The Hays Street Bridge is recognized as a Texas Engineering Landmark and is on The National Register of Historic Places. It is also recognized by the citizens of San Antonio as a favored destination, meeting place and observation platform. Envisioned as a component of a hike and bike trail linking the Central Business District with neighborhoods to the east, the Bridge was restored and reopened in 2010 after years of work by San Antonio residents, with funds contributed by the Federal Government, the City, and local individuals and organizations.
Yet in the seven years since its reopening, the City has blocked efforts to make the Bridge fully available to the public, including efforts to provide restroom facilities, parking areas for cars and buses, and other amenities addressing the needs of its vast number of bicycling and pedestrian users. Instead, through back room meetings, the City has encouraged private commercial interests to plan for their private, profit-making use of the Bridge, to be implemented in the near future. If these plans are carried out, the City will effectively surrender the Bridge to the whims of private commercial interests, robbing the public of this priceless historic and cultural resource.
We, users and Friends of the Hays Street Bridge, call upon City officials to protect and promote free public access to and enjoyment of the Hays Street Bridge. In particular, we call upon the San Antonio City Council to take all necessary and appropriate steps to achieve the following:
Prohibition on exclusive use of the Bridge by private commercial interests;
Prohibition on new structures located close to the Bridge that would block the few remaining views of the entire Bridge from nearby streets (viewshed protection under the Unified Development Code);
Public restrooms and water fountains located close to the Bridge;
Dedicated off-street parking, located close to the Bridge, for visitors’ cars and buses, including school buses;
Bike "fixstations" with pumps and tools located at each end of the Bridge approaches; and
Updated, accurate, durable and user friendly displays explaining the Bridge’s historical, cultural, and engineering significance.
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