All posts by 4thandcentral

UrbanABQ is the brainchild of Tim T. and Dan M., two dedicated urbanists from Albuquerque, NM. They have both traveled extensively, observing the good, the bad and the ugly sides of urban form and development. Together, with help from many community members, they are developing a vision for a stronger and better Albuquerque, an UrbanABQ.

April Fools to Reality – Why Albuquerque Needs Better Bike Lanes

A screenshot from the KRQE news story.
A screenshot from the KRQE news story.

On April Fools Day, we were all astounded by the response to our fake article about turquoise colored bike lanes in Downtown Albuquerque. It was covered not just by the local news but by Streetsblog, a national progressive transportation policy news source.

There are many different options available for bike infrastructure, so we will be explaining some of them and providing recommendations for where they might work in Albuquerque.

We would first like to apologize to anyone we may have led astray. Our intention was not to lead anyone on but to stimulate a productive dialogue about what we want to see Downtown and across the city.

And what a dialogue there was! Some of the comments:

Mayor Announces Buffered Bike Lanes for Downtown

EDIT: April Fools!  Read all about the joke and the possible positive implications on the Streetsblog website.


Mayor Richard J. Berry announced that the City of Albuquerque will be developing turquoise-colored buffered bike lanes on several Downtown streets.

The project is part of the Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, an initiative of the Federal Highway Administration to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety across the country.


“Improving our bicycling infrastructure is critical to maintaining the excellent quality of life in our great city. Visitors and residents are attracted to our active and unique lifestyle and I believe this project will attract more businesses and millennials to Albuquerque,” Mayor Berry said. “These new bike lanes will lay the groundwork for Albuquerque to be the most bike friendly city in the United States and will create economic opportunities and jobs throughout Albuquerque.” The plan was endorsed by Mi ABQ, a group of millennials actively working to improve Downtown Albuquerque.

Green painted bike lanes are cropping up all over major cities. The color improves visibility of bicyclists and their lane for drivers and has been shown to decrease accidents. But rather than going green, Albuquerque’s bike lanes will be painted turquoise. According to Mayor Berry, “Turquoise bike lanes will give our own local flavor to this growing worldwide trend.”

The $4.7 million project identifies 13 miles of on-street bikeways that will be completed by early 2016 and will serve to connect areas such as the Rail Yards, Innovate ABQ, and UNM. The streets slated for these improvements include Broadway Boulevard, 4th Street, Tijeras Avenue, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and Lead and Coal Avenues.

The plan falls in line with recent measures by the City that focus on pedestrian, bicycle, and transit-related street designs — the Complete Streets ordinance, which passed unanimously at City Council in January, and a walkability analysis by renowned consultant Jeff Speck that was released in late 2014 and adopted last month. Speck’s report laid out principles for a useful, safe, comfortable and enjoyable roadway network, as well as recommendations for improvements to specific downtown streets.

ABQ CiQlovía 2014 – A Synopsis and Analysis + 2015 Plans

– Dan Majewski

It is with great pleasure that I am sharing our ABQ CiQlovía 2014 report today.  Valerie Hermanson, Tara Cok and I have been hard at work putting this together and we are pleased to announce its completion.

Click the image below to see the report and tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

Click the image above to view and read our report!
Click the image above to view and read our report!

In addition to our report, we are officially launching the effort for ABQ CiQlovía 2015!  Right now, we have identified four areas for a route location: the South Valley, the Heart of Downtown, Nob Hill and the International District.  Regarding the date, we are leaning towards late September again but we are open to suggestions.  Join us in selecting the route and date moving forward.

We will be announcing a kickoff happy hour within the next few weeks.  Follow ABQ CiQlovía on Facebook for more information on this process.

A Great 2014 + The 2015 Forecast

– Dan Majewski

Some festive folks enjoying the new parquito at Zendo.
Some festive folks enjoying the new parquito at Zendo.

Cheers to a successful and momentous year!  Ending the year with the first parquito in New Mexico, now available in front of Zendo Cafe, couldn’t have been better.  Seeing the streets filled with people for our first ever ABQ CiQlovía this fall was incredible and inspiring.  Whether it was the Railyards Market, tactical crosswalk painting in Nob Hill, the CNM STEMulus Center or the completion of the Silver Moon Lodge, it has been exciting to see so many initiatives manifest or finish to completion this year.

Below is a list of 2014 highlights (feel free to add more in the comments section!) as well as some expectations and desires for 2015.

Highlights of 2014

Click here to read more!

The Folly of Osuna Road: Return on Investment + Using Our Resources More Effectively

– Dan Majewski

The New Mexico Railrunner, an important regional transportation investment.   Photo credit:
The New Mexico Railrunner, an important regional transportation investment. Photo credit:

Albuquerque, 2014: Our population is decreasing and high wage jobs are few and far between.  Our local government has a growing list of projects to construct and a shrinking tax base.  In addition, several indicators in our community have changed since the recession.  These indicators range from people per household to average income to home ownership rate.  All of these changes have not led to changes in how public (and even private) projects are built and prioritized.

One of those indicators is motor vehicle miles traveled per person or per capita VMTthe topic of this article.

Projections vs. Reality


Building It  ≠  They Will Come

This next section is very important.  I’ll call it “How Cities Decide to Build More Roads” or “The Road Gods“.

Municipal traffic engineering departments base road construction priorities around something called a Traffic Demand Model (TDM).  TDMs are computer simulations that calculate projected amounts of motor vehicles + population + other indicators on city roadways.  Based on the results of these models, the Road Gods then decide which roads should be built, expanded or kept as is.

In the words of a local government staff person:

The City uses traffic projections to plan their projects. They are not looking at past traffic patterns but the modeled traffic demand in 2035.

This is an imperfect system to begin with because it does not consider scenarios such as “what if we build LESS lanes?” or “what if we just added sidewalks and bike lanes on every road instead?”

However, since the mid-2000s, these models have become extremely outdated and irrelevant.  They are leading to decisions which are having a dramatic negative effect on our local transportation infrastructure.

People Are Driving Less

Below is a chart that captures one aspect of the social changes occurring in the United States today:

Click here to read more!