Category Archives: ABQ Ride

Dan Burden, San Pedro Road & the Paradigm Shift: Rebuilding the Local Economy in ABQ Through Better Design

– Dan Majewski

Dan Burden leading one of his famous "walking audits" on Constitution Road, ABQ, NM.
Dan Burden leading one of his famous “walking audits” on Constitution Road, ABQ, NM.

The recession has not been kind to Albuquerque.  Since 2008, a massive shift in consumer preferences and economic activity has left the traditional economy in shambles.  As other cities and states “recover,” Albuquerque continues to hemorrhage jobs and young, educated millennials.

Desperation Leads to Collaboration

Some would see the above statement as negative and currently, in the short term, it is.  However, it’s also an incredible opportunity.  The longer we go without a “recovery,” the more we are forced to collaborate on local sustainable solutions.  The city, UNM and CNM are finally beginning to understand this.  An example is the Innovation Central project, a collaboration between several agencies in the region.  This can been seen on the micro level as well with children moving back in with their parents.  Again, this is a potential positive: multigenerational families can share labor, ideas and collaborate more effectively.  Grandma can watch the kids while mom works.  On the flip side, mom can show grandma how to use the computer.  Most cultures operate this way and it’s a healthy way to exist.

An image from a NAIOP presentation about the mayors proposal for the Innovation Center in Downtown ABQ.
An image from a NAIOP presentation about the mayors proposal for the Innovation Center in Downtown ABQ.

Drive ’till You Qualify… For Food Stamps

I could go on, but I want to jump to a larger problem: infrastructure, specifically transportation infrastructure.  We have built a civilization that is impossible to navigate without an automobile.  This is inherently discriminatory: over 1/3 of our society cannot / does not own an automobile.  As our society ages, this problem will only accelerate.  Young, elderly, poor… a huge percentage of our society, stranded in the suburbs.

This brings me to the lessons of Dan Burden, people street specialist.  Thanks to the generous contributions from AARP, UNM, the Mid-Region Council of Governments and other partners, the Complete Streets in New Mexico Leadership Team hosted Dan Burden in Albuquerque on May 16-17.  His analysis focused on San Pedro Road and Constitution Avenue in the Fair Heights and Mark Twain neighborhoods.

Who is Dan Burden?

Dan is famous for several reasons.

  • Walking audits

The field of planning, or any field for the matter, is dominated by meetings behind closed doors in badly designed windowless buildings.  This environment leads to equally closed minds.  Dan throws all of that out the window, gathers everyone together and takes them on a walk.

On these walks, Dan uses the crowd to teach lessons.  For example, during our walking audit in the Mark Twain neighborhood, Dan used the audience to create a human traffic circle.  A car approached and drove around us, carefully and safely.  Lesson learned.  No long, complex jargon filled explanation was required.

A custom Dan Burden Human Traffic Circle, here in ABQ.  - Photo: Valerie Hermanson
A custom Dan Burden Human Traffic Circle, here in ABQ. – Photo: Valerie Hermanson

A Dan Burden walking audit is a form of street theater.  He is famous for throwing a tape measure into the street, disregarding oncoming traffic.  Dan does this to make a point, to teach a lesson and to draw attention.  He takes measurements in real time and explains why the design leads to bad behavior and points at actual observed examples.

What does this have to do with our local economy?

Let’s start with automobiles.

According to the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, regions with high level of automobile dependency experience economic detriments compared to regions with a more balanced transportation system (Source: page 6)

This is a point I have discussed in previous posts, especially in my article about Indian School: high speed traffic not only kills people, but it also destroys our local economy.

Regarding San Pedro, it is an economically depressed corridor in large part due to the ineffective and inefficient transportation infrastructure.  Mr. Burden proposed a solution.

  • Road diets
The blue line on this map highlights the segment of San Pedro which requires change.
The blue line on this map highlights the segment of San Pedro which requires change.

