The Plan Framework comprises the six main topics of the plan: Land Use, Focus Areas, Mobility, Amenities and Public Spaces, Housing, and Economic Development. Detailed background information, maps, illustrations, and recommendations for each of those topics can be found in their respective sections following this overview. Throughout those sections, numerous important recommendations and strategies are identified for achieving the vision and goals of the plan based on existing conditions analysis; research and best practices case studies; collaboration with other City departments and partner agencies and organizations; and many conversations with the Planning Team and the wider Highway 151 and Loop 1604 Area community.
While all the recommendations and strategies in the plan are important, this overview highlights those that are either most critical to achieving the plan vision and goals, are more likely to be funded and implemented in the short-term, build upon other existing or ongoing initiatives, or are a necessary first step to provide a foundation for other projects and investments. These Implementation Priorities are presented in two ways: the list below represents the full range of priorities, while the accompanying Plan Framework Map illustrates all those that can be physically depicted in order to show important overlaps, adjacencies, and mutually supportive relationships. Some Land Use, Housing, Economic Development, and other recommendations and strategies are not easily depicted on the map but are included in the Implementation Priorities list. Together, the Implementation Priorities and Plan Framework Map represent the key strategic concepts and physical improvements that will influence future development of the Highway 151 and Loop 1604 Area Regional Center.
Plan Framework Map Overview
The Plan Framework Map identifies and shows the interrelatedness of key physical concepts and strategies in the plan. These include the focus areas, recommended modal priorities that would then help determine appropriate streetscape improvements, enhanced trail connections, pedestrian crossings, and mobility hubs. These recommended physical improvements and investments are complemented by other supportive plan strategies related to land use, housing, economic development, and providing access to and preserving green space.
Trails and Open Space
The number one suggestion from residents was to increase open space within the Regional Center. This can be achieved through many means as described in the Implementation Priorities above. The SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan and the SA Parks System Plan have the goal of ensuring residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. This area misses the mark. There are future plans to extend the Leon Creek Greenway through Culebra Creek, which is a high priority for the implementation of this plan. Additionally, there could be increased trail connections throughout the study area. This could be facilitated with the help of property owners and future developments to connect to a trailway system, perhaps using areas within floodplain to increase open space. This type of development coordination has happened in north San Antonio and could be a benefit to this area as it grows.
To ensure connectivity between the future Culebra Creek trailway and existing residential areas and commercial campuses, increased investment in the walkabilty of the Regional Center is needed. The Plan Framework map highlights several key mobility aspects – such as new multimodal connections, bicycle connections, and multi-use trails – that will further connect the existing assets of the Regional Center and create new assets. Additionally, several areas are identified for improved crossing enhancements. Increased activity and more people walking or biking in the study area, necessitates safer crossings to prevent pedestrian/bicycle/automobile collisions. Lastly, several pedestrian focus areas are identified as priority locations to improve safety and connection for those who might be walking in the area – from people casually taking a stroll to lunch to parents walking with their children to nearby trails.
The area is anticipated to become more mixed-use in the future, with residential areas nearby to commercial areas. Given this, two balanced/multimodal priority corridors were selected as areas where all transit modes should work together in harmony – Rogers Road and N Ellison Drive. This would mean bus stops would be comfortable to access on foot, and vehicular traffic will be managed in a way to reduce risk to bicyclists and pedestrians. The specifics of how these streets will function in the future is not prescribed in this plan, but rather they are highlighted as necessary based on the anticipated future land use in the area. With more people living and working on these corridors, managing how people are able to walk, bike, drive, and take public transit will be essential.
Focus Areas are identified in every sub-area plan as areas that could see considerable change in the future. For the Highway 151 and Loop 1604 Area Regional Center, Focus Areas 1, 2, and 3 are large vacant parcels, and Focus Areas 4 and 5 are priority multimodal corridors. In the Focus Area section of the Plan Framework, there are imagined renderings for the types of development or streetscape improvements that would benefit these areas. While the development will not occur exactly as designed, the Focus Areas were an exercise in capturing stakeholders’ vision and guiding design principles for the future of the Regional Center.
Employers and residents both would like to see increased transportation options available within the Regional Center. The areas identified as “Mobility Hubs” on the Plan Framework map would be good locations for concentrated transportation improvements based on the Future Land Use proposed for the area. As more people live and work in the Regional Center, providing increased transit opportunities will be essential. But, these must also be coordinated with increased options for walking, bicycling, scooters, etc., so people have several choices for safely getting from the bus stop to their final destination.
Establishing the Plan Framework and Recommendations
The Plan Framework includes recommendations and strategies around future land use; focus areas and mixed-use corridors for development or improvement; pedestrian, bicycle, and street improvements; amenities and public space; and priority areas to encourage mixed-use development. All sections of the Plan Framework are presented and briefly described below.
4.1. Land Use: Land Use is a foundation of this plan and all the other sections are intended to respond to and support the designated future land patterns. One of the key goals of implementing the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan is to create a future land use map for the entire city. Through carrying out sub-area plans, such as the Highway 151 and Loop 1604 Area Regional Center, the Planning Department will eventually create a detailed future land use map for the entire City of San Antonio.
4.2. Focus Areas: Focus areas are key areas where future investments or other improvements are desired. Mixed-use corridors are a type of focus area where different uses within the corridor are encouraged to generate activity. These mixed-use corridors are key places where there should be future improvements that encourage traveling by different modes other than car, such as walking, biking, and public transportation.
Many of the concepts within this plan are long-term and somewhat abstract. The Focus Areas section aims to take particular project ideas and ask: what particular projects could really serve as a good example for the types of developments or improvements this area would like to see in the future? While this section has detailed renderings, the specific style choices are more for illustrative purposes to show potential, rather than prescribe certain aspects of a development.
4.3. Mobility: Getting around in the future is, understandably, a key concern for future growth. This section suggests strategies and future improvements to help the area thrive in the future, instead of becoming more and more congested.
4.4. Amenities and Public Space: As the city grows, we need to ensure all communities have things that make them not only nice places to live or work, but also places where people enjoy time outdoors, cultural assets, and basic infrastructure. This section describes desired future projects or policies to make that future a reality.
4.6. Housing: In addressing future growth, there has to be a discussion of housing. This section supports the concepts within the future land use section with specific recommendations for housing in the area.
4.7. Economic Development: Future growth will also depend on economic opportunities within an area. This section describes specific recommendations around how to create an area with a thriving economy.