Big cities in Texas are no exception as many streams and rivers have been channelized or encased in concrete or otherwise abused in Dallas, Houston, and even Austin. If San Antonio, a city who had some savvy visionaries a few decades ago, had known a century earlier that their river could be a key focal point for their economy perhaps they would not have built to its edge, perhaps they would have ensured the quality of its water. San Antonio has really come a long way in the last 10 years and is now aggressively preserving the downstream and upstream portions of the San Antonio River and its creeks where they can still be secured. Unfortunately they cannot undo some the permanent obstructions to their greenways. Some overpasses, culverts and wide highways grew up before they realized the value of those ‘ditches’, otherwise their system might truly be world class. In nearly every case they could have provided structures that would go over the creeks leaving plenty of room for people and nature to connect continuously through their city.
The City of San Marcos has already taken measures to ensure connectivity and vegetation along Willow Creek as it seeks to reduce flooding in the Victory Garden neighborhood. The new Guadalupe Street Bridge and the bridge to be built over Purgatory at Hunter will accommodate biped facilities.
As we begin to write the land development codes and grow our infrastructure we will need to be vigilant and insistent. The hard learned lessons of those bigger older cities will only be of benefit to us if we don’t make the same mistakes.