9 Inexpensive Ideas To Improve Downtown San Antonio

Criteria: Find ideas that can improve downtown for a small amount of money. Of course, we’d all like the ATT Center downtown, but that’s expensive. These can all be done pretty cheaply, if not free.

1) 5 years, 5 New Tourist Attractions.

2) Make the Core Downtown Roads a Maximum of 4 lanes. Expand the sidewalks towards the middle of the street. Let’s face it — the proximity to belching buses and bad drivers makes downtown are nasty place to be a pedestrian. With wider sidewalks, we get some space and the drivers will need to go more slowly.

3) Wire the entire downtown for ultra high-speed wi-fi and gigabit fiber service. Much like neighborhoods in Kansas City are being revolutionized by Google Fiber when businesses flocked to take advantage of the high-speed service, the same can happen here.

4) Make 5 Streets Pedestrian Malls. I covered the case for doing this on Houston Street.

5) Plant 5,000 shade trees. Besides the automobile, the sun is downtown’s top enemy. With some shade, we’ll have (a) more birds and (b) the ability to walk to eat without getting heat stroke.

6) Dedicated Club District. Yes, San Antonio needs a Bourbon Street / 6th Street. Let’s face it, young people like to stay out late and get a bit crazy. We need a street where clubs can go loud until 2am, open container isn’t a big worry and the noise isn’t a problem for retiree neighbors. How about the Dead Zone on the near West Side like W Medina St?

7) New Events That Don’t Have Beer Booths and/or Turkey Legs

  • Downtown Camping Weekend: Rent out parking lots. Invite families to come camp downtown. Have police patrolling. S’mores!
  • World Championship of Beards
  • World Series of Robotics
  • World Championship of Remote Control Boat Drag Races (on the River!)

8) Turn the areas underneath the freeways into live-work spaces. I covered this one in a past blog post.

9) Bungee Jumping on the Tower of The Americas. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt4bweZh3_w)

Got an idea for #10?

Michael Girdley