San Antonio’s continuing growth and evolution prioritize the need for high-quality infrastructure and many public realm enhancement efforts are already underway or slated to begin soon. These efforts encompass a range of issues from stormwater management to multimodal transportation, and one particular area of focus benefiting from these efforts is the South Texas Medical Center (STMC). This roughly 900-acre campus was the focal point of a recently concluded master-planning effort — STMC Enliven — to transform the STMC in a purposeful and enduring manner. With some of the first projects already coming to fruition, the plan is bringing our attention back to the streets.
Quickly approaching completion, the first project to be realized from this master plan effort is a redevelopment of Wurzbach Road, a primary urban road through the STMC. The project focuses on what is one of the campus’ primary corridors, emphasizing safety and an enhanced pedestrian experience. The redesign introduces a 2-foot-wide buffer strip between the curb and sidewalk and widens existing sidewalks from either 4 or 6 feet in width to 8 feet. The design preserves existing trees to the fullest extent possible, providing shade and character for the pedestrian experience.
Building on this momentum, a transformation of Floyd Curl Drive will be following soon thereafter. This project just recently received funding approval from the San Antonio City Council and will be underway in the near future. Floyd Curl Drive also exists in the STMC and intersects with Wurzbach Road. Floyd Curl Drive has been reconceived as a green street, with the sidewalk set far back from fast-moving automobile traffic. The design will provide a meandering 8-foot-wide sidewalk separated from the street by a two-way separated bike lane traveling the length of Floyd Curl Drive. This project’s design will commence in late 2015 and, once the infrastructure is in place, will allow medical center staff or visitors, as well as nurses and doctors — many of whom live within 2 miles of the campus — to conveniently walk or bike to work in a safer, more engaging pedestrian- and cyclist-oriented environment.
These initial roadway improvements represent only the beginning of a comprehensive transformation of the STMC campus and showcase San Antonio’s commitment to enhancing the public realm in a way that continues to build on the city’s great character of the city.