SPI approves Laguna Blvd Improvement Project design

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Plans for one of this coastal city’s latest projects is continuing to come to fruition.

During a meeting held Wednesday, the South Padre Island City Council approved the concept design for its Laguna Boulevard Improvement Project.

The city held three open houses in July and early August to gain input from the public regarding the reconstruction of the boulevard and conducted an online survey. The council approved a concept design based on input received.

“We had the public viewing of the proposal and the options and I want to thank everybody that came out, especially staff for hanging in there with us,” council member Kerry Schwartz said during the meeting. “We got some very valuable input from the residents, which led us to this direction of what we’re doing today.”

Some questions proposed to the community regarding the project included — should parking be considered on the west side or east side, where should a bike lane be incorporated and should a sidewalk be provided on the west.

Public Works Director Carlos A. Sanchez said there were about 90 responses from residents and property owners. According to Sanchez’s presentation, 79 percent of questionnaire participants were Island residents and 21 percent were not.

Regarding whether or not a sidewalk should be made on the west side of Laguna Boulevard, 54 percent of questionnaire participants voted no and 46 percent voted yes.

For parking, 47 percent of questionnaire participants voted no, 34 percent voted to have parking on the east side, 13 percent voted for parking on the west, four percent voted for parking only in the Entertainment District and the remaining participants voted to have parking on both sides.

Regarding a bike line, 42 percent of questionnaire participants voted for a shared use pedestrian, bike path, 36 percent voted for a west shoulder bike lane, 10 percent voted for a bike lane on both sides, 6 percent voted for a two way bike lane on the west side and the remaining percentage voted to share the road.

The council decided on making a 10 foot wide bike lane on the majority of Laguna Boulevard, which will allow for bicyclist comfort and safety, as well as two-way cycling.

Due to parking spaces, a 10 foot wide bike lane is not possible between West Tarpon Street and Pike Street. A 5 foot wide bike lane will be made in that area.

Approximately 40 palm trees, a power pole and 12 pedestals will be relocated. Additionally, adjustments will be made for five fiber optic manholes and three water meter valves.

Engineering will include — 6 inch tall curb and gutters along Laguna Boulevard or valley gutter were not possible, the widening of every intersection, adequate drainage along the boulevard and pipe crossing at every intersection.

Jason Yetter gave a public comment during this agenda item and said he is excited about the reconstruction of Laguna Boulevard.

“It’s not just another street. It’s 1.6 miles from Morningside to Amberjack and that is an area that’s used everyday,” Yetter said. “I’m really looking forward to the change.”

ahernandez@valleystar.com

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https://www.valleymorningstar.com/2020/07/20/spi-host-open-house-laguna-boulevard-project/