Check out the wikipedia page for Mayor Berry. It could use a more balanced update, esp his arrogance in jamming ART down our throats, the constituents he’s supposed to represent, not dictate to.
Good point, and look at the message on top saying; “A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject…”
And when you click on their message, it brings you to this Wikipedia page:
The comments and questions email site for the Federal Transit Administration is: https://ftawebprod.fta.dot.gov/ContactUsTool/Public/NewRequest.aspx
Your comments sent directly to the FTA about the ART Bus Project ought to increase awareness about community concerns over this project. This is what I wrote:
There has been a raging controversy over the proposed ART Bus Project in Albuquerque for many months now. No one is arguing that Central Ave./Rt. 66 isn’t in need of a facelift, or that improved transportation isn’t desired here. This city is screaming for improved transportation, but the roadway that is being considered for FTA funding is the corridor that already has the best service in town. Other areas are without any transportation at all.
Rt. 66 is an iconic historic landmark highway with the longest remaining urban stretch running 9 miles through the center of Albuquerque. It’s a tourist industry’s dream deserving of preservation, revitalization and economic development. The design of this transit system will destroy that vision. The resistance to the project is that it benefits a few at the expense of many. This project needs to be redesigned. The City of Albuquerque has been sued over it; the DOT/FTA has been sued over it; petitions are being circulated from multiple sources to stop it; public meetings have been fury-filled events protesting it; there are appeals for a vote on it: If it’s such a good idea, why is there so much controversy surrounding it?
This ISN’T about resisting change; this is about objecting to a change that doesn’t serve the transportation needs of the people who use it. Improved transportation would be wonderful. I ride these buses, who more than the ridership wouldn’t appreciate better transportation? This project needs to be redesigned to fit the needs of those it’s supposed to serve. Please reconsider funding the ART Bus Project until some of the more concerning issues about it can be resolved. Thank you.
After submitting your comment it says that you will receive a response from the FTA within 5 days. Please consider sending your opinion/comment to them. Thanks.
Imagine a different approach to the future of Central Avenue and Route 66… As an architect and former environmental planning commissioner, I have faith in these (City) people and confidence that they will ultimately do the right thing…
Visualize a future for Central that isn’t inspired by Cleveland, Denver or some other irrelevant place. Over the last twenty years of design, we have blindly followed the “starchitects” in believing that every new design has to be vastly different from its surroundings. For the past two decades, designers have focused on creating “look-at-me” buildings, rather than designing buildings that are sensitive to their context. That is why our urban landscape is so chaotic and dysfunctional.
We need to get away from this arrogant design trend. Designers need to realize that “if everything is unique, then nothing is unique”… just chaotic. We need good design that helps to create a “true sense of place” that helps Albuquerque construct a unique identity that is truly one of a kind. As author Steve Berry said, “A concerted effort to preserve our heritage is a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational and economic legacies – all of the things that quite literally make us who we are.” Albuquerque has a rich history and culture. Let us build upon that heritage. New design needs to be intelligent! This means that it should not only be beautiful, functional and cost-effective; it should also reflect and contribute to its context and weave itself into the surrounding urban fabric, echoing materials, themes, ideas and our history.
As Walt Disney said, “Everything that is great began with a story.” Albuquerque has a beautiful story with the first three centuries already written. The current ART design destroys that story. In essence, “it throws the baby out with the bathwater.” Let the past be our guide into the future and help us write some inspiring new chapters.
Imagine instead of following the current design, that is wrought with too many problems to list, we look at replacing ALL the current diesel buses with Tesla’s Proterra electric buses. Made from carbon fiber, they are lighter than the old diesels and would logically cause less expensive damage to the asphalt roadway. They cost less to run. They are cleaner. They cost less to purchase and operate over its life; $ 1 million/ bus for the Proterra versus $1.4 Million/ bus for the diesel according to experts. http://ecomento.com/2015/08/03/business-case-proterra-electric-bus
We already have a “Rapid Transit” route & system in place. Let’s keep our landscaped medians and allow the buses to use their current routes. This solves so many problems that would be created by the current proposed ART design.
Let’s ask the Feds for the same $100 million and spend the planned extra $20 million of local funding. But, after buying new Tesla buses, we should spend the balance on; beautifying Central/Route 66, making it more walkable, safer and friendly to all modes of traffic and exceptionally attractive to tourists, customers AND new businesses and residents.
The idea that urgently RUSHING bus riders down Central is the critical key to our future success is absurd! If we want to attract people to Central, make the trip an enjoyable and memorable experience, like riding on a street car in San Francisco or New Orleans. This is a period in American history when we need people to get to work or home with a relaxed mind rather than running back and forth like crazed ants.
Instead of designing mini-Denver airport bus shelters, let the design of the shelters and all the street furniture be inspired by the rich history of Route 66/Central. This doesn’t mean that you have to make small adobe bus shelters. It means that there is a treasure trove of images and inspiration to work from. We have Neon Signage, Pueblo Style, Art Deco, Pueblo Deco, the Camino Real, the Mother Road, Xeric Landscape, Mountain Views, Bosque Views and a broad range of architectural styles representing our 300 plus year history. The richness of our inspirational heritage should make any designer or artist anxious with excitement to design something that would tell the true Story of Albuquerque.
