San Marcos will gain more bike lanes and sidewalks once expansions to Ranch Road 12 are complete in the fall.
The expansion is expected to begin in late fall and end in early 2016, said Project Manager Janae Ryan. Plans for the project are 60 percent complete at this time, Ryan said in a public meeting held Feb. 6 at the San Marcos Activity Center.
Construction will span from Craddock Avenue to Holland Street along Ranch Road 12, said Mary Mazzei, project manager for Halff Associates, the design firm working on the project. The plans include leveling the road in certain areas, creating sidewalks and bike lanes on each side of the road and adding new water utilities, Mazzei said.
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will provide federal funds for the installation of the sidewalks included in the project, Ryan said. The construction cost is estimated at $3 million, and the city plans to keep roadways open throughout the entire period, Ryan said.
The bike lanes will include a two-foot buffer, which differs from “a lot of bike lanes where you have just a stripe that separates them,” Ryan said.
“There were a few different projects that were already in the books to come out (on Ranch Road),” Ryan said. “We were going to widen this roadway and put in the center turn lane. That kind of got escalated when they put in The Retreat, and so now we are going to finish it up and put a center lane down the entire road. That was in our master plan anyway.”
Throughout the duration of the construction, planners and crew have to keep in mind the native vegetation surrounding the project, Ryan said. Bio filtration systems will be installed to improve the water quality.
The Parks and Recreation Department will assist in the recognition of existing greenery and take steps to improve and protect areas in which construction may interfere, Ryan said.
Matt Akins, co-founder of the Bike Cave at Texas State, sees the project as an opportunity to offer San Marcos residents safer and cheaper travel options. He described the project as a positive effort to connect the missing pieces of sidewalk.
“I would like to see more connectivity in San Marcos in relation to bicycles and pedestrians,” Akins said. “They are both equally important.”
Ann Swart, who lives in San Marcos and owns property along Ranch Road 12, voiced concerns during the public meeting about what effects the construction will have on water and sewage in the surrounding area as part of the project. Swart was concerned about the details of the construction process, but her main worry was for neighboring students.
“The young people who live in The Retreat need a sidewalk to get to and from,” Swart said.