Sidewalks for the neighborhoods with greatest need
Every San Antonian who walks, runs, bikes, drives or rides a bus deserves roads, sidewalks and paths designed to safely accommodate the travel. Unfortunately, too many of our neighborhoods in San Antonio, especially those in lower-income communities, have lacked well-maintained routes to parks and schools, roads, bike lanes and sidewalks for decades.
These same neighborhoods often experience higher rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. We must make these neighborhoods a priority if we want a city that is safe and healthy for everyone.
The good news is that our city government is poised to do just that.
The San Antonio City Council is currently considering the budget for fiscal year 2019. The proposed budget includes $9 million for new sidewalks ($19 million total including the $10 million already approved in the 2017 bond) and $1 million for new bike lanes. Even better, the city is planning to focus these dollars on the neighborhoods that need them the most.
We applaud the leadership and commitment of our city leaders to make safe sidewalks a priority in the budget. These investments not only address a critical infrastructure need, they present an added benefit of providing more opportunities for San Antonians to be physically active as a part of their daily routines.
Walking, biking, running and playing in our neighborhoods shouldn’t be dangerous or burdensome. At a time when 75 percent of teenagers do not get enough physical activity, supporting safe sidewalks for a healthier San Antonio is something we should all get behind.
Dr. J. Fernando Triana is board-certified in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology and nuclear cardiology. He is president of the American Heart Association’s San Antonio board of directors.