In my observation, this battle seems to go back to the mindless “my way or the highway” logic that I referenced previously. We are all forgetting that we represent just a small segment of the “Albuquerque Story.” What I currently see now makes me sad and embarrassed. We are all responsible for this fiasco. Bungled or not, this was a team effort. Remember, there are future generations that will have to live with what we create today.
As citizens, we have a choice. This can continue with the current unpopular “boondoggle” that will result in years of class action lawsuits, OR it can develop into a new story that becomes a catalyst for growth and improved quality of life. If we stop, work together and get back on the “true path”, this can become legacy project that will make everyone happy and provide our children with a rich and proud future. After three hundred years of history, is it too much to ask for us to spend a few more months solving ALL the problems?
I can’t stand it! We’re breaking records. The heat, the smoke, the haze. My eyes are sore, it’s hard to see or even to breath. No, it’s not the Manzano fires nor the fires South of Socorro. It’s all coming from downtown Albuquerque. Mayor Berry and his Downtown Clowns at City Hall continue to spew their vile excrement onto the residents of Albuquerque. These so called “public servants” tout the virtues of the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project in spite of fierce opposition and factual evidence to the contrary.
A recent public presentation by attorney Yolanda Gallegos at the historic El Chante building clearly pointed out many of the flaws in the City’s original engineering plans. Bianca Encinias, (MCRP University of New Mexico; Owner of the El Chante: Casa de Cultura) also pointed out at this meeting that funds previously allocated for the Pockets of Poverty program are still being diverted to help businesses affected by the ART project. It’s Summer and as the days heat up so do our neighbors. STOP THAT BUS!
Wish I could have been there. You must work at MRCOG.I use the Off Center Studio next to El Cante. I have been talking to the rapid ride bus drivers and they don’t want it either/ worst of all. Some newcomer riders that commute and try out what really poor people have to do every day. From Railrunner Richardson to another disaster. People don’t like the bus or the train
There are many reasons for rejecting the ART proposal, including the huge cost and years of disruption. One additional important question is: “Does anyone really think that it will work as planned?”
While there may be a lane marked for bus only use, what will prevent cars, trucks and motorcycles from using that lane? Since the police are already overtaxed and are have not been very successful in preventing speeding and reckless diving (including “donating” at major intersections), how would they enforce this change?
Unless there is a demonstrated need for the ART, and it is supported by the community, I do not see how drivers will cooperate. There is a great need for drivers to use Central Avenue, especially with it being a major way to cross the Rio Grande. Since access to side streets would be more limited, drivers would need to use the bus lane to make more U-turns.
This, of course, does not even address the way Albuquerque drivers change lanes to be in what they perceive at faster lanes. Since the buses will only be in the bus lane every 5 minutes or so, I am sure that drivers will see the bus lane as a faster way to travel.
Can you send me a poster that says “Stop A.R.T.” i want to display it. I already signed the petition.
1204 Silver Ave SW Apt B
Albuquerque, NM 87102
This is the most insane, lame-brained, wasteful boondoggle I’ve ever heard of! Central Ave. is already the narrowest, most congested major artery in Albuquerque, and now some stupid ### of a mayor with developers in his pocketbook wants to make it 50% narrower and impossibly congested (as if it wasn’t so already). Keep in mind this same mayor recently reduced Lead & Coal from 3 lanes to 2 in each direction. Those are the very streets people will try to use to get to Central if they can’t drive on Central itself! The Lead/Coal construction took 18 months & put a lot of local businesses out of business. Construction along 10 miles of Central will take years & will completely eliminate most of the local businesses. Chain stores that can handle 2-3 years of losing money will be the only ones who survive. The only way ART would ever be feasible is if the city eliminated on-street parking on Central & made room for 2 traffic lanes, in addition to the bus lane. But instead, they want to widen the sidewalks. I guess that’s so more people can walk on them. How will this happen if nobody can get there in the 1st place? I’m sure the reply will be “Ride ART.” But ONE rapid transit line going east-west across what’s really the southern 25% of the city won’t do anything for people who live in the 75% of Abq that lies north of Rt. 66. If Berry is so insistent about ramming this project down everyone’s throat without even allowing the public to vote on it, why didn’t he look at Lomas Blvd–which already has 3 lanes each way, runs thru downtown, UNM, and Nob Hill–and is closer to the real “center” of the city?? This is insane, and anyone with even half of a functional brain should realize the stupidity of it. Save Route 66, save local businesses, and yes, save the trees!
Btw, I’m a liberal Democrat & generally a big fan of public transportation. But if you’re gonna do something, do it RIGHT. Build a light-rail network. Run buses along all the major streets from 6 am til 2 am, as my former hometown of Austin, TX recently did. A.R.T. is a perfect example of Republican “public service” schemes: Do something the public wants, but do it as stupidly & wastefully as possible & then tell the public, “Look! The Government can’t do ANYTHING right!” I hope the lawyers can tie A.R.T. up in lawsuits long enough for us to get a new mayor.
As someone that finds biking faster than our public transit system (when traveling <13 miles), I'd like to recommend increasing the number of buses so that taking the bus is a more viable option. When i do ride the bus I'm amazed at how full they are and how often they stop. Let's get people to work more efficiently and make public transportation a priority. We can do this much more cost effectively and better serve a more-inclusive public.
I am against the A.R.T. Project. I usually shop around the Nob Hill area and would hate to see my favorite shops/theater disappear due to needless construction. Bus lines running north/south and east/west should be upgraded more than Central which is fine as is.
What follows are my thoughts / opinions about the A.R.T. project down Central Avenue.
I might- if being unkind– characterize it as the boondoogle of the decade. More rationally, I will simply say that it seems short-sighted and not well thought out.
Why waste the money and pollute the air with all the exhaust required to procure the materials and move earth and build the new infrastructure for a “Rapid Transit” system that interferes with the existing functional infrastructure?
I think the millions would be better spent and the community better served by purchasing new zero emission buses such as the one shown here. http://www.proterra.com/
There would probably be be funds left over to purchase zero emission mini-buses for feeder lines into central.
The proposed construction costs would buy many,many buses to move people with minimum pollution.
The people who want it would get rapid transit. The drivers keep their lanes moving and not over-pollute while idling in traffic jams. The Central Avenue businesses would not suffer from the months of blocked access due to construction and the eternal congestion due to the new street configuration.
Do what is right for the City. Resist the pressure to offer lucrative contracts for building an unnecessary and inefficient system that will be regretted forever.
Digging up Central Avenue for a rapid transit bus system is like putting a bullet train down the middle of the Grand Canyon because rafting is too slow!
Provide wi-fi internet in all buses. Expand north-south spoke routes, increase frequency and create some new express buses.
Also, as our models such as Portland and Cleveland have had for at least 30 years, there is a printed schedule at every stop showing bus times. That way if you value your time you know when you’re expected bus will come.
This will expand the clientele and increase ridership more than an isolated corridor along Central which population-wise is a small percentage of the population.
They will take all the trees
Put ’em in a Route 66 museum
And they’ll charge all the people
ten dollars just to see ’em.
Replace ART with FART.
Seems like we Americans have a large love affair with acronyms. Now instead of saying things like Albuquerque Rapid Transit we use A.R.T. and/or simply say ART.
I am totally AGAINST art and now have a new acronym. F.A.R.T. or FART. The “F” can stand for FORGET, or a crude four letter word that is being used more often.
I feel that FART more aptly displays my displeasure in this program. So, starting now, FART it is. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!
It seems to me that any money earmarked for transportation would be better used to improve our already existing bus service. Have buses run in the evenings and nights with a full schedule on weekends. Improve the Sun Van system so people who use this service will be able to complete their tasks in a timely fashion. Add extra security on the buses so it’s not quite so frightening and gross for the average person.
And what about emergency vehicles? Valuable minutes could be lost while trying to navigate the mess that Central will become, especially with the limited left turn ability. And if there’s an accident, shooting or fatality, Central will be at a standstill.
The city has spent a great deal of money already improving the medians along Central Avenue. The beautiful, mature trees, hanging baskets of plants and newer lighting – gone! What a waste of money.
It is also my understanding that the master plan for Zuni Road is to make that one lane in each direction, from San Mateo east to the end of Zuni, with a continuous turn lane in the middle. How will that road be able to handle any additional traffic?
And tourists? Do the people who are for this project really think tourists are going to bother to find a place to park and walk to the bus in the middle of a major street with their children, shop and then, with all their purchases, try to remember where they parked and walk back through the neighborhoods surrounding Central Avenue to get to their vehicles? People still have to get to the bus, if anybody uses it the neighborhoods surrounding Central will become a parking lot.
Simply improve the existing bus service, add shuttles and trolleys if necessary to accommodate any businesses whose employees require or prefer to ride a bus and forget about this absurd plan that will destroy the charm of Route 66.
Any project that dares to call itself Albuquerque Rapid Transit should benefit all of Albuquerque, not divide a city.
Perfectly stated. I couldn’t have said it better.
I don’t understand why you would screw with an already developed area? Also, have any of these guys rode the bus here….ever? I have no problem with public transportation. I rode the train and bus system in Dallas for nearly five years. Here I’ve ridden it when my car was in the shop or in my ill-advised attempt to being greener. Honestly, It’s gross. Like blood and crap and junkie gross. It wasn’t every time, but enough that I quickly realized I would do damn near anything to not have to deal with it.
So, you want more jobs and industry in Albuquerque? Fix your schools, fix APD, and find a way to be able to care for your addicted, mentally ill and homeless.
My family lives and owns a home on Lead Ave and one of our primary concerns is the increase in traffic on the one ways, as drivers are shunted off Central. We’ve asked about this issue in meetings and online and the answer from the city and councilor Pat Davis has been to point to a traffic study the city conducted.
They assert that their study shows an increase of “5 cars per minute” on Lead, Coal and Lomas. Well, that’s 300 cars an hour. Even if you were to estimate 150 additional cars per hour going east and 150 additional cars per hour going west, that is NOT an insubstantial number.
