A Factual History of Shoreline Drive

A Factual History of Shoreline Drive

Updated: December 28, 2017

This is a growing draft document detailing the public discussion and timeline that showing, clearly, the mandate from elected city officials, city staff and a voting public to reroute Shoreline Boulevard and close ‘Old Shoreline’ to vehicular traffic. The plan to reroute Shoreline was presented to and approved via vote by city council in 2004 and by voters in 2008. While there were detours and rabbit trails concerning what to build in the area, the will of the voters in a 2008 Bond Election secured the notion that Shoreline would move and ‘Old Shoreline’ would close.

The use of bold text for emphasis in quotes below is ours.

Where We Are Today

On August 4, 2017, city staff members presented a memorandum detailing the ‘shift’ of Old Shoreline Road and sections of Park and Kinney from the responsibility of the Streets Department to the responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Department. There is a diagram included within the memorandum with clear shading of the areas of ‘Old Shoreline’ which are to remain closed to ‘vehicular through-traffic.’

The memorandum was signed and initialed by City Manager Margie Rose, Assistant City Managers Keith Selman and Mark Van Vleck, Executive Director of Public Works Valerie Gray, Director of Street Operations Andres Leal, Director of Parks and Recreation Jay Ellington, and Director of Engineering Services Jeffrey Edmonds.

Click here to view the memorandum.

Here are excerpts from the Memorandum:

One of the goals of this project was to provide connectivity from the park to the waterfront…

Northbound Shoreline from Furman to Williams has been closed to vehicular through-traffic

Park Avenue and Kinney Street have been designated for parking…

All requests for public use of the impacted street ROWs for events or activities need to be requested and approved through Park & Recreation.

Here is a screenshot of the city’s Bayshore Park webpage taken December 26, 2017.

The city’s ‘Bayshore Park’ webpage (as of December 29, 2017) reads:

The major street construction on Shoreline Boulevard associated with the Bond 2008 project is complete. Traffic is diverted to the newly constructed lanes and off the northbound Shoreline Boulevard traffic lanes, which will permanently be blocked from vehicular traffic

In November 2008, the voters approved Bond 2008Proposition 7 [sic], the Bayfront Master Plan Project, which included reducing three lanes to two lanes in each direction and the realignment of northbound Shoreline Boulevard traffic lanes. The realignment begins near Furman Avenue and Buford Street and continues north until the lanes merge near William Street. The new Shoreline Boulevard realignment provides a large pedestrian area connected to the water, McGee Beach and the Coopers Alley L-Head.

On Thursday, December 14, 2017, ‘Old Shoreline’ between Coopers Alley and the north Shoreline remerge at William St. was reopened for a top secret traffic study.

Prior to this unannounced, not-discussed-in-public opening of the road, this section of road had been closed to be used exclusively for pedestrians for 2.5 years as per the language of all previous, binding Shoreline language. The road opened with no announcement, the addition of any traffic controls, traffic plan or notices that cars would be coming through. There is no ‘One Way’ sign on this stretch of road. There are no speed limit signs. This road change does not appear on any weekly Streets Department Report (link one, link two) that detail all traffic changes throughout the city.

On the day the road opened, this video was shot showing an 18-wheeler coming through the road with no traffic or warning signs to the pedestrians that had used it for 2.5 years. No notice at all.

The day after the road opened, these photos (photo 1, photo 2) were taken showing confused drivers parking and driving the wrong way down this one way street.

The Corpus Christi Caller Times released 4 written pieces about this top secret traffic study:

Corpus Christi’s ‘Old Shoreline’ lanes reopen for traffic study, December 15, 2017

Traffic has reopened on what is called “old Shoreline Boulevard” for a temporary traffic study.

That portion of Shoreline will be open through the holidays so officials in the city manager’s office can see how much vehicular traffic goes through, said Mayor Joe McComb…

Since taking office as a council member last year and being elected mayor in May, McComb has questioned the reasons for the lane closures in a number of meetings.

“Instead of coming out with a boat and trailer at Cooper’s Alley and taking a right at the stop sign to go toward Interstate 37, you have to make this terrible, drastic right-hand lane turn,” McComb said….

The park was paid for by a 2008 bond when residents voted for a park near the downtown bay.