This is also a Dan Burden innovation.  It’s powerful because it only requires paint.  For the modest investment of $40,000 (~$15,000/mile, 2.5 miles, source: scroll to bottom of page), San Pedro can be redesigned with people in mind.

A road diet on San Pedro would take the current 4 high speed traffic lanes and convert them to 3 lanes + bikes lanes on each side.  One of the three lanes would be a center turn lane with opportunity to build medians and concrete crosswalk islands.

In addition, a road diet allows for safer and more efficient movement of automobiles.

This is a diagram of San Pedro today.  No bike lanes, narrow sidewalks and no easy way to make a left turn.
This is a diagram of San Pedro today. No bike lanes, narrow sidewalks and no easy way to make a left turn.

Here’s an example: Today, if a vehicle wants to make a left turn from San Pedro onto another street, they have to stop in the middle of traffic.  People behind them have to stop.  Sometimes, they aggressively switch to the right lane instead.  This leads to dangerous, high speed crashes.

Because of this bad design, it is difficult and dangerous to access businesses on San Pedro.

The most important thing to understand about a road diet: the stakeholders who stand to benefit the most are the business owners!  Some of the businesses owners on San Pedro are resistant towards road diets because they perceive them to be a “reduction in capacity”.  A road diet actually leads to an “increase in efficiency”.  Providing a center turn lane makes it far easier to both access businesses and move vehicles through the corridor.

Another benefit is a large reduction in speed.

Why is this so beneficial?

For Bicycles and people on foot: slower speeds = safer crossings and corridors.  A collision at a speed below 20 MPH is almost never fatal.  At 40 MPH, it’s almost always fatal.  A slower corridor is a safer corridor and a safer corridor leads to an increase in people walking and biking.

Notice how far people are walking from the curb in fear.  Vehicles frequently move at 50 MPH+ on this street, San Pedro. - Photo: Valerie Hermanson
Notice how far people are walking from the curb in fear. Vehicles frequently move at 50 MPH+ on this street, San Pedro. – Photo: Valerie Hermanson

For businesses: Dan Burden says that the ideal speed for a businesses district is 19 MPH.  At this speed, motorists have enough time to see a businesses, slow down and park.  This leads to local commerce and a more vibrant corridor.

This image shows how with the same amount of space, you can effectively move traffic and improve access for everyone.  Added benefit: the bike lane buffers the sidewalk from vehicle traffic.
This image shows how with the same amount of space, you can effectively move traffic and improve access for everyone. Added benefit: the bike lane buffers the sidewalk from vehicle traffic.

How can we, as a community, make the San Pedro Road Diet happen?

There are a few barriers to this project.  However, there is huge support for it as well.

SUPPORT: The Mark Twain and the Fair Heights neighborhoods are organized together in support of this project.  The Dan Burden event took place at Mark Twain Elementary School.  The principal of the school attended much of the workshop and he was very supportive of everything discussed.  The recently elected City Councilor for the area, Diane Gibson, attended as well.  She also stayed after the presentation to speak one-on-one to some of the louder voices of resistance in the room.

RESISTANCE: There a two primary voices of resistance against this project.  One of the voices is a collection of businesses owners along the corridor.  They feel that reducing vehicle lanes = reduction in traffic = reduction in businesses.  As we’ve read above, this simply isn’t true.  Luckily, this is a problem that can be solved through education.  It will not be easy but it’s certainly doable.

The other much louder voice comes from the City of Albuquerque Department of Municipal Development (DMD) – Traffic Engineering.  During this conference, we heard from the traffic engineers that a road diet on San Pedro was essentially impossible because of traffic counts.  They used the word “failure,” implying that changing the road in any way would cause the sky to fall.  In engineering language, the “failure” of a road means that traffic will come to a standstill.  The question I wish I had asked:

For what percentage of the day would San Pedro be in “failure”?  2 hours?  30 minutes?  5 minutes?

For most of the day, San Pedro is empty.  Based on what was said, the engineers intend to design a road that functions well for a small percentage of the day and badly for the majority of the day.  On top of this, vehicle miles driven (VMT) locally have been dropping steadily since the early 2000s and transit ridership locally has doubled in the past decade.  This trend will continue as our population ages and mass transit improvements are made.  San Pedro also has redundancy.  There are several parallel roads with space to absorb a few extra cars per day. This voice of resistance will be more difficult to defeat.  We as a community must work together to patiently educate and explain to these engineers that the decision to prioritize motor vehicles is destroying our community.  Adding safe bicycling facilities and reducing traffic speeds should be the top priorities for traffic engineers working on our local streets.  Luckily, according to Dan Burden, once a single road diet happens, the barriers crumble and they become common place across the community.

THE VISION: Below, is an idealized image of the Mile Hi District.  This is the historic name of the business cluster on San Pedro between Lomas and Constitution.  The name is the result of the elevation of this area being exactly a mile above sea level.  Restoring this historic brand will be an important part of reinventing this potential filled corridor.  Linked here are more redesign proposals for San Pedro.

The image below has it all: buffered bike lanes, nice buildings, wide sidewalks, on-street parking, etc.  The final product might not have all of these elements but we need to work as a community to include as many of these elements as we can.

THE CHANGE: It’s time to change how we think about transportation in our community.  We all gripe about how Albuquerque is a “car town” and this is the opportunity to turn things around.  If data is collected properly, this project could set the stage for a major transition in our community.  In a place with such temperate weather and 300+ days of sunshine, it is unacceptable that we are unable to walk or bike safely to most destinations.

What do you want to see on San Pedro?  This may look impossible or unrealistic but plenty of communities have accomplished projects like this.
What do you want to see on San Pedro? This may look impossible or unrealistic but plenty of communities have accomplished projects like this.


Contact Councilor Gibson and tell her you support this action.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  If the support is more vocal than the resistant business owners, this project WILL happen.

Councilor Diane G. Gibson:
Policy Analyst Chris Sylvan:
Phone: (505) 768-3136

When an issue receives just 10+ emails or phone calls, it becomes a high priority one.  Send out links to this post to anyone who you feel could influence policy on this issue.

Thanks for reading and keep on pushing for positive change in your community.

Jeff Speck + Jefferson Middle School: Improving a Problematic Proposal

– Dan Majewski

Click this image to visit
Click this image to visit

NOTE: Jefferson Middle School may soon fall to the bulldozers and a loop road will be constructed around the school. This proposal has been pushed through without any public process. If you have an interest in learning more about this issue or preventing it from happening, click the image above to visit

On the evening of August 14, the renowned urbanist and author Jeff Speck lectured at the Hotel Parq Central. The attendees were a diverse mix of community members including city planners, developers and other interested citizens. Mr. Speck’s ability to speak candidly about the issues facing Americas urban communities was refreshing and helpful. His new book, Walkable City, outlines in detail many of the themes highlighted in his presentation. If you are interested in making Albuquerque or any city more economically sustainable and physically healthier, I strongly recommend this book. It is light on the jargon yet it clearly highlights the ingredients necessary to create cities for people.

Mr. Speck Goes to Jefferson
The next morning, I joined Jeff Speck and a couple of other community members on a tour of Jefferson Middle School. The discussion topic was a proposed loop road around the perimeter of the school. I previously wrote an article about this issue titled Why Don’t Children Walk to School Anymore? Crisis and Opportunity at Jefferson Middle School.

We arrived at the school around 8:10 AM during the peak of the morning parent drop-off rush. It was relatively tame on Girard: slow speeds, minor congestion and relatively fluid movement. Once we entered the adjacent neighborhood, the issues became more visible with high volumes of parent drop-off traffic observed. This created potentially dangerous situations for the many students and residents walking or biking on these streets.

We parked and entered the school grounds from one of the three walking paths which connect the neighborhood to the school. The loop road plan was briefly explained to Jeff and as we walked he began to draw.

