Albuquerque Deserves Great Streets!

If you think like I do then you'll want to come out and support the passage of the Great Streets Facility Plan. A hearing with the EPC is scheduled for this Thursday, May 8th from 3:30pm to 6:30 in the Plaza del Sol building at 2nd and Roma downtown.
The Great Streets Facility Plan would help guide the design of future as well as existing streets around Albuquerque. Keeping more than just cars in mind, the plan calls for wider sidewalks, slightly narrower car lanes, more trees, more crosswalks, landscaped medians, better signage, and more bike lanes, among other things. You can get a copy of the plan as well as more info here and here.

Views: 22

Comment by brendisimo on May 6, 2008 at 5:08pm
right, by re-designing the street for more than just cars, cars might have to drive a bit slower. But as for lowering driving speed limits directly, no.
Comment by imouse1 on May 6, 2008 at 9:57pm
NO MORE CONSTRUCTION that's what I think. Wait, let me say it again in case you didn't hear me. N O M O R E C O N S T R U C T I O N ! ! ! ! I am so sick of this "improvement" of Albuquerque. The improvement was so great most of the city was still under construction for the grand 300th birthday or whatever we had. And it's so great we're known as the orange cone capital of the U.S. Remember all the crap with Coors and I-25? Truckers wholly avoided us. And they're still going up and down the line! Not that any of it is cocentric or in any way connective--more of a "just stop here and start going" kind of mentality. We're so used to paying for construction in this town that even though most projects go over the deadlines we still pay them the early completion bonus. I have to say NO NO NO NO NO MORE! I'm so sick of not being able to drive anywhere because people in this town see a cone and their hackles rise, blood pressure sky rockets and start doing dumber things than usual (not that most people in this town even bother with insurance). And these so-called "beautiful landscapes" suck. I'm still not sure wtf that median off of 98th south of Central is supposed to become but I'm pretty sure the zig-zag pattern says I'm gonna hate it when it's completed. Why don't we spend less on the roads and more on things that matter--like improving public transportation?
Comment by imouse1 on May 6, 2008 at 10:00pm
Just as a side note: Why can't we finish the projects we have in place before we start anything else? That's another pet peeve of mine in relation to construction: we could have four different projects on the same road (any of you work off of Edith and Candelaria?) and it take forever before they meet and become one...if they ever meet. Or that crap on Indian School east of Louisiana where--every six months like clockwork--it's under some sort of emergency construction for another crappy job rewarded by our tax payers. WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END?!?!?!?!?!
Comment by Tricross on May 7, 2008 at 7:37am
I think the concept is good as is the intention, but it just seems like another opportunity to hide wasteful spending and more corruption a la court house scandal. I would like to see the project broken into small bits that are communtiy based and let communities build their own identity.
Comment by brendisimo on May 7, 2008 at 8:49am
I agree with JoeH, a beautiful and WALKABLