San Antonio Plans City Hall Accessibility Makeover

Winning design announced. 

A rendering of the winning design for San Antonio City Hall (Credit: Beaty Palmer Architects) 

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

For all the talk of “complete streets,” ADA-accessible public buildings and sidewalks are still more aspiration than reality in many cities. In March, the city of San Antonio took a small step toward accessibility with a contest to redesign City Hall access.

On Wednesday, the city announced the winner of that contest: Beaty Palmer Architects, My San Antonio reports. The firm’s design features sloping ramps that cut across a lawn in front of the historic building to meet up with the top of a steep staircase, while still leaving enough space in the plaza for gatherings such as protests or demonstrations.

The firm received a check for $20,000 from Gordon Hartman, of the Hartman foundation. While the city has not drawn up a detailed cost estimate, construction is expected to be around $3 million. Hartman, at least, is confident that it would get built.

“Next year at this time, we will see construction here to make City Hall accessible to all,” he told My San Antonio.

As Kens5 reported in March, City Hall is ADA accessible — but only technically. A wheelchair ramp lies at the back of the building. The ramp takes people to the basement. There, someone needs to open the door. Then they have to enter an elevator to go up to the main floor.

“It’s dehumanizing for people to suffer such a loss of dignity,” City Councilman Roberto Treviño says. “City Hall should allow all residents and visitors equal access to the front door of City Hall.”

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian

Follow Rachel .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: urban designsan antonio

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1108 other sustainers such as:

  • Brendan in Chatlottesville, VA at $10/Month
  • Anonymous in Flushing, NY at $25/Year
  • Anonymous at $25/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine

has donated ! Thank you 🎉