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Old 05-01-2010, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Texas
475 posts, read 969,575 times
Reputation: 229

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvlpr View Post
Of course, the sprawl is "already there". But spending more public monies on more traffic infrastructure will make the construction of more sprawl even easier. One of the most powerful disincentives for moving to this area is the horrible traffic, and this interchange is a huge part of that.

I don't believe public monies should be spent on removing that disincentive (especially when you consider how unsustainable and expensive sprawl-based development is). We really can't build our way out of this problem, to paraphrase T. Boone Pickens. And while I dislike sprawl for a number of reasons, what irks me the most is that it requires massive public subsidies (in the form of highway/road infrastructure) to function. People are starting to realize this, which is why new highways in other cities have taken the form of toll roads.

Your proposed to solution to slowing sprawl is a nice idea, but cities in Texas don't have the authority to charge impact fees for highway construction, or to regulate growth (in any meaningful way) outside their municipal boundary. In many cases, properties with vested rights are exempt from ordinances/codes even if they're in the city limits. Cities in TX don't have many tools in their toolbox.
Improving 281 to a superstreet is public money being spent. Perhaps that should be shelved as well?

Public money has and continues to be spent throughout the city on existing expressways, public transportation, public parks, public libraries, etc... It is okay to be against sprawl and encourage development closer to the city core, but remember that the massive public investment is also funded by the folks living out in the sprawling burbs. In fact, if an analysis was done, I bet that they are subsidizing quite a bit of the services enjoyed by the population throughout the city since the property values are relatively higher (compared to many,but not all neighborhoods inside 410).

As for the authority cities do not currently enjoy to charge impact fees for highways, that is a failure of the entire electorate not demanding that authority be given to cities. Get involved with your state representatives to change the law. While we are at it, maybe get them to increase fuel taxes as well. It seems that all too often people whine that "someone should do something about this..." Well, that something starts with you.

By the way, as it pertains to city roads (not highways), I have definitely seen a city requiring a traffic impact study along with impact fees to be paid in order to approve a project (just like sewer and water impact fees and other utility fees).

In this specific project, I again disagree that adding these interchanges will in of itself lead to more sprawl -- there are a multitude of other reasons that let that continue. However, it would be a shame if we lose federal stimulus dollars for this project, and again, for something to reduce congestion at an intersection of two existing highways. Last I read, this does not add new lanes on 281 north of 1604.

Last edited by datacity; 05-01-2010 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:43 PM
 
824 posts, read 1,602,456 times
Reputation: 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by datacity View Post
Improving 281 to a superstreet is public money being spent. Perhaps that should be shelved as well?

Public money has and continues to be spent throughout the city on existing expressways, public transportation, public parks, public libraries, etc... It is okay to be against sprawl and encourage development closer to the city core, but remember that the massive public investment is also funded by the folks living out in the sprawling burbs. In fact, if an analysis was done, I bet that they are subsidizing quite a bit of the services enjoyed by the population throughout the city since the property values are relatively higher (compared to many,but not all neighborhoods inside 410).

As for the authority cities do not currently enjoy to charge impact fees for highways, that is a failure of the entire electorate not demanding that authority be given to cities. Get involved with your state representatives to change the law. While we are at it, maybe get them to increase fuel taxes as well. It seems that all too often people whine that "someone should do something about this..." Well, that something starts with you.

By the way, as it pertains to city roads (not highways), I have definitely seen a city requiring a traffic impact study along with impact fees to be paid in order to approve a project (just like sewer and water impact fees and other utility fees).

In this specific project, I again disagree that adding these interchanges will in of itself lead to more sprawl -- there are a multitude of other reasons that let that continue. However, it would be a shame if we lose federal stimulus dollars for this project, and again, for something to reduce congestion at an intersection of two existing highways. Last I read, this does not add new lanes on 281 north of 1604.
I get your argument, but property tax receipts from the burbs are totally insignificant to provide the highway infrastructure needed (which is why it comes from the state and federal government). Sprawl can't pay for itself with property taxes. It requires massive state and federal subsidies, and as those subsidies start to diminish (which we're seeing now, across the country), other options have to be pursued. This means toll roads.

One of the major problems with sprawl (and a major reason that most cities are trying to discourage it) is that it's very inefficient, even when residential property values are higher. It's significantly less dense than traditional development patterns. As a result, public services (police, fire, emergency, public transportation, etc.) are more expensive to provide. It's also more expensive to maintain streets/roads/utilities (because there are simply more of them).

I totally agree with you regarding changes to state law. Cities ought to have more authority to regulate growth. But this is Texas, and I really don't see that changing at the state level any time soon.

Also, you're correct that cities can charge traffic impact fees (and SA has started to assess these fees). But those fees won't even cover the cost of major thoroughfares, much less highways. You're also totally correct about our fuel tax; it needs a serious increase, but I also think it ought to start being used to alternative forms of transportation.

I know we disagree, but I appreciate the interesting/civil conversation.
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Old 05-01-2010, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Texas
475 posts, read 969,575 times
Reputation: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvlpr View Post
I get your argument, but property tax receipts from the burbs are totally insignificant to provide the highway infrastructure needed (which is why it comes from the state and federal government). Sprawl can't pay for itself with property taxes. It requires massive state and federal subsidies, and as those subsidies start to diminish (which we're seeing now, across the country), other options have to be pursued. This means toll roads.

