How much of San Antonio is it possible to see in 8 hours? I flew into San Antonio on Friday evening for a several day conference, and only really had Saturday until 5pm to myself. Between flying in and that 8 hour exploration, I learned a number of things about San Antonio and its life and history that was corroborated by the Sunday morning keynote speaker, Dr. Bob Ferrer, from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. His presentation gave more background information: San Antonio had received a grant from the federal government to address public health issues in the city. Knowing that piece of information, I was especially impressed with how integrated and holistic the collaboration on San Antonio’s public health efforts have been to create more public health infrastructure. Elements Dr. Ferrer commented on that I, too, had noticed were:
- San Antonio has a lot of cul-de-sacs, which means kids cannot walk to each other’s house, they have to be driven; this is something I noticed when flying in, and that there were longer than normal roads that dead-ended in a cul-de-sac.
- Bicycle paths and the bicycle share (a $10-for-24 hours-of-unlimited-30 minute-rides rental system) was part of this effort.
- Dr. Ferrer said that people using the bicycle path were a lot of newly exercising types; this too I noticed, because I was riding the slow, heavy rental bicycle in a skirt and flip flops and was beating the locals up the mild hills, but the locals were overweight, not in spandex, on their own bicycles (but less expensive hybrid bicycle types), and were obviously there just to exercise because they did not have the bags and such one would have if commuting; so my experience did verify that these bicycle paths were being utilized as intended and are inspiring people to exercise.
- Dr. Ferrer said San Antonio needed cooler exercise spaces; I had already noted this because while on the bicycle ride, I went past a basketball court with a huge shade cloth stretched out over it to have full-time shade.
- Dr. Ferrer said the heaviest of the population were primarily in the south part of the city; I had seen this when I went down south to the missions.
San Antonio’s intentional, holistic, collaborative public health efforts are noticed and are reaping the consequences that were hoped for.
Rental bicycle on the San Antonio River Bike Trail.
 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Annual Spring Conference, May 2014