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Don't cut through here!

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Photos by Judith Pannebaker
For public safety reasons, limestone blocks - and an eventual gate - will prevent speeders from using a private travelway, adjacent to Western Trail Antiques Mall, as a shortcut from Highways 173 and 16.

Signs will warn motorists that a perpetual cut-through adjacent to Western Trail Antiques Mall will no longer be open to traffic. However, there will still be plenty of parking for mall customers.

Traffic patterns in the City of Bandera will see a change by Labor Day weekend. That's when, if all goes according to schedule, a street running beside the Western Trail Antiques Mall is set to be closed to thru traffic.
Mason Hunt purchased the former mercantile from the Bandera County Ranchmen and Farmers Association on July 31. One contingency of the sale was that the roadway running adjacent to the building be closed to traffic in the interest of public safety. After consulting with area businesses and private individuals, Hunt approached city council, which approved his request.
Though not generally known, the street or alley is a private travelway that does not belong to the city. It has no name and is not indicated on a local map of Bandera County and its population centers, published by Texas Trails Maps of Llano. The travelway was conveyed to Hunt when he purchased the former mercantile, mohair warehouse and ranch store.
According to local historians, the area was originally used to deliver supplies and later mohair to the building. Later, it became generally used as a shortcut from Highway 173 to Highway 16.
So, for quite some time, thru traffic has zipped along the travelway, causing concern to Tom and Mary Jane Crowe, owners of the antiques business, located in the imposing 22,000 square foot rock building.
"People step out of the mall right onto the street which some drivers unfortunately use as a freeway," she's said on more than one occasion. Crowe added, "And kids are always running across the street without looking. This was a bad accident just waiting to happen. We're thankful that finally something is being done about this dangerous situation."
Large limestone blocks were placed where the unnamed travelway intersects with 12th Street, as well as at intervals along the private street. At present, vehicles can still maneuver through the blocks. However, by Labor Day weekend, a gate is set for installation at the intersection to forestall drivers cutting through the area. Dealers will be admitted through the gate to unload their wares at freight doors on the mall's lower level and first floor.
Additionally, a parking area along the left side will still be available to customers from Highway 173; however, the entrance is clearly marked "Customer Parking Only." Space for dealer parking will remain in the rear of the building.
People patronizing businesses in the small strip mall and the ice house, as well as members and guests of American Legion Post 157, must use access off Highway 16.
City Marshal Will Dietrich said his office had received calls beginning Monday, August 24, complaining about the installation of the "stone blocks."
Dietrich said, "The drivers were indignant about the impediment, but I explained that the city had nothing to do with it. The property belongs to the owner of the building. It's going to take a while for drivers to get used to not being able to use the shortcut."