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.
The Central Ave. redesign process (or any street redesign process) is contentious as there is limited right of way, or ROW. Up until the project breaks ground and even after, people will debate the best and highest use of the limited ROW available, especially between I-25 and University. It may seem obvious to us what the best use of the space is but it’s helpful to see what other citizens think about the matter.
Streetmix allows the planner, citizen and any other interested party to truly feel out the options. It allows one to see how many feet of ROW each mode uses.
Here is the approximate available ROW on Central Ave. where this redesign process will be happening.
Between Broadway and I-25 (EDo) –> 83 ft.
Between I-25 and University –> 96 ft.
Between University and Girard –> 115 ft.
The challenge: how much can you squeeze in? BRT (bus rapid transit) lanes? Bike lanes? On street parking?
Though Albuquerque was not mentioned in this short Streetfilms video, the national trend is clear: for the first time since the mass production of the automobile, Americans are driving fewer miles per year. This has been going since before the Great Recession.
Record ridership on ABQ Ride would lead one to believe that this trend holds true in Albuquerque. However, local (and federal) transit funding has remained stagnant.
Hopefully, city and regional leaders will notice this trend before they build too many more multi-million dollar interchanges (I’m looking at you Paseo & I-25).
I encourage you to send this video to elected officials or friends who you feel should see it.
This is UrbanABQ. It’s an evolution and a combination of many previous websites and ideas. One of its original incarnations on Blogspot can be found at this link: UrbanABQ.
UrbanAbq.com will be a venue for conversation about the past, present and future of a dense and cosmopolitan metro area. As a result, the news and information on this website will be focused on the core of Albuquerque: Downtown, UNM/CNM, Old Town and areas in proximity to these places.
We will not be limiting the scope of this site to these portions of the metro area. There are “urban” elements found all over the greater middle Rio Grande valley region. For example, the historic center of Belen, NM has a commuter rail station, well designed blocks and walkable elements. However, Belen has become a suburb of Albuquerque and its modern urban form is primarily suburban. For this reason, Belen won’t be discussed much on this site but know that it falls within the scope of coverage.
There will be more posts coming soon covering a variety of topics. Transportation (with an emphasis on mass transit, bicycling and walking) and infill development will be a major focus as well.
A diverse collective advocating for a better live/work/play, healthy and equitable city for everyone!