One of the major problems with sprawl (and a major reason that most cities are trying to discourage it) is that it's very inefficient, even when residential property values are higher. It's significantly less dense than traditional development patterns. As a result, public services (police, fire, emergency, public transportation, etc.) are more expensive to provide. It's also more expensive to maintain streets/roads/utilities (because there are simply more of them).

I totally agree with you regarding changes to state law. Cities ought to have more authority to regulate growth. But this is Texas, and I really don't see that changing at the state level any time soon.

Also, you're correct that cities can charge traffic impact fees (and SA has started to assess these fees). But those fees won't even cover the cost of major thoroughfares, much less highways. You're also totally correct about our fuel tax; it needs a serious increase, but I also think it ought to start being used to alternative forms of transportation.

I know we disagree, but I appreciate the interesting/civil conversation.
Thank you too for your balanced explanation of all points. Although I do not like them, I agree new toll roads (and toll lanes on existing freeways) will have to be a part of the solution to future highway construction needs given the funding situation and lack of true leadership from our elected officials... and I do believe environmental assessments and appropriate mitigation must be a part of the equation on any new major infrastructure and large commercial/residential developments.

Still, I also think part of the increased cost of a more spread out populace does get mitigated to the extent the newer developments are gated communities responsible for their own street repairs, and the higher property taxes paying for the higher cost of providing fire, police, etc and roads leading to those communities. Also, with higher value businesses in these areas, one would expect higher sales taxes as well. It is likely that less expensive development is what adds a significant burden to the cost of city services.

Ultimately, I believe the long term solution has to be a balance of fixing existing problems already created, restricting further creation of new problems in new sensitive areas like the acquifer, and encouraging future development to align within the existing footprint... and of course closer in to the core of the city.

Of course, the real roadblock to such wholesale change is the culture of a population that desires for many reasons to live in less dense environments... changing that attitude something that will be very difficult to do here in Texas if not impossible... unless we have $5+/gallon gas and much higher taxes all around. In this regard, the greater protest will come from DFW and Houston, much more spread out than San Antonio. Lastly, I would also say that in areas with too much density, prices will be likely increase significantly and than we will have to develop subsidized, affordable housing, something seen in other major cities on east/west coasts.

Getting back to this specific project, we will just agree to disagree on what seems to be the real motivation for the various organizations (including SOS and the Toll party) to rally against this one interchange...even though I am right!

Cheers!

Last edited by datacity; 05-01-2010 at 01:48 PM..
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Texas
475 posts, read 969,575 times
Reputation: 229
Unfortunately, it looks like AGUA is finally taking this to court:

Lawsuit could delay highway interchange
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:02 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
399 posts, read 1,028,148 times
Reputation: 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by datacity View Post
Unfortunately, it looks like AGUA is finally taking this to court:

Lawsuit could delay highway interchange
I despise these people, if you do too, write to them and let them know how the citizens of SA feel about their scare and stall tactics.

Have they attempted to determine the environmental impact of all the cars who are stuck idling in this intersection today?!? Let's make this a democracy and show them that the squeaky wheel doesn't get the grease, the majority does!

This interchange needed to happen 5, 10 years ago. We can't let the few cripple the many.

AGUA
1809 Blanco Road
P.O. Box 15618
San Antonio, Texas 78212
(210) 320-6298
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:09 PM
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Location: Ohio
16,816 posts, read 33,147,671 times
Reputation: 13600
Quote:
Originally Posted by datacity View Post
Unfortunately, it looks like AGUA is finally taking this to court:

Lawsuit could delay highway interchange
There has to be more to this than meets the eye. I would figure/hope there was some backroom negotiating of a quid pro quo to give AGUA something in exchange for not filing its lawsuit. Evidently whatever deal they were offered wasn't good enough.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:18 PM
 
81 posts, read 205,056 times
Reputation: 40
wow. so frustrating. these <insert expletive of choice> clearly care nothing for the environment since they are obviously willing to overlook the tons of vehicle pollution that is released en masse every day. since they have taken this action without any proof whatsoever--or even reasonable speculation--that a real environmental threat exists, it's clear that they have an ulterior motive in filing this suit. i'm not sure what it is, but i have a suspicion that terri hall and the anti-progress crowd might have something to do with it. their true colors are now revealed--they are willing to do whatever it takes to obstruct even un-tolled freeway ramps and connectors.

time to contact agua, businesses that support them, the city, the county, elected officials--anyone who might have something to do with the situation--and tell them we are fed up with this ridiculous obstruction.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:23 PM
 
Location: South Texas
810 posts, read 1,246,855 times
Reputation: 466
This just plain stupid and pathetic. This 281/1604 project should have happened 10 years ago but of course we are talking about San Antonio here. I think this calls for a protest in front of the AGUA’s office.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:54 PM
 
81 posts, read 205,056 times
Reputation: 40
to channel joey:

less air pollution? good!
shorter travel times? good!
less oil runoff into the aquifer? good!
no tolls? good!

what doesn't agua like?
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:26 PM
 
56 posts, read 104,341 times
Reputation: 27
These AGUA people are idiots. If they don't like it, they should move somewhere else. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where no one wants to move. Then they will not have to ever worry about living in a growing area and trying to exhaust every resource to prevent the growth from happening. The large majority of people here want it. They are sick and tired of the traffic. I am.
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