San Antonio is seeing a push for dense and sustainable growth led by its current mayor. Former San Antonio Mayor Howard Peak was also a proponent of sustainable growth, and in the 1990’s he came up with the idea for a ring of hike and bike trails in flood zones along city-owned creeks.
Now those greenways are seeing work continue to move forward, with more trails set to open soon. Work is currently underway along parts of the Salado Creek Greenway, the Medina River Greenway Trail and Leon Creek Greenway.
During his tenure as mayor from 1993 to 2001, citizens voted to dedicate one-eighth of a cent of sales tax to begin developing the trail system, in partnership with the Edwards Aquifer Program.
That sales tax initiative, approved in 2000, raised $20 million and funded about 11 miles of trails. Peak campaigned to renew the sales tax in 2005 to add 38 trails at a cost of $45 million, and in 2010 voters again approved using sales tax revenue to add another 30 miles of trails. In 2012, the San Antonio city council voted to name the greenway trails after Peak.
The overall system goal is to have 120 miles of hike and bike trails along the city creekways. Currently 79 miles are funded. Since beginning the greenway program, 1,200 acres along San Antonio’s creekways have been acquired for the program, and about 96,000 critical acres above the aquifer are protected, according to the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department.
Together with the San Antonio River Improvement Project, which is restoring natural habitats along the river and adding amenities, the greenways are an asset that give San Antonions outdoor recreation, and a way to access increasing development in the center city.