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Monday, July 20

Mail Bag: Loop 1604 bike access, Loop 1604 developments, Leon Springs area, Wurzbach Parkway

Is anybody designing protected bike lanes for the access roads (on Loop 1604)? This is a major bike riding area and it doesn't seem like anyone is planning for it to improve safety for riders.
- Miguel

By state policy, we do include plans for bicycle access on all highway projects. This can be done several ways, of course, and is being followed on Loop 1604 between Bandera and Culebra roads. Some solutions to the biking question we have, and what you'll see on Loop 1604:

First, there's the dedicated bike lane, or meandering bike path. We're using this on Wurzbach Parkway (sort of) as we run a meandering multi-use path along the Parkway to connect Hardberger Park and McAllister Park. We're also using a dedicated meandering path along UTSA Boulevard. Either option typically requires the use of additional right-of-way and limits this option to areas where we've got the area already available and we know we're not going to need that space for future expansion.

Next, there's the extra-wide shoulder. This means we include a shoulder that's at least three feet wide, and this is an option typically used in rural areas. Roads built before the adoption of the policy can be seen with really SMALL shoulders - sometimes only a few inches. With the larger shoulders in the rural area, bikers will have a much easier time sharing the road with car drivers.

In an area like this and on our frontage roads in town, we use what's called a "shared-use" lane - a lane built extra wide to accommodate use of both cars and bikes. This is the option you'll see on this stretch, as it's the preferred option in our area for use on frontage roads.

I know it isn't the state but they must be coordinating with you. Can you tell us when Shaenfield Road South to Terra Oak is scheduled to open? I live right there but still have to zigzag two ways now on 1604 and then through the neighborhood 3.7 miles just to get to a point that is literally three blocks away from 1604. I am not angry just very anxious! Thanks, and great job so far!
- Trey

We are wondering the same thing! For those who aren't familiar, Trey is talking about an extension of Shaenfield Road inside Loop 1604 that connects with a city street near Burke Elementary School. Those who drive the area know the superstreet on Lp 1604 was fitted for this road when it was built, and you've likely seen activity to construct the extension near our project along Loop 1604. We are waiting for the contractor on that one to let us know they're ready to open it up.

As it stands, we are all tied in on our end of the road to accept the new side street. This little extension, headed onto northbound Loop 1604, will have a stop sign controlling traffic (not a stop sign on Loop 1604, but on Shaenfield). Until the side street warrants a signal, it will effectively be treated like the side streets coming out of the Wildhorse and Bridgewood subdivisions on the southbound side of Lp 1604. Once we have traffic volumes warranting a traffic signal, that signal will be put in.

The traffic on FM 1560 between Culebra and Braun has grown due to the construction on 1604. Traffic would flow faster if a right turn lane from 1560 onto Braun could be added or if the shoulder could be widened.
- Grace

Interesting suggestion, Grace. It's good to hear there are folks who are using and seeking alternate routes to get around and about in the area!

The process of planning, doing environmental studies for, right-of-way acquisition for and funding a turn lane on northbound FM 1560 at Braun Road is such that we'd not even begin construction until sometime next year. Construction itself would require a solid three months and involve some pretty invasive closures to complete.

The bottom line: we wouldn't have that turn lane ready in time to see any real advantage for traffic seeking to get around the Lp 1604 work between Culebra and Bandera Roads. On the plus side, there is sufficient room for folks to have a sort of turn lane if through traffic doesn't ride on the shoulder.

What we can do in the area is monitor traffic signal timing with the folks in our traffic operations division and make sure things are timed appropriately to maximize traffic flow.

So what's the deal with the frontage road between Boerne Stage Road and Ralph Fair Road? There was a message board announcing a major change for this week, but now it's been changed.
- Lots of folks

Alright, so we've not actually gotten any calls or emails on this ... yet. A week ago we had a message board on the frontage road between Boerne Stage Road and Aue Road in the Leon Springs area announcing a major change that would last for a few months.

The change is the temporary conversion of that frontage road to one-way while crews reconstruct the bridge over Leon Creek. The frontage road will be west-bound only for about five months when the time to do this work comes. The posted start date was this morning (July 20), but conflicts with utilities and a difficult schedule involving one of the project's subcontractors (a lingering effect of rains several weeks ago...).

This work, and corresponding traffic shift, is now scheduled to begin mid-August. When we have an accurate date determined, we will post the announcement right here.

When will Wurzbach Parkway be finished? It's been a while since a dedicated blog post has been posted.
- Lots more folks

Seems we've not done a dedicated post for Wurzbach Parkway in quite a while. The closest comes from a blog post back in June included with a bunch of brief updates on projects across Bexar County. It's clear by the volume of calls - about a dozen in the last week - we need to post another update with stronger details. So that's exactly what we'll do this week for folks. If Wurzbach Parkway is your pet project, stay tuned this week!

But the short version: The Parkway will finish early fall, even though the contractor has until the end of the year to complete the work.