Mr. Speck observed that there was very little traffic on Lomas considering it was the peak of morning rush hour. Sure enough, the traffic counts show that this segment of Lomas is overcapacity and does not need three lanes in each direction.

Lomas could easily lose a lane between Carlisle and Girard
Lomas could easily lose a lane between Carlisle and Girard

For comparison in the image above, observe that Central, highlighted on the bottom of the image with a black rectangle, handles almost twice the amount of traffic (31,200 cars/day) between Girard and University with only two lanes in each direction. I encourage you to play with the large full version of the traffic count map in the image above: 2011 Traffic Flows for the Greater Albuquerque Area.

In just 45 minutes, Mr. Speck quickly sketched out three alternatives to the loop road which were far superior to anything presented by APS. They are as follows, beginning with least expensive/physically easy and ending with most expensive/physically difficult:

Click to enlarge!  This image illustrates the conversion of the existing right lane into a pick-up / drop-off lane
Click to enlarge! This image illustrates conversion of right lane into a pick-up / drop-off lane

OPTION A: Blub-Out on Lomas = Traffic Calming, Lower Speeds
This plan would be both incredibly cheap and physically easy to implement. Regarding physical infrastructure, it would only require a bulb-out (COST: ~$20,000; source) and pavement markings instructing vehicles where to stack, where to turn, etc. Compare this to the cost of the proposed loop road at $572,000. The graphic above explains Option A in detail. As written in the graphic, this segment of Lomas only averages 17,400 cars/day! This volume of traffic could easily be managed with only two lanes vs. the existing three lanes.

A major side benefit of this plan would be reduced speeds and traffic calming. One less traffic lane would give vehicles one less opportunity to pass aggressively, making it safer and easier for people to cross the street.

Click to enlarge!  Speck's sketch of Options A and B
Click to enlarge! The J. Speck sketch of Options A and B
Click to enlarge!  This image shows the space available to enlarge the existing bus drop off area
Click to enlarge! This image shows the space available to enlarge the existing bus drop off area

OPTION B: Extended Bus Drop-off Lane
According to neighborhood residents, Lomas is only serviced by four school buses. However, the bus lane is wide and if extended, could easily handle the existing four buses as well as a significant percentage of the parent pick-up/drop-off traffic. The graphic above explains this alternative in more detail. Since this option would involve extending something that already exists, the cost to build it would be much lower than the proposed loop road.

Click to enlarge!  In my rough illustration, the red rectangles represent the enhanced crossings proposed by Jeff Speck.  A tree lined sidewalk skirts the outer edge of the project area
Click to enlarge! In my rough illustration, the red rectangles represent the enhanced crossings proposed by Jeff Speck. A tree lined sidewalk skirts the outer edge of the project area

OPTION C: Tree Buffered Loop Road + Enhanced Crossings + Narrowed Pavement
This option, pictured above, would require the least amount of deviation to the existing plan. However, the enhancements discussed here would lead to a much higher quality project.

The image below was drawn by Mr. Speck. In his drawing, the proposed 24 ft. road has been transformed. Mr. Speck proposed:

12 ft driving lane +
8 ft. gravel parking lane +
6 ft. tree buffer +
6 ft. sidewalk +
6 ft. tree buffer

Click to enlarge!  The right side of this image, drawn by Speck, details proposed new alignment
Click to enlarge! The right side of this sketch by Speck details the proposed new alignment

A 12 ft. driving lane plus an 8 ft. parking lane vs. the proposed 24 feet of pavement would mean lower speeds plus less storm water drainage issues.

The tree lined sidewalk would both reduce the heat island effect of the new road and provide a pleasant walking environment for the significant percentage of students who walk to school.