But what is most troubling about this traffic study is that it’s based on the idea that westbound drivers will use Lomas and Lead in equal measure. The majority of drivers on Central and Lead during rush hour are heading for I-25. They won’t suddenly choose Lomas instead of Central, because you can’t access I-25 northbound directly from Lomas. All 150 additional westbound cars per hour are going to make their way to Lead.
When all this has been raised with Pat Davis and the city’s representatives, they simply shrug and point to their flawed traffic study. Clearly, they don’t have a plan for how this will impact Lead and Coal (to say nothing of Silver, Gold and Campus) because they really don’t care.
I and others have pointed out that it would be possible to use temporary signs, barriers, and lane paint to simulate ART well enough to determine how it would affect traffic on Central and how much traffic would be diverted to other streets, including Lead, Coal, Lomas, and the north – south streets to get to those streets. The city will not even comment on that proposal, yet alone consider it.
Rather than GUESS what the effects of ART will be, surely it would make more sense to make the temporary changes to simulate ART and actually see what happens BEFORE risking spending up to $200 million only to find out that it creates unacceptable problems.
It should be mandatory that these city big shots be required to ride this bus with all the thugs,druggies etc. Then let’s see what they have to say. The crime is a reality in this city that isn’t being mentioned in the meetings. I live in the war zone near the fairgrounds and many ride the bus to downtown.
Someone told me that she stopped riding on the current busses after having to dodge fist fights and step over vomit.
We should be spending far more money on drug treatment programs and other programs to reduce crime rather than spending money on ART at this time.
Put it to a vote and this idea won’t pass. I won’t sit in traffic on one lane! No way Jose!
I am wondering if there is another angle that could be used to stop this. In the last year there was a proposal to put a traffic circle at 12th and Menaul. When it was discovered that there was a lot of gas contamination in the ground because of old service stations on those corners the plan was dropped because no one wanted to foot the bill to clean it up. I’m thinking Kelly’s and Fan Tang were gas stations, and I think Standard Diner was too.
Due to the fact that these plans are full of hot air.
Consider using this as a campaign maybe?
I am not categorically opposed to ART, but have concerns about transit issues that will affect the Project as they already do the rest of the bus system. We have been marketed a shiny set of bus stops that will end up filthy with trash and cigarette smokers compromising the majority non-smoking users. Ever been at the Alvarado Transit Center and watched as smokers light up right under the No Smoking signs, especially when there are Transit Enforcement agents all over the place? How about bad behavior on the bus itself? Every time I ride, there are young people taking up the Senior and Disabled seating, riders with their feet up on the seats, riders taking up two or even three seats with their luggage, riders blocking the narrow entryway at the front of the bus. Recently, a rider smoked an e-cigarette on the bus, even though he admitted knowing it was a violation. He simply didn’t care, and said so belligerently. City Councilors should have had to ride the bus system for a month before voting on approval of such an expensive and highly limited transit project. Why not put money into the entire system, especially improving north-south routes? Why not enforce quality-of-life rules with enforcement personnel on buses and at stops? I am disgusted at least once each trip I make on a bus. This Project seems suspect . . . who is benefiting from this expensive concentrated effort? The City is falling apart, but this area will sparkle for a little while until it catches up – or down – with the rest of town.
Some of these businesses are already closed. Some of these businesses are bars complaining that their (drunk) customers will have less parking (for their cars that they will drunk drive home). I would encourage this out-of-state political group to take down the businesses names that are already out of business, and bar owners to reconsider their patron’s safety and do all they can to encourage walking, ubering, and busing to the bar instead.
SAVERT66.ORG is not against public transit. SAVERT66.ORG is NOT an out of state political group. SAVERT66 is for improving the underutilized present system and adding north-south routes to help people get where they want to go.
Note: all businesses who are on the site are local businesses in the RT66 corridor. Unfortunately, some have gone out of business for various reasons after they signed up. Also, unfortunately, these closings were for various reasons, but the economy was the first reason. Still being in a recession, high unemployment, lack of new jobs, and poor education lends itself to an already fragile economy. The businesses who signed up, got filled out postcards to the Federal Transit Administration, wrote letters, and put up signs deserve the respect of the community for its members who have stood up in their fight against a transit plan not fit for a historic road like RT66. Those that closed are honored and respected.
Economy very bad, UBER will not use Central after work completed, slows them up, they use faster routes. You’ve mentioned bar more then once,…bottoms up!
The Feasability Study was completed in 2011 prior to the DOJ investigation of APD. We are under federal consent decree to reform APD. We have no police officers. We are #1 in DUI, #1 in teen pregnancy, last place in education , #1 in the nation for joblessness, homelessness and other disparities that need to be addressed.
I have photos from Coors road to Louisiana ridership down 5%, homeless sleeping on bus benches, we need to help our communities first. This system leaves much on said especially in light of the bus drivers opinion “too big for this city”, and the idea we will lose the grant, ridiculous, it’s offered to every city who meets BRT guidelines. The connecting bus arteries are undeveloped, there are safety concerns and environmental impact will destroy RT66 The mother road. Please go to this is the complete plan. Note this was a site listed that is not on the city web page. Check it out and you will be overwhelmed at the massive size no green buses two buses in each direction, spewing black diesal discharge. Who will keep the system clean? Remember the landscaping takes out parking places, there is limited parking, on Silver, and on Copper , the entire street is no parking. No turns off Central except at certain intersections, for instance one turn off ends at a public school. Image kids , parents, school busses, added traffic, bad news and a safety issue.
This is not on cabq web page, found it during a search, scroll, read.
Having just gotten off a PACKED bus on Central, I hope ART comes to fruition. It’s nice to be in a city that hasn’t deprived those of us with lower incomes (no car) of a means to get to and from both work and school. It will be an absolute pleasure to have the frequency of service along the corridor increase, and to be able to buy tickets before boarding (modernizing the transit system, yay!). In addition, I’ll be able to justifying a jaunt into nob hill for a meal out, or to explore the neighborhood much more regularly. Although I’m not sure I’ll be patronizing businesses who oppose public transit.
I saw the time stamp on your comment. Welcome to packed buses at 6 in the evening. The City Transit planners have yet to add a bus to that route. You can already buy tickets in advance on the present system. It’s called a bus pass. The City Transit planners could easily install a sidewalk ticket stand and accomplish the same thing without destroying RT66, destroying tourism, destroying businesses, and destroying neighborhoods on the RT66 corridor. You certainly won’t need to patronize businesses that will no longer be in business. By the way, there is not one business on RT66 that is against public transit. They actually want the City to start planning on how to use the present underutilized transit system. One hour of a packed bus on one street is not an example of planning or a jaunt. This is not a single rider issue, it’s a community and City issue.
Mayor Berry wants to be Governor in two years, and he is hoping this “jobs creation project” will do the trick. Let’s hope there are enough construction workers to vote for him to balance out all the business owners (who will be out of business) and former patrons of the area who won’t.
What is needed is simply more bus stops and shorter wait times, plus smaller more efficient buses along the entire route.
I just sent this email to Pat Davis.
I’m very disappointed you are endorsing the Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project. I walked and knocked on doors to help you get elected and now I feel betrayed and need to speak out forcefully! I have lived in the Nob Hill area for over 30 years and I’m not about to let this project destroy the unique flavor of this neighborhood and negatively impact property values.
You are making a huge mistake for your constituents and for small businesses along Central. This project will sink all those small businesses that are relatively new and operating on the margins. Albuquerque’s problems are much bigger than a rapid transit system – we have fundamental problems of crime and education that need to be addressed first. Those two items alone would go much further in attracting new businesses here.
I would also add that during a television debate with Hessito Yntema and Sam Kerwin you specifically said you are “concerned about businesses in the Nob Hill area and how or if they would survive with street construction.”
I would suggest “Traffic Calming,” refer to various organizations such as “Livable Streets Coalition” for more information. “The goal of traffic calming is to encourage multiple types of transportation (car, bike, walk and bus) and improve the safety and “livability” of a neighborhood for all users.” “Safer, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are also the types of places where people want to shop, dine-out and own a home.”
So please reconsider your position on the ART, it would be a disaster and something I would vigorously oppose and fight you and the mayor every step of the way!
Please remember Mayor Berry is fueled by City Council, and that his cronies in the construction industry will reap the benefits, not our jobless population. 10-1 having greased the wheel, his own company will see benefits, after all he is a subcontractor. Route 66 will be forever damaged, it is the major east/west artery. The city planning department will choke ABQ. NOW … “they hope they can close all local businesses and replace with new out of state interests, again.REALLY!
Can’t they put in an elevated train instead? Look at Chicago – that’s a great system which connects all the public transit in northern Illinois: commuter trains, electric elevated trains, bus routes, airports, etc. It’s mostly automated, it’s fast, and it provides so much access that you don’t need a car to get anywhere (it’s cheaper per year than paying for a car and all the gas).
At the very least, A.R.T. needs to be moved to Lomas Blvd between Rio Grande Blvd and Louisiana Blvd. News flash: Buses can make left and right turns so turning down Louisiana between Lomas and Central is possible! Bottom line: If A.R.T runs down Central in this already vulnerable part of the Historic Route 66 corridor (Downtown, EDO, University Area, Nob Hill and Highland) Albuquerque and New Mexico will lose yet another unique gem that makes the Duke City desirable to both locals and tourists alike. This is economic development in reverse – akin to the idiotic decision decades ago by our city fathers to tear down the Alvarado Hotel in the name of Urban Renewal!
If a rapid transit system is needed or if there is reason to believe enough people would have benefit that outweighs the cost, consider using LOMAS. It is already at least 3 lanes in nearly all areas, with large medians, and does not have street parking. It connects the same areas they are discussing, while staying on the north side of the “International” district/war zone. Lomas has good access to UNM, UNM-H, Lovelace, courthouses, old town, walking distance to nob hill businesses, and is closer to uptown. There are fewer stop lights and quicker traffic. The medians (which are not landscaped already) would probably make the project possible without eliminating car traffic and would still have at least 2 lanes in each direction.
