The city’s numerous construction projects will soon serve to benefit local business profits, transportation and beautification despite any current traffic frustrations.
Construction throughout the city will drastically change the urban landscape of San Marcos. The downtown area will appear more attractive, and less traffic will allow for improved alternative transportation.
An incredible number of projects and city-design improvements have already begun or are slated to start in a matter of months. Projects to help alleviate traffic, improve the airport and reconstruct downtown are listed on the city’s Engineering and Capital Improvements department website. Likewise, construction improvements are in progress on a two-lane bridge at Yarrington Road. Additionally, county commissioners recently approved plans for the construction of a new four-lane freeway called the San Marcos Loop.
The increasing number of recent construction projects and proposals means the city is bracing for a major influx of students and residents. The university’s recent emerging research status, growing enrollment and overall revamped plans for the city may be drawing even more people to San Marcos.
However, rather than solving problems, the construction process is creating noise, pollution, accessibility and traffic issues that affect not only residents, but local business. According to a Jan. 29 University Star article, Dan’s Discount Bookstore, a locally-owned bookshop, attributes the store’s recent closing partially to construction in the area. These projects, such as the ones on Sessom, North LBJ and University Drives, are a nuisance to many students and residents now. However, in the long run the improvements will make it easier to navigate the city and spark profits in currently suffering businesses.
The Downtown Improvements Project broke ground late last year. The estimated $10 million project will rebuild sections of LBJ Drive, Hutchison Street and CM Allen Parkway, the San Marcos Plaza Park parking lot, water lines and underground electrical and communication cables. Additionally, the project will enhance the beauty of these areas upon completion with new landscaping, repaved sidewalks, improved street lighting, benches and trashcans. These aspects will help give the downtown area a much-needed facelift and ease access to local businesses.
The largest complements to the Downtown Improvements Project are changes, additions and enhancements to surrounding amenities. The Loop 82 overpass project on Aquarena Springs Drive, for example, will ease traffic in and out of campus by cutting over the
Outside of road improvements is the movement of the city’s post office to Stage Coach Trail. This will reduce some traffic in the major downtown area by freeing up already-crowded streets.
Overall, the accessibility of local businesses will be improved after construction is completed on the major city roads. Less traffic build-up means more bikers and pedestrians are able to travel the streets freely. If more pedestrians are out traveling and shopping because of revitalized transportation efforts, businesses are likelier to increase their profits from locals and visitors.
This predicted benefit from the construction projects is very optimistic. When the construction is completed, there is no true way to predict how soon empty storefronts will be bought and turned into successful businesses. It is ultimately up to students and residents to build on the positive steps the city has already taken and support local businesses throughout the process.