Another critical element of the Speck plan is raised crosswalks at all three of the neighborhood pedestrian cut throughs plus the two ends of the road. Below is an illustration of a raised crosswalk:

A hybrid crosswalk and speed table, raised crosswalks are a great way to slow down traffic and provide safe crossings
A hybrid crosswalk and speed table, raised crosswalks are a great way to slow down traffic and provide safe crossings

Creating Places for People
Jeff Speck saw the issues at Jefferson Middle School and quickly found cheap, easy and reasonable solutions to the current problem. Regarding Option A, Jeff Speck made this point:

If we think in isolated boxes, we are fixing a school drop off problem by creating a traffic problem. If we think synthetically, we are fixing two problems at once: school drop off and an unsafe sidewalk against speeding traffic.

This project is interesting because of the larger context. APS is one of the most influential organizations in the City of Albuquerque. If they do not have an interest in encouraging walkable environments around their schools, the whole city loses. Regarding walkability, schools and children are the lowest hanging fruit. By design, most student live in close proximity to their school, especially if it is a middle school or an elementary school. Encouraging walkability is simply good economics: parking lots and loop roads are a lot more expensive than crosswalks and bike lanes.

Jefferson Middle School has a history of students walking and biking to school. Though a significant percentage of students are now attending from outside the district, there is still plenty of opportunity to encourage walking and biking.

Since APS does not have to answer to any higher authority, they are acting in a disrespectful manner. They refuse to acknowledge all of the better options that could be used to solve the parent drop-off/pick-up problem. They want the project to be completed and for the neighbors to get out of the way.

The city has not yet granted the curb cut that Jefferson/APS needs in order to complete the road but the writing is on the wall. Within the past couple days, fences and other infrastructure have been placed, suggesting an imminent start to this project.

It is unfortunate that APS does not want to build a good relationship with its neighbors. It is a missed opportunity and it will leave behind bad blood in the neighborhood for years to come.

Come to the Albuquerque City Council meeting tonight (August 19) at 5 PM and speak up for progressive walkable urbanism in Albuquerque!

Central Avenue: The Necessity of a Strong Vision, Community Champions and Street Trees

UPDATE 2/4/16: Last night, the City of Albuquerque hosted a meeting about this BRT project on Central, now called ART. See the project website here! Many new and updated features of the project were unveiled at the meeting including pedestrian scale lighting along the entire project corridor and FREE high speed WiFi!

We will be learning if ABQ receives the federal grant for this project in less than 1 WEEK, on February 9th!

Many people believe project has been “fast tracked” without any public input. Part of why we’re reposting this article from 2013 is to disprove that point. Also, many of the concerns voiced in this article have been addressed including:

Bikes and Silver: The City has planned and begun allocating funding for improvements to Silver. This does not mean that Silver will extend past the freeway. However, the city is also going to be making major improvements to bike facilities on MLK, already a heavily used bicycle corridor that connects UNM to Downtown. We still believe that there are unanswered questions about bikes on Central but overall, many improvements to the plan have been made.

Medians vs. Wider Sidewalks: The folks in Nob Hill came to an agreement with the project planners and there will be wider sidewalks through Nob Hill instead of medians, a huge improvement for the business district. In fact, sidewalks will be widened and improved throughout much of the corridor and pedestrian scale lighting will be added throughout the entire corridor!

Marketing, Outreach and Champions: This project has found a champion in the form of Mayor Berry.

However, outreach and marketing by the City on behalf of this project has been too little, too late. Unfortunately, outside sources have spread misinformation about the project. Independent from those outside sources, there has been resistance to the project for a variety of reasons. In addition, it is not always easy to communicate the benefits of this project, the construction process, the potential impacts and other aspects of this proposal.

The people running this project, as of very recently, finally starting using a Facebook page to communicate information. The City needs to do better promotion and outreach for these types of projects to get ahead of any possible pushback or misinformation campaigns. It’s not an easy thing to do but it can be done.

There’s plenty more to be said about this project and we will continue discussing it on our Facebook page.

The original article, in it’s unaltered form, is below:

“Central Avenue: The Necessity of a Strong Vision, Community Champions and Street Trees”

-Dan Majewski, May 2013

BRT meeting, ABQ Museum

During the month of May in 2013, the City of Albuquerque held six public meetings about a proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Central Avenue. Every meeting was held in a different location and focused on a different segment of the proposed project.

