New designs proposed to replace downtown's crumbling sidewalks
SAN ANTONIO – The city is revealing proposed designs to replace crumbling sidewalks near The Alamo.
It’s a problem Fox San Antonio first exposed three years ago when we went underground to show how sidewalks with skylights are built on top of basements.
"When you look at the steel up here and you see the glass blocks that have dropped, you immediately see the potential for catastrophic failure,” independent property inspector Mark Eberwine told us.
"All of a sudden, the sidewalk just caved in,” Rene Alvarado said
Another year later, the sidewalks remain in place. But Councilman Roberto Trevino, who represents downtown, is now able to show us new designs for safer sidewalks.
"We have a plan. This is what’s being proposed,” he says while unfurling a large piece of paper with several sidewalk designs.
The designs eliminate glass and incorporate color.
“We have a huge responsibility to get this right. And so it's not your typical poured-in-place sidewalks,” Councilman Trevino says. “These sidewalks are going to have to be supported from underneath."
So why has it taken three years to get to this point? The councilman explains the sidewalks are public, but the basements below are private property.
"We're having to work with every individual owner of those properties,” Councilman Trevino says.
"And in the meantime, can you assure people that these sidewalks are safe?" asks reporter Emily Baucum.
"They are currently safe,” Councilman Trevino promises. “They may not be pretty. But they're safe."
He says there's a reason the problem went unchecked for so long, and he's now proposing a new city position: someone who would be held accountable for the condition of our sidewalks.
He’s also pushing for a new city commission to help audit the whole system and prevent sidewalks from crumbling the way we’ve exposed.
"This is a pathway to a solution,” Councilman Trevino says.
By EMILY BAUCUM