permit and the state of Texas permit,” Strybos said. “In order for the project to move forward, it will need city funding because part of it is on city property.”
“We would have to have a interlocal agreement between the city of San Antonio and Alamo Colleges to define who is responsible for what and who pays for what,” Strybos said.
As of now the project is on hold.