The format of the meeting was as follows:

  • 15 minute power point presentation about BRT + benefits of the project + why it should be built
  • 30 minute collaborative work session: we broke into small groups and conversed with consultants about what we like on the corridor, what we don’t like, what type of project alignment we would like to see, etc.
  • 15 closing presentations by each of the small groups

The collaborative element was useful. It allowed us to effectively express our opinons and hash out a vision for the corridor. It was also an opportunity to air grievances without having to interrupt the larger group presentation.

Bus Rapid What?

BRT Rendering

I attended two of these meeting and came away with mixed feelings.  BRT could be a great solution to the current transportation problems currently found on Central Avenue but it must be marketed correctly and executed properly.  Scroll to the bottom of the article for my full reaction.

Sorry, No Bicycles Allowed

For rapid transit systems to work, they must attract people from a wide geographic area.  To accomplish this, bicycles can be a great tool.  When asked about bicycles at this meeting, many of the consultants or city leaders implied that bicycles do not belong on Central Avenue.  “Why not the Silver Bicycle Boulevard?  Or MLK?  Or Lead/Coal?” they would say.  My response:

  1. Silver is great… until it dead ends at I-25.  It does not connect the University of New Mexico to Downtown, Old Town or the Bosque Trail.

    As you can see, the Silver Avenue Bicycle Boulevard ends at the interstate.
    The blue line on this map is the Silver Avenue Bicycle Boulevard. As you can see, it currently ends at the interstate freeway on the left side of this image.
  2. Most of the desired destinations are located on Central.  I may use Silver for 90% of my trip.  However, since my end destination is located on Central, I need to bike on Central for at least a block or two.  This means riding on the sidewalk (dangerous/illegal) or in the street (terrifying).
  3. Whether you like it or not, there is already a lot of bicycle traffic on Central.  It will only increase over time as this corridor becomes more dense.
  4. Accommodating bicycles does not necessarily mean 6 foot bike lanes in each direction.  It simply means providing infrastructure where possible.  This is an example of what bicycle accommodation could look like in the narrow segment between University Boulevard and I-25:


The Nob Hill No

The Nob Hill Neighborhood is the most organized and wealthy stakeholder group on this corridor.  They are also the most frustrated and angry about this proposal.  From their perspective, CABQ is trying to take away something (the medians) which presently provide safe pedestrian refuge.

True BRT = one general traffic lane in each direction.  This would lead to slower traffic speeds, creating a safer pedestrian environment and reducing the need for median pedestrian refugees.  However, the city has not adequately demonstrated the exchange of the medians for a world class rapid transit system.  The project leaders have not clarified how many crossings for people on foot would exist along the segment.  Also, it appears to Nob Hillers that this system will simply be going through the neighborhood without stopping (as the current alignment exists).  CABQ and ABQ Ride are not effectively selling the system to the neighborhood.

The city should explain that instead of the medians, Nob Hill could get wider sidewalks or bicycle lanes.

Using Streetmix, here’s how the Nob Hill segment currently looks:

Streetmix: nob hill current

Here’s how this segment could look with bicycle lanes:

Nob Hill, bike lane option

It could also look like this, replacing bicycle lanes with wider sidewalks:

Nob Hill; BRT + street trees

There are many potential positive possibilities.

Lessons from Ft. Collins, CO

On February 21st, the ULI (Urban Land Institute) hosted a full day conference about BRT in Albuquerque called Transit and Place: First Steps.  The day was filled with fantastic presentations from transit providers and developers nationwide.

Kurt Ravenschlag from Ft. Collins, CO delivered a wonderful presentation about the Mason Street Corridor BRT Project.  Initially, the project did not go over well in this mid sized college town.   It was rejected by the business community because the city was not emphasizing the economic benefits of the project, such as increased values around the station areas.   The transit provider was forced to go back to the drawing board.  The re-marketing of the proposal was successful and the project is now being constructed with major local support.

