It's almost too early to dream, really, but it's true that the nascent
Brackenridge Conservancy has at least heard of the idea to restrict
access and/or speed on the section of Mulberry that runs between
Broadway and North St. Mary's. That increasingly trafficked stretch is
park road, after all, which once upon a time ended at the old historic
Brackenridge polo fields rather than heading west into Monte Vista.
While I'd hate to see San Antonio recreate Austin's east-west travel
problems -- shutting down Mulberry to significant thru traffic would
leave narrow Hildebrand and indirect Josephine the only nearby ways to
quickly travel from Broadway to St. Mary's -- it would help solve a
When neighborhood residents and the city agreed on the 2003
Brackenridge Park Improvements project that made the city's queen green
space so lovely (well-marked hiking/biking trails, art installations),
that plan included a wide sidewalk that would wind through the existing
trees on the south side of Mulberry. It's a sorely needed amenity;
anyone who's traveled that route in something other than a car takes
their life into their hands. This includes parents and kids taking the
shortest path to the popular Lion's Field playground. Not helping
matters is the lack of a well-marked and guarded crosswalk into the
Unfortunately, it seems, someone forgot to tell the Municipal Golf
Association - SA before they began renovating the Brackenridge Golf
Course, and now upset River Road residents say tee boxes and one of the
greens may be too close to the road to allow for the adopted sidewalk
plan. MGA-SA's Reid Meyers and Jim Roschek say they're willing to work
with the neighborhood within reason -- irrigation equipment, etc, is
already set, so no moving the golf features -- essentially conceding
that a path could run along the existing fence line (but remember,
Meyers says there will be a fence!). Roschek and Meyers would clearly
prefer that any foot or bike traffic on Mulberry cross the street and
use the park trails, but critics worry that that doesn't address
accessibility issues for elderly, handicapped, or young children. At
the least, it would require a mid-road crosswalk. Roschek told members
of the River Road Neighborhood Association that "some adjustments" were
made to the course in case the sidewalk plan came to fruition, but the
RRNA is seeking guarantees that the 2003 plan can in fact be
A brief conversation Tuesday with Roschek would seem to suggest no.
"The problem is, if you're really gonna [build] it, and not remove any
trees, it really has to come onto the golf-course property quite a
bit," he said, adding, "I've not seen the original [sidewalk] plan, so
it's hard for me to comment on that."
Enter, perhaps, the conservancy, modeled on New York's Central Park Conservancy, and
charged with working with the park's many stakeholders (leaseholders
like the Sunken Garden Theatre, the Witte, and the MGA-SA, park users,
neighborhood residents and businesses, etc.) to address issues such as
parking, growth, and traffic.
June Kachtik, a member of the Conservancy's steering committee and the
San Antonio Conservation Society, says it's too soon to draft agenda
items: they're still writing bylaws and coming up with a mission
statement -- tasks she hopes will be complete by the end of September
so that an attorney can draft the articles of incorporation and apply
for non-profit status.
"If we can just get this thing started, it would be the role of the
Conservancy to address these issues and serve as a forum," Kachtik
said, adding that they may be too late to participate in the ongoing
Avenue A/B hike-and-bike discussion.
The steering committee meets the first Monday of the month. A website
is in the works, and, says Kachtik, they'll be posting agendas and
meeting locations soon at saconservation.org.
In the meantime, in an April 28 letter, the RRNA has asked the Parks
& Recreation Board to intervene and help move the Mulberry
sidewalk construction forward.