Meeting District 9’s Most Critical Infrastructure Needs

Jarrett Lipman for City Council, District 9 logo

When it comes to our district’s infrastructure, I know firsthand — and have certainly heard from many of you — that our community has some serious infrastructure needs and deficiencies. That’s why infrastructure, the backbone of any city, will be one of my top priorities as your councilman.

Great infrastructure — streets, bridges, public transportation, public utilities, parks and recreation facilities, and public buildings such as libraries and community centers — allow us to live, work, learn, and travel safely and efficiently. Since a well-maintained and modern infrastructure is essential for a healthy and thriving community, I wanted to share with you what great infrastructure means to me, how I would prioritize our infrastructure needs, and what I believe are some of the district’s most pressing challenges.

1. What great infrastructure means to me.
Next to public safety, meeting our city’s infrastructure needs is what I view as our city’s top two priorities. Like public safety, infrastructure significantly impacts your family’s lives. Well-maintained roads, bridges, and sidewalks make commuting to work or school easier. Public transportation can provide affordable and convenient transportation options for those who don’t have access to a car. Strong, well-run public utilities can ensure adequate and clean drinking water and affordable, reliable energy for our homes and businesses. Well-maintained and accessible parks and recreation facilities provide spaces for us to exercise and relax (which can have a positive impact on mental and physical health), and public buildings, like libraries, pools, and community centers, can provide access to education, recreation, and resources that can help our residents succeed.

2. How I’ll prioritize our infrastructure needs.
Prioritizing our infrastructure needs requires careful planning, consideration, and, most of all, listening. Once elected, the first thing I’ll do is assess the current state of the district’s — and the city’s — infrastructure and identify areas that need improvement. I will work with city staff and coordinate with neighborhood POAs and HOAs. I will listen to you since I know many promises have been made to you over the years, and just as many have not been kept. Once we have identified needs, my city council colleagues, and I should work with city staff and residents to develop a plan prioritizing the most critical needs.

The District 9 Public Budget project spending $1.5 million received feedback from just 2,600 (1.7%) out of over 148,000 residents in the district in 2023, and in 2019 received from 1106, and in 2018 it received 1427. We must cast a wider net to engage our citizens and prioritize projects to avoid spending tax dollars on “wants” before “needs.” The recent public budget project commits $400,000 to pickleball courts at Walker Ranch Senior Center and $150,000 to a turf soccer field at an NEISD Elementary school. At the same time, we have critical safety issues with signage and unfunded roads. While pickleball courts and soccer turf are nice projects suggested by our residents and will serve our district, we need a better way to determine true “needs” and “wants.”

When prioritizing infrastructure needs, it’s essential to consider factors like safety, efficiency, and the needs and wishes of the community. For example, if a bridge, road, or sidewalk is in a state of disrepair and poses a safety risk, the council should prioritize it over a park that needs minor repairs. On the other hand, a heavily utilized park in a densely populated area should receive a higher priority than a rarely used bridge.

Another essential factor to consider when prioritizing infrastructure needs is funding. As the only fiscal conservative running in this race, this is especially important to me. Municipal infrastructure projects are expensive, so we must develop a financially sustainable plan that gets the job done but does not raise your taxes. This may involve working with other levels of government, and private partners, re-prioritizing city budget items, or seeking out grants and other funding opportunities.

3. Here are some of the district’s most pressing infrastructure challenges.
I have seen firsthand and I’ve heard from you about some of our district’s most pressing infrastructure challenges, and here are some that I’ll work to address right away:

  • SECURITY CAMERAS IN PARKS – With crime rising, we should look at security cameras in our parks, like at Stone Oak Park, where there has been a spike in criminals targeting women running in the park who may leave their purses or wallets in their vehicles.
  • SAFETY SIGNS – Driving along the Huebner Road extension by Reagan High School or down Bulverde Road by Johnson, you will notice that we still do not have flashing school zone safety signs. These signs warn drivers about the rapid decrease in speed during certain times of the day when school is starting and releasing. There is a significant increase in traffic and pedestrians walking along and around roadways.
  • UNEVEN ROADWAYS – Like the dangerous “hump” on Hardy Oak Northbound between 1604 and Sonterra. If you’ve ever hit this hump on Hardy Oak going 20 miles an hour, your car might be airborne. Or like the stretch of Bulverde Road between 1604 and Jung Road, which is so beat-up it can wreak havoc on your suspension.
  • RIGHT TURN LANES TO RELIEVE CONGESTION – We have many areas along Stone Oak, Blanco, Huebner, Bitters, or Evans where traffic continues to bottleneck at intersections that we could expand with right turn lanes to help relieve congestion.
  • TRAFFIC SIGNALS AT CRITICAL INTERSECTIONS – As traffic has increased, we have many uncontrolled intersections in the district where drivers cross busy lanes of traffic to make left turns or pedestrians want to cross. While more traffic lights are not always popular, they will be critical to protecting citizens as the population in District 9 continues to grow.
  • GOLD CANYON PARK IMPROVEMENTS – The residents in Redland Woods and surrounding areas have asked for playground equipment and better lighting for years in Gold Canyon Park. This is our only park in the 78259 area, and we need to make this more family-friendly to match the offerings in McAllister park.
  • ADDITIONAL PARK SPACE in 78259 – We can expand access to park and hiking spaces by finding a location along Bulverde Road in undeveloped ranch land.
  • SONTERRA EXTENSION – We need to finish the connection between Stone Oak and Gold Canyon by finishing the Sonterra extension. This will be another way Stone Oak Residents can access 1604 during the busy commutes of the day.
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION – The VIA Bus Terminal at Stone Oak and 281 sits virtually empty most of the time. We were told, “if you build it, they will come.” So far, they have not come to use this facility. Could we rent out the space? Could we re-purpose it? Could we improve access to public transit in Encino Park and the Johnson High School area? Why don’t people use it? There’s a lot to unpack here, but I am determined to get to the bottom of this so the terminal doesn’t sit empty.
  • POTHOLES – Older areas of the district near Thousand Oaks and Hidden Forest have many streets with big, unsightly, and dangerous potholes. Like those on Summerton Oaks, whose residents tell me they’ve tried to have the city fix their giant potholes for over 15 years with no result.

As a candidate for city council, I believe that investing in great infrastructure is one of the most important things I can do to create a healthy and thriving community for all our residents. Working with you, I look forward to having the chance to finally fix some of our district’s most pressing infrastructure problems. Let’s get to work!

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