Conceptual Design Workshop--North Valley Demonstration Trail Project (NVDTP)
The Preliminary Visioning session of the three day Conceptual Design Workshop for the Griegos Drain between Chavez and Griegos Roads in the North Valley took place at the Shepard of the Valley Church (1801 Montano Road NW). The $850k to date project is funded by State Senators Dede Feldman ($775k) and John Ryan ($50k) and co-sponsored by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, US National Park Service, City of Albuquerque, Village of Los Ranchos, Bernalillo County, North Valley Coalition, and Vecinos del Bosque Neighborhood Association. The slew of consultants include Sites Southwest, Alta Planning, Gannett-Fleming and Consensus Building.
The purpose of the workshop is to identify project concerns, discuss community opportunities and outline the special and unique qualities of the area. Proponent information can be found at the Ditches with Trails and North Valley Coalition (oops, being updated) websites. At least one neighborhood association has expressed opposition with a board resolution (Download boardresolutionrgbna.pdf) and flyer distribution (Download webflyerrgbna.pdf)
Last nights meeting got off to a rough start with MRGCD Board member Augusta Meyers (Opening Remarks Speaker) arriving 25 minutes late and leaving immediately afterward (probably not the best move on her part as it was noted by project opponents). The meeting itself was fascinating as there were some great ideas presented by the various working groups, yet a strong desire was expressed by many participants to keep the ditches as they are because the ditch cultural heritage is where the real community value lies.
I hadn't planned to attend all three days of the workshop but after the initial session, some things are going to need juggling because this could get real interesting and certainly has significant long-term community impacts. I strongly encourage any greater Albuquerque residents who use ditch trails for recreational purposes to at least try to stop by Saturday afternoon for the Conceptual Design Open House (11am-3pm) to discuss ideas and concerns with NVDTP) project planners and engineers.
This Pilot Project will certainly set the tone for future ditch development and protection projects throughout the Duke City. Workshop planners stressed repeatedly that these planning sessions were not only for immediate area residents (of course, it's public money) but any and all interested community members.
Friday Schedule (10am-2pm)
Saturday Schedule--Open House (9am-3pm)
If you cannot make the meeting and have ideas/concerns that you would like discussed, you can respond through the Ditches with Trails or contact Mike Rose of Alta Planning (503.230.9862, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday's workshop was very well attended by area residents, members of the greater Albuquerque community, and public officials from NPS, City of ABQ, City Council Office, Bernalillo county, MRGCD and the Environmental Planning Commission. There is certainly a commitment to "preserving a significant community resource" where no action could result in a future with no ditches and lost opportunity.
One thing was clear today, there is a serious commitment by both the public-at-large and involved agencies and political entities to make this happen. It won't be easy. It won't happen quickly, but after two days it is apparent that these folks mean business and have made amazing progress to this point. What's remarkable is that normal public participation obstacles that you see on most public projects already seem to be sorting themselves out. That's encouraging and certainly was not expected.
Tomorrow's workshop session will be an "Open House" where participants can meet directly with designers and planners to help shape key elements of the overall project design including:
Perhaps the most significant challenge to the long term success of the Ditches with Trails effort lies in the ability of the greater community to overcome jurisdictional dissonance and competing private interests. The way to head that off is to get as much ironed out up front and these folks are doing a great job getting things on the table. The planners/facilitators are encouraging input from the entire community, so if you have some free time and ideas, stop by the NVDTP Workshop (1801 Montano Road NW) tomorrow and participate.
- Safety (emergency access, policing, trail design, amenities, etc.)
- Engineering (crossings, pathway, signage, connectivity, access points/parking, alternative transportation corridor)
- Maintenance (access, safety, jurisdiction, scheduling/mgmt, trash)
- Trail Planning (usage, bilingual signage, safe routes to school, connectivity, community enhancement, impacts, heritage, rustic character, educational opportunities)
- Legal and Financing Issues (liability, funding sources)