By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The SPI City Council met last week for an afternoon workshop regarding the proposed plans for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which can be used to improve infrastructure related to pedestrians, bicycles and alternative forms of transportation.
In the absence of Mayor Barry Patel, Mayor Pro Tem Alex Avalos led the meeting. Assistant City Manager Darla Jones addressed the council with a presentation covering the program and application that city staff has been working on. The City identified the funding source a couple months ago and recently met with TxDOT to discuss crosswalks, signals, speed surveys, medians and more. The City Council is considering available funding, but has agreed upon the importance of updating the transportation plan that was originally developed in 2011 in conjunction with the City’s Form Based Code. The cost estimate of that plan has been deemed financially impossible at the moment and seemed to be more of a 50 year plan, however the City’s current goal is to improve transportation issues sooner rather than later. A major portion of the cost was the acquisition of an additional right-of-way on both sides of Padre Boulevard to create back-in, angled parking. By removing that concept, in addition to other adjustments, the City worked with Tom Grant of Kimley-Horn to bring the estimated cost of the project from $55 million down to $11.4 million.
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