I watched this happen in Cleveland when they added the middle Bus-Transit to the Euclid Ave. Most of the businesses that had to deal with the construction had to close their doors, never to return. Hatton’s Deli was a prime example the had a fantastic business going, with delicious corn beef! They were an old school mom and pop. Wiped off the face of the earth because there was no access for the 3 years it too to complete the construction.
I do not want to see historic Route 66 loose it’s old school flavor in ABQ. ABQ has one of the best Route 66 City Routes to experience the flavor or old. I guarantee if this happens they will force out the old and it will never look like route 66 again.
If I were a business on Central I would be mad as HE double hockey sticks!
We spend 15-25 days a year visiting ABQ. All of it spent on or near Central AV. We are passionate about Historic Route 66. We support all the business owners involved in this effort. How can we help this cause? KC
That $ 80 million in Federal money would be better spent on highway maintenance and improvements, since that’s what it was intended for when we paid it through our gas taxes! Tell the DOT to stop raiding the highway maintenance “trust” fund for non-highway projects…
I share the concerns of many who have commented here and elsewhere that the A.R.T could drastically change Central in a negative way. I do think that Albuquerque needs better mass transit–especially in certain corridors and Central is one.
However, there are wonderful alternatives to light rail and bus-based systems that should be considered. Many cities around the world are turning to cable-based systems that have many advantages. First off, they are efficient and safe. Advocates cite studies that show them to be safer than rail or bus. Gondolas pass by much more frequently than any bus or rail system. True, each gondola carries only four or so people but wait times are only a few minutes. Second, they are cheaper to build than rail and even cheaper than constructing dedicated bus lanes. The operating costs are less as well. Third, they can be a tourist attraction in themselves. The system could be expanded to include routes to the airport and maybe uptown and other clusters of tourist interest,
Fourth, and maybe most importantly in the Central corridor, they do not disrupt traffic. The elevated cables carry gondolas across streets without impeding traffic at all. The towers do require some ground space but not nearly as much as dedicated lanes. Some parking space might be consumed but then there should be fewer people driving with an efficient transit system.
Perhaps cable-based transit will not work for Albuquerque. But has anyone in the City government looked at it? There is a lot of information available online. A good overview can be found here:
Good comment. See my reply to Mr Taylor.
Thermogenics Inc. , Agronics Inc.
It is quite apparent that regardless of the opposition to this hare brained scheme, the powers including some developers are going to ignore the facts and plow forward with their plans if only to save face at this point. It is basically an attempt to use a brick and mortar approach to attempt to solve what is otherwise a failed economic development policy and process. In my conversations with the various government (including elected officials) they are not open to objection. The underlying economic development issues need to be addressed to fix the low opportunity aspects of New Mexico and until these steps are taken, which they are not willing or able to do as it is much more complex and political, any presumed brick and mortar approach will not work.
I am of the opinion that the only way to stop this train wreck is to go to federal court and attempt to gain injunctive relief and perhaps state court to force the City to follow appropriations procedures which apparently have not been followed in this process.
In making comments about this proposed system, it is quite clear that the existing bus system does not have the ridership needed to justify the additional expense and the relatively shortened time projected doesn’t make sense to increase ridership. I also recommended that the city use smaller than the current behemoth buses during non-peak hours and install sidewalk covers with pay turnstiles so that riders can pay prior to boarding to expedite loading and unloading which saves putting them in the center of Central Avenue and adding congestion to the existing already congested thoroughfare.
My view of the language used in this proposed project is that it is completely misnamed as Rapid Transit refers to something faster than existing surface traffic, and this is not the case. Hence, I call this project the Fraudulent Albuquerque Rapid Transit or FART. It reflects badly upon the promoters of this to attempt to so thinly disguise the nature of this project and to insult the intelligence of the Albuquerque voters and affected businesses.
As part of this recommendation, I suggested as long as we are using federal dollars for most of the work, then go to an elevated train or monorail and connect this system to the existing New Mexico Albatross, the Rail Runner and have a transportation center at the train and bus station that means something, if we can come up with a way to save the Rail Runner from it’s pending demise and reducing the bond rating of the State of New Mexico.
I have first hand experienced the wrath and incompetence of the overzealous regulatory community in New Mexico and how this attitude has destroyed businesses.
Leland T. “Tom” Taylor
I use the bus from time to time but I really don’t like this A.R.T. Project. They should improve what they have, and fix Central. I just believe that it is going to make matters worse. With the economy of this city the way it is right now, this is a lose-lose idea. I live a long Lead and Coal and I remember the inconvenience that that project was. I’m afraid that this proposed project will be 10 times worse.
This streets were built decades ago by people who had brains in their heads. They understood the need for traffic flow on central and throughout the city.There are numerous parks to stroll in around the nob hill area. The bus system is fine. There is no need to chew up central. If you want more buses then buy them with the 60 million dollars or with bond issues.
We can’t allow this to happen. As a nob hill resident, I am deeply concerned that this project will effectively shut down all of the restaurants and businesses we love and drew us to this neighborhood. They will remove the beautiful trees from the median, which are finally getting large enough to provide some shade. Imagine how beautiful they will be in 5 years if left alone. What will happen is it will turn Nob Hill into a strip of vacant buildings, which will draw crime and kill our property values by turning the neighborhood into an unattractive, dangerous area. No one in this city uses the east-west central public transportation unless they are coming from the east central/war zone area. We don’t want to draw more of that population into Nob Hill.
You are 100 % correct. But, the city doesn’t care. It will be a ghost town if this goes through. The population of this city is very impatient on the roads. They will not adjust to central being a parking lot. More road rage and accidents.
A Traffic Plan Based on U-turns
Below from the FAQ’s of the
BRT Study:“All vehicular turns and crossings of Central Avenue will be at signalized intersections with signalized left turn/U-turns. These signals will be provided every ¼ mile, on average. These changes are estimated to cause drivers a 30-90 second delay in travel time to accomplish the safe U-turns. According to studies conducted by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), signalized left turns/U-turns are safer for vehicles and pedestrians than uncontrolled left turns in and out of driveways and neighborhood streets. They improve visibility and reduce distractions to make travel safer for pedestrians and drivers.”
-Imagine these intersections: Left turn east traffic, right turn west traffic, left turn north traffic, right turn south traffic, U-turn east bound, U-turn west bound, east bound BRT bus, west BRT bound bus, and pedestrian lights for crossings. This will be at every traffic light intersection on Central. Smells like, looks like, sounds like congestion. 30-90 second delay at 2 am. but what about the rest of the time?
I am a business/property owner on central. When people cannot get to the nob hill/ downtown areas in there own cars/bicycles because of parking or conjestion they simply won’t come. Riding a nasty bus full of drunks and druggies (which is what it will be) is not that much fun. Nob hill as of now is a thriving area because of the way it is. This nonsense must be stopped or we will be riding that stupid bus to the unemployment office.
I grew up in a UNM neighborhood and currently reside in the Nob Hill neighborhood. I am opposed to A.R.T. project for many reasons including the impact it will have on not only the businesses in Nob Hill, but the residential neighborhoods that surround the business core. I would like to see Central more pedestrian friendly, bike friendly, animal friendly. There are already buses running up and down Central, we do not need more!
1)BRT is a use or lose it grant from the government. ABQ will get $80 million in investment for $20 million. If we don’t use the grant it WILL go to another city.
2) If BRT performs well on Central (already at capacity with 10K plus riders daily!) there are plans to add it on other routes.
3) Busses taken off the central route will be added to the rest of the city, further improving north/south AND east/west connections.
4) Transit Oriented Development will only boost the economy.
Mr. Todd’s submissions are not Facts, they are opinions. There is agreement that the present transit system can and should be improved.
1. BRT funds are awarded to the city with the best local options for use of grant money, based on the city applications. The opposition level by businesses on RT66 is running 110 against and 6 in favor. It is also opposed by many neighborhood associations. See home page SAVERT66.ORG.
2. It is apparent that the buses are not running at full capacity. And if they were, how many planners does it take to add a bus to that route?
3. According to all the city transit people, the need for buses is on Central, i.e. an Albuquerque Rapid Transit system.
4. Transit oriented development like the BRT only works in congested and dense CITIES. There is no transit connection to economic development unless the City invests tax dollars to buy land and assist in the development on an undeveloped street, i.e. the example given by the City about Cleveland using Euclid Ave. (not a main street) and Cleveland purchasing $190 million in land acquisitions to start the “development”. Also go to the Update tab on SAVERT66.ORG, and look for the post – “Deconstructing Bus Rapid Transit” video.
Who are those 10k riders? I doubt they are the customers of the Nob Hill businesses. This money would be better spent on a high speed public transport option from the NE heights (Paseo) area to downtown. That’s what the commuters need – not a train to bring east central criminals into our neighborhoods.
I’ve been looking at the proposed route changes and I think it send life a great idea. I’m from Madison,WI and State St. has no traffic at all except buses, because of this the sidewalk is actually large enough to walk comfortably down unlike here. The proposed changes would fix this problem in Albuquerque. I have been all over this country and cities that adopt this kind of change have really wonderful outdoor malls similar to Nob Hill. This includes Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco, Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, 16th St. mall in Denver etc… All of these cities have successfully adapted to the changing face of America, I think we should join their progressive march forward instead of looking back to the “good old days”. I agree that a north and south bus line needs to be addressed but I can see how that could be facilitated with the use of the existing east west rapid ride buses if this project goes through. I also think that bike routes need to be addressed but a safer bike route is a route with less cars to start with. Lets stop fighting change and start becoming part of a shared future.
The author is correct about the success of these adaptions because those cities are congested or dense. BRT work very well under// those conditions. What the author has seen have been the results after construction/destruction. In Denver, every business that existed on 16th street went out of business during construction and never came back. A similar situation happened on Lead and Coal in Albuquerque, but fortunately the pinata shop survived. The BRT construction cycle for RT66 is scheduled for 2 years or 6 years if the same situation repeats itself from the Lead and Coal project (6 months plan – almost 2 years to complete).
