Westside neighbors celebrated the opening of the Apache Creek Linear Trail Saturday morning as locals walked and rode bikes along the newly paved trail.
The three-and-a-half mile trail is an expansion of the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System. Apache Trail connects the Westside to Downtown through the trails on the San Antonio River and is located on the intersection of South Zarzamora and South Laredo Street.
Apache is the third in a series of four Westside creeks undergoing improvement under the San Antonio River Authority’s (SARA) San Pedro Creek Improvements Project and Westside Creeks Restoration Project. Last month, officials celebrated the grand opening of Alazán Trail.
The City of San Antonio has invested more than $10 million in improving Westside creeks, funded through a voter approved, one-eighth cent sales tax. Apache Trail improvements totaled $4.1 million.
The trail provides pedestrians a traffic-free way to travel downtown.
“The creek is embedded right in the center of the city, and it ties into a lot of (residential) communities,” said SARA Board Member Lourdes Galvan who also celebrated her 70th birthday Saturday. “I remember crossing the creeks on rocks and boards to get from one side to the other. The development itself is going to be so inclusive. We talked about a community, but creeks were never tied in.”
Galvan and many other members of the Westside Creeks Restoration Oversight Committee were born and raised on the Westside. They remain hopeful that the community’s overwhelmingly positive response to the Apache Creek improvements will increase safety and harmony in the area.
“The Westside is a friendly area. That’s the information we need to get out,” Galvan said. “We need to change that misconception into a positive note. The community has come together to ensure we have this safety. We are going to watch out for one another.”
San Antonio Parks and Recreation is recruiting trail lovers to volunteer and spread the word about trail safety and etiquette along the cities multiple trails. Interested volunteers can call (210) 207-8603 or click here for more information.
Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) praised the ingenuity of the trail improvements. As an avid cyclist, she is a regular on the trails in her district.
“The city is evolving in such a way that we know we cannot continue to invest in an exclusive roadway expansion,” Gonzales said. “We’ve got to think of how to move about the city in a very different way. … We’ve got to find alternatives and this is a great, great example.”
The next phase of the improvements targets the Alderete, Rosedale, and Elmendorf Park creekways. The City approved $1.2 funding from Prop. 2 for the improvements.
San Pedro Creek trail, which connects to the downtown portion about to undergo a $175 million renovation, is the final trail being improved. According to Galvan, it will be completed in 2017.
Top Image: A group of bikers kick off the official opening of the Apache Creek Trail with a community ride. Photo by Amanda Lozano.