San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 24th, 2010
Letter to the editor: Allen Parkway much improved

To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the city manager and other city staff along with my fellow colleagues on the city council for their support of an idea that was promoted at an urban planning conference I attended last year.

If you have not had the chance to drive along the newly striped C. M. Allen Parkway you should find the time to take a look. Using a concept gaining popularity in other communities called “road dieting,” we were able to take a four-lane street and, with re-striping, add almost 170 additional parking spaces for users of our city’s parkland, set aside ample area for bicycle lanes in both directions and maintain traffic flow equal to previous operating levels, all while making a more compatible environment for the co-existence of both bicycle and vehicular traffic.

This solution resolves a number of nagging issues that we all faced with C. M. Allen Parkway in its previous configuration. What used to be one of the worst streets to ride a bike on has been transformed to one of the best. Today, I rode down the newly striped roadway and found almost capacity use of this new design. Truly, C. M. Allen Parkway represents a gateway entrance into our city from Interstate-35 past our ball fields, newly re-furbished tennis courts and the city’s playscape and of course, Rio Vista Falls on the San Marcos River.

Collective leadership and action by adopting useful urban ideas from other parts of the country allows for a better use of our roadways to create a better sense of place here in San Marcos. Please send your thoughts of this new design to me at jthomaides@sanmarcostx.gov and, with your help, we can take this example of smart growth design and adopt similar solutions throughout our city.

Respectfully,

John Thomaides
San Marcos
City Council Place 6

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0 thoughts on “Letter to the editor: Allen Parkway much improved

  1. And unlike some on our City Council, he can write his own letters.

    Thanks again for your continued positive service to our city, Mr. Thomaides.

  2. I haven’t had a chance to check this out yet. Hopefully I’ll make it over there this weekend. In general, this is a great step forward and I’d love to see more, sooner rather than later. A lot of residential streets could benefit from this sort of thing, which effectively narrows the roads and can help to slow traffic down.

    Of course, fewer lanes and slower traffic within the city would go well with a bypass around the city (fewer cars and trucks in the city = more bike/ped friendly), but I know nobody wants to hear that.

  3. I took ride along CM Allen yesterday to see what all the talk was about.
    I had heard of a similar plan for reconfiguring the parkway several years ago when Ken Bell brought a proposal before the Parks Board. It seemed quite reasonable and doable at the time and I think there was the expectation it would happen in just a few months. The only concern then was what it would do to the river in terms of carrying capacity. In terms of more parking with no added impervious cover the idea was simple and elegant – brilliant.
    What took so long?
    The ride was leisurely and safe. Previous rides along the parkway always involved mad dashes in a traffic lane in an attempt to get through the ‘chute’ as quickly as possible hoping to avoid a bonk on the head from someone’s side mirror.
    The motor vehicle traffic did not seem at all congested or for that matter any slower.
    Finally, some simple, cost effective economic development that benefits residents, visitors and the business community. And it’s so easy. I hope it’s contagious. We should be careful though. When folks discover how people friendly our community infrastructure is they’ll want to live, work and play in our small town.
    Thanks to all those who made it happen…t.o.d.

  4. I am not the biggest fan of the changes. To lose a whole lane just doesn’t seem too great, especially on busy days when there is a line or cars having to stop at the intersection by the tennis courts. However, I can’t deny that the amount of parking added is substantial and quite surprising.

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