Winston Churchill said it best… the further you can look behind you, the further you can see ahead. In addition these cited cities were not trying to destroy a historical American icon, RT66. This is not about fighting change, it is about saving, preserving, and honoring our heritage and history. Albuquerque has an immense pool of talent and knowledge that can build a future without destruction.
Robbin, “Old School” “Good Old Days” Welcome to NM, here in the 505, Land of Enchantment, Land of Hasta Manana. We “La Gente” do resist unnecessary advancements to our “tierra”, what have we reaped? What will you sow?
Take the bus, I dare you. A pretty vehicle makes not a joyous ride. Deal with that first.
Again this is Albuquerque we don’t have to be lemmings. Just because someone did it let’s all do it. These business on central have to pay a hefty rent now the the mayor wants to destroy them. Thanks berry.
The premise for ART is similar to a Cargo Cult: I you build it, they will come. However, marginally improving bus service while reducing overall access will keep people away instead. Instead, let’s continue to improve bus service, repave Central, increase sidewalk space by shrinking, but not eliminating the median, and provide more shade. This will make the area more attractive at a fraction of the cost than the proposed boondoggle.
I live near Central Ave. and this Bus Rapid Transit project would be a total waste of tax payer’s money. It will not increase businesses along Central or bring in more customers. If people don’t live on or near Central how do they get to Central in order to ride one of these BRT buses? They would have to ride a north/south bus to Central or drive and park their car near Central. Many areas of Central Ave. already do not have enough parking (like Nob Hill). To take away a traffic lane, left hand turning lanes or parking spaces is just foolish. Has the city looked into a Divvy (a divide and share) Bike system for Albuquerque?
Not to mention who wants to park their cars in a high property crime area like east central and leave it there? It would be highly inefficient for someone to drive from the north side of town to park and then ride a train. You can already get across town from the NE heights using the freeway in less than 15 minutes.
This ‘savert66’ message is deeply flawed and misguided. The worst one can say about the ART project is that it goes too far east and west and not far enough north and south. Central already IS a major transit route. The largest employer in the state is right here. It ought to be rail, a tram, streetcar, dare I say…an abq trolley? 10 million a mile is a bargain when it comes to transit projects. 20 years ago, hardly any of those business which have signed on here existed, Nob Hill was largely boarded up. The planning philosophies behind this project is pretty much sole factor in the revitalization of these parts and the reason most of those businesses thrive in the first place. All of these businesses would stand to gain significantly with more convenient access to stretches of Central. In fact, I am almost convinced most of those businesses have been swindled to sign on to your cause.
Matthew, as a Lobo journalist, you certainly should abide by higher standards that include fairness, interviewing both sides of an issue, and reporting relevant facts from both sides to help people make informed decisions… is a requirement, not an option. Addressing such important issues as the future of Albuquerque requires facts, not opinions.
I am for the ART project, although I would prefer it if Central was narrowed to one lane each way. Moved family to Nob Hill because of the walkability and don’t even feel safe walking across Central. Enough of the cruisers! I do feel for the businesses that will be affected however for the neighborhood to progress we need to improve the walkability. Sidewalks are way too small, especially when pushing a child in a carriage. I see the ART project as the easiest way forward to address the current problems with Central.
If you want to go for a walk go to Hyder or Roosevelt part which are close to Central. The Central Street is for automobile traffic.
I work on central those sidewalks are big enough. And I would like to keep on working but with this hair brained idea I think I will be on unemployment. Thanks
Also, the mayor’s office claimed business community (?) are in support of this… Reading the list above, it does not look that way to me.
We read and hear -ad nauseam- about efforts to bring jobs, new biz, and more tourism through ABQ. That’s all well and fine (realistic or not) and Central Ave plays a huge role in this effort. Rte 66 is our welcome mat. Not only is it a tourism draw but It reflects the livability of ABQ. There’s been big ongoing downtown and 66 revitalizing effort (public art, signage, architecture and neighborhood improvements, even bus line improvements, etc.) and this bus idea seems totally counterintuitive to all that! Tourists, visitors, and we life long ABQ residents love 66 because it’s drivable, nay – cruisable, park-able, walkable, (and should be better bike-able), so it just seems logical to enhance these factors and not the other way round. ABQ is a grid; are there no better routes for a new super-bus lane? Where is the demand for this super-bus, who’s riding it? The Mayor mentions a “study”…what study? The Bus Lobby and certain developers- what shenanigans have they up to?
I do not advocate pretending like it’s 1950, but turning what’s left of 66, -a relatively significant and very popular stretch through downtown ABQ, into a major transit route seems… foolhardy, suspicious…
Guys, I’ve been digging into this, and something doesn’t seem to jive with the notes on the city’s site. What’s up?
Several businesses in SAVERT66.ORG replied and wrote a letter in response to your article in the ABQ FREE PRESS. We did not hear back from you or the ABQ FREE PRESS. SAVERT66.ORG would encourage you to read it, but if you did not get a copy please email us at INFO@SAVERT66.ORG and we will send another copy.
I am opposed to the A.R.T. Project. It does not address pedestrian and bike safety. Nor does it address bus service. We need to increase bus connects between the north/south and east/west routes as well as increase the number of buses on these routes to accomodate the public and increase ridership..