The City of Ft. Collins did not change the project!  They only changed the sales pitch.

All Together Now

The City of Albuquerque is currently working on a Complete Streets Plan for Central Avenue between 1st St. and Girard.  Isolated from the BRT project, this plan has its own webpage, a separate set of public meetings and different group of consultants.

This needs to change.

The BRT plan and the Complete Streets plan are the same thing!  They both have the same vision: increased economic development and a safer more beautiful street for people moving throughout the corridor.  Why are there two separate plans?

Mr. Ravenschlag from Ft. Collins emphasized the importance of first laying out a vision for the corridor.  Streetscaping should be the first conversation, followed by zoning overlays and bicycle/pedestrian access.  After all of that, transit should be discussed.

Reframing the Conversation

Central Avenue is in desperate need of a solution.

Half of all transit trips in the city are on this corridor.

It is Albuquerque’s main street but it is marked by vacant lots, visible poverty, fast moving automobile traffic, high pedestrian fatality rates, unsafe intersections and a lack of cohesiveness.

Rapid transit will be a part of the solution but it can not come at the expense of all the other elements.  Wide shaded sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, rezoning of the corridor, reduction of parking minimums and safe pedestrian crossings at every intersection are all more important to the long term success of Central Avenue.

This project needs a stronger emphasis on the complete streets and economic development elements of the project.

ABQ Ride and the City of Albuquerque need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to sell BRT as a larger part of the revitalization of the Central Avenue corridor.

The sales pitch could be something like this:

IMAGINE… an improved Central Avenue, Albuquerque’s Main Street.  Envision wide, smooth, safe sidewalks shaded with large native street trees.  Think of slow moving vehicle traffic and narrow, easy to cross intersections.  Visualize vacant lots disappearing, then filled with shops next to the sidewalk and apartments above.  Feel the warm summer air as you leave your apartment and walk a few steps away to a rapid transit station.  The station has shade, real time arrival information and other amenities.  However, you barely have time to look at all of it since a transit vehicle arrives every five minutes.  The successful vibrant Albuquerque of the future is linked to this critical corridor.

Can you see it?  I sure can.  For it to manifest, it will take strong local champions and a chorus of voices demanding a safer, more prosperous and more beautiful Albuquerque, a city for PEOPLE, where motor vehicles are guests.

It’s a difficult challenge but it’s our best hope for long term economic vitality.

Get involved!

Please comment below if you have questions or comments about this post.

For more information on the Central Avenue BRT project, click this link.

For more information on the Central Avenue Complete Street Plan, click this link.

Like the Complete Streets in New Mexico Facebook page for more news and information.

Like UrbanABQ on Facebook for more news and information.

Parklets Hit the Primetime

this one!
Channel Four News aired a segment last night about parklets. Tim Trujillo gracefully covered the subject in the video segment, explaining the social and economic benefits of having safe and pleasant places to hang out and spend time Downtown. Here’s a link to the full article and video.

In cities where parklets have already been built (such as NYC and San Francisco) local businesses were not initially supportive. Once businesses realized people spent more money in places where they could safely sit, demand for parklets and plazas increased. For example, in Times Square NYC, a large portion of Broadway Blvd. was converted into a plaza in 2009. Since that change occurred, retail sales and rent values have skyrocketed (Streetsblog NYC). All over America and the world, residents and planners are realizing that people are the key to successful places and spaces; cars are secondary. Soon, Albuquerque will join a group of great American cities that prioritizes space effectively and reallocates space from cars to people without much more than a signed piece of paper. Until that moment, we must all join together and tell our city what we want.

Albuquerque is NOT for cars; it is for us, people, Burqueños. We want to walk and bike and use all of the streets safely. Our city leaders understand this but they need to hear the message more forcefully. Other cities across the country are beginning to realize that endless low density sprawl is a recipe for economic disaster. A strong core is key to the success of a metro area and parklets are a step in the right direction.