San Antonio: Zona Cultural Puts its Imprint on Commerce Street
Feature Illustration: Architectural rendering of W. Commerce Street with enumerated improvements. Source: City of San Antonio.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — City engineers are working on designs to bring a downtown section of West Commerce Street in line with the vision for Zona Cultural, which is one of the phases of the San Pedro Creek redevelopment project.
Zona Cultural is considered the most historic sector along the linear creek and flood control project’s path. Neighboring properties include the Spanish Governor’s Palace, the old City Hall at Flores and Commerce Streets, San Fernando Cathedral and other historic landmarks.
The segment scheduled for redevelopment stretches east to west from South St. Mary’s Street to South Santa Rosa Avenue. The city Transportation & Capital Improvements office is presenting the designs this week to the Historic and Design Commission, requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness.
The segment of W. Commerce Street targeted for improvements is in red. Source: City of San Antonio.
An existing lane will be removed to reduce the roadway to two travel lanes and one bus-only lane. Sidewalks will be widened on the north and south sides. ADA compliant wheelchair ramps will be constructed, in addition to landscaping, street pedestrian lighting and other amenities.
The city had previously received HDRC approval to perform road, sidewalk, lighting, and landscaping improvements in the same length of right-of-way on August 1, 2018. The current proposal is being reviewed due updated designs that feature simplified paving designs, material changes, and updated site elements.
A new decorative and textured paving is proposed in specific locations within the improvement boundary. Colored paving in Greca pattern will be installed with Porphyry where concrete or overlays are required. New paving materials include exposed aggregate concrete, Porphyry, and brick pavers.
The city also wants to install a variety of benches, including backless and backed Neoliviano benches, limestone block seating walls, and mosaic tile benches by a local artist as indicated in the submitted plans.
Custom street and pedestrian lighting is indicated in the submitted plans. The freestanding lighting will be provided by installed modular column street lights by Selux. Additional lighting will be included on standard downtown CPS Energy Valmont poles.
Other amenities along the public right-of-way include retractable, non-lighted, and lighted bollards, bike racks, tree grates, tree guards, and trash and recycling bins.
The inventory of new landscaping includes several trees. Species include crape myrtle, cedar elm, canby oak, lacey oak, Chinkapin oak, Mexican oak, Mexican sycamore, Texas redbud, Natchez crape myrtle, Mexican Plum, and Tuscarora crape myrtle.
(ABOVE) W. Commerce Street downtown as it exists today. (BELOW) W. Commerce as it would appear in the future.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.