This week Runners, I wanted to give you a written glimpse outside your campus. In today’s era of social distancing, so many more of us are riding our bikes. It’s a TIME TO RIDE! As a student, in a new and free will world away from home, you might not be familiar with where to ride. Many of you are familiar with the City of San Antonio Linear Park System. The City calls them, Greenway Trails. But do you fully understand how close they are to our campuses?
At the Downtown campus, the Alazan and Apache trail is located on Lombrano Street and then heads north into Woodlawn Park. A number of coffeehouses, bakeries, and West Side restaurants are located along the way. This linear park is scheduled to be extended, bringing the path south toward Buena Vista by 2022 and closer to the campus.
Another good downtown ride is along the San Pedro Culture Park. While the Alazan Linear Park is west of campus, the Culture Park is located north east from E. Houston Street to Camaron Street. E. Houston is the current terminus of Phase 1 Section 1. Phase I Section 2 from E. Houston to Nueva St. is already nearing end of construction. Of course, this is the same San Pedro Creek which emanated from the historic and famed San Pedro Springs Park in the Five Points area. Those of you trend setters will know that Five Points is the home of Sancho’s, Five Points Local, M.K. Davis, The Cove, and many other laid back restaurants and bars for cocktails, weeknight (or weekend) snacks, and local music.
Part of San Pedro Creek is now channelized in underground drainage structures but used to be water access and drainage for the Five Points area. Phase II of the San Pedro Culture Park will bring art, walkability, culture, green space, outdoor events, and a world class example of green infrastructure to the front steps of our new National Security Collaboration Center at our newest campus between Dolorosa and Nueva Street. We look forward to collaborating on the many sustainable opportunities the proximity of the NSCC to the San Pedro Cultural Park will certainly afford the university.
While riding around downtown, be sure to check out the local history including the Spanish Governor’s Palace from the mid 1700’s, Main and Military Plaza, the San Fernando Cathedral, La Villita, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the River Walk, and my favorite, the Esquire Tavern.
As for the Main Campus, be sure to check out the virtues of the Leon Greenway. There are three trailheads located near Main, Hausman at Huesta Creek Trailhead, Valero Trailhead at the “corner” of IH10 and Loop 1604 behind the Drury Inn, and the closest connector built for the campus at UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way. This connector is a large ADA Accessible ramp running from the intersection at UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way, south to contiguous to the Hill Country Place Apartments.
On a bicycle, skateboard or on foot, leave the on campus Tito Bradshaw Bicycle Repair Shop and head south on Ximenes Ave. to UTSA Blvd. At UTSA Blvd. head East on the 10 foot pedestrian path, over the pedestrian bridge, to the intersection of UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way. Using the crosswalk, head south on Valero Way toward the Hill Country Place Apartments. Following the 10 foot path which meanders down adjacent to the apartment community, you are dropped into the Linear Greenway in the creek.
If you head north, you will travel approximately 1 ¼ miles to the Valero Trailhead on IH10 and 1604. This ride is scenic with hills and valleys, as well as plenty of sun, and has two wonderful iron pedestrian bridges. Another ½ mile north through typical Texas Oaks and Cedar will get you to the Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Olive Garden on the north corner of IH 10 and 1604. A little more than a mile and a half more and you are at the RIM Shopping Center. Now don’t shop all day because there are no lights on the Greenway so it’s closed after dark. A quick way to return to campus is west down La Cantera Parkway to the campus. La Cantera turns into Peace Blvd. on campus and is a direct ride back to campus. Think twice about this return because while it has lights sidewalks, the sidewalks are not wide, the lights aren’t that bright, and it has a few really steep hills. The ride down La Cantera Parkway takes you by La Cantera Mall where you can find more shopping and good happy hours.
If you travel south from the intersection at Hill Country Place trailhead, in about a mile you will cross another iron suspended pedestrian bridge and reach Lou Fox Park. It’s a nice ride with much more shade. It’s a peaceful ride but this way is more for someone in no particular hurry to get anyplace. This route eventually takes you to Wal-Mart after a long but scenic 6 mile ride. Another 5 miles will eventually get you to Ingram Mall. This ride is more about wildlife, trees, sweaty hard hills and several off trail switchbacks that have been heavily ridden and provide moderately challenging mountain biking. This section of the Greenway goes on for another 2-3 miles and will eventually be extended.
There are an un-exhausted number of houses and apartments for students along the Greenway. If you want to bike to school, it’s an option to save some money by living a little further from school. You can always shower in the Recreation Center on campus. You might not want to get on the Greenway after you’ve been studying in the library until midnight, but you always have the option to Uber or use your free UPass from VIA to get home. On campus, remember that all streets are considered shared path and bicycles are welcome. Check out the UTSA Bicycle Mobility Plan for information. The speed limit is max 20MPH everywhere on campus. The inner core of campus is a Dismount Zone from 8am to 5pm. Etiquette dictates that we dismount during campus events on the Paseo and always give Pedestrians the right of way. If you want to take a ride but don’t have a bike, students can check out a bike at the Recreation Center. If your bike needs a little work, bring it by the Tito Bradshaw Bicycle Repair shop where you can check out tools, use the air compressor to pump up your tires, or get inner tubes to get your bike back on the street. The tools and materials at the Bike Shop are always free to students. Campus Services request bicycles are registered on campus and UTSA Police offers free etching service at the Bosque Building to get your ID etched on your property to prevent theft.