Editorial Board: Let bayfront progress continue — keep the cars off old Shoreline, December 18, 2017

McComb is not fond of the rerouting two years ago of Shoreline Boulevard to push vehicular traffic away from the seawall so people could actually use the bayfront for something other than driving. The reroute was the fulfillment of a 2008 voter-approved bond project to make the area safe for families to use.

Forum: Keep vehicles off old, closed Shoreline, December 18, 2017

Well, folks, it’s happening. The voter approved closing of the northbound lane of Shoreline Boulevard from Furman Avenue to Williams Street in order to make it a pedestrian-friendly area of parks, waterfront, and Art Center for all the public to enjoy is now being whittled away. The erosion of the new pedestrian-friendly area is quietly being diminished, bit by bit, to its previous adverse state by the mayor.

Here’s how: The mayor is calling for an out-of-nowhere “study” to reopen a portion of old Shoreline (northbound) from Coopers Alley to Williams Street for northbound traffic. He claims that a tight right turn from Cooper’s Alley onto the new northbound two lanes of Shoreline Boulevard while pulling a boat trailer is dangerous and this portion of Shoreline should have never been closed.

Now here’s where we differ: I’ve personally witnessed numerous car-trailer rigs make that turn without any difficulty. It’s no more difficult than making any right-turn consideration when pulling a trailer. The concern is bogus. 

Corpus Christi’s Old Shoreline lanes reopen to surprise of many, change could be permanent, December 23, 2017

“I think this whole park area — that train left the station before council got on there,” McComb said.

The Essential Questions

  • Why is the clear intent of the city as per their current website and a signed memorandum being undone with no public, transparent conversation?
  • How does an elected official undo a previous council vote (see 2004 below) and the will of the voting citizens (see 2008 below) without public, transparent conversation and a city conversation about the proper process to do so?
  • How can the mayor not know the history (“I think this whole park area — that train left the station before council got on there.”) of the most important, controversial piece of property in town and does he truly speak for the whole city council?

Why was Shoreline moved and Old Shoreline closed to begin with?

To answer this question, we must start at the beginning, September 6, 2003. On this day The Caller Times reported that then Mayor Loyd Neal had stopped city negotiations with Landry’s for a Kemah-like boardwalk installation on the T-head. Almost immediately, citizens began planning what could be done with Shoreline. The eventual result was The Bayfront Master Plan, a multi-phased redesign of Shoreline from American Bank Center to McGee Beach. Phase three of this Master Plan always included the reroute/closure. The Master Plan (including the reroute/closure) was approved by city council in 2004 to create a grand park, unlike anything else in Texas. This would be our Riverwalk. This would be a crowning achievement for both tourists and residents. The funding for Phase 3 (including the reroute/closure) was secured in a 2008 Bond Election.

Coming Soon:

We will continue to fill in the blanks, but here are skeletal components of the path.

Pre-2004: Landry’s, a Charrette, and 32 Public Brainstorming Sessions

2004: City Council Approves Bayfront Master Plan Including Shoreline Reroute/Closure

Shoreline Boulevard Master Plan, presented to city council on June 29, 2004.

City Council Minutes from first reading and vote for Master Plan, July 20, 2004

City Staff Memorandum – City staff recommends Master Plan be passed by council, July 27, 2004

City Approves Shoreline Boulevard Master Plan, July 27, 2004

2004-2008: Master Plan is Tweaked Via Public Process, Funding is Pursued

2008: Voters Approve Master Plan Phase 3 Including Shoreline Reroute/Closure

Bond Language

City’s Voters’ Guide to Bond 2008

Corpus Christi Caller Times Voters’ Guide to Bond 2008 (Photo 1, Photo 2)

League of Women Voters’ Guide to Bond 2008 (Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3)

Caller Times Editorial Board: Bond Proposals Require Careful Consideration, November 2, 2008 (Photo 1, Photo 2)

Caller Times Forum: Approving Bond Propositions Will Keep City Moving Forward, November 3, 2008 (Photo 1, Photo 2)

Bond 2008 approved by voters, Caller Times coverage (Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4)

2008-2013: With Reroute Funded, City Attempts to ‘Fill In’ the Park: Memorial Coliseum Demolition, TRT Holdings, Brass Real Estate and Destination Bayfront

2015: Reroute Construction Begins

2017: Reroute Construction Ends; Mayor Attempts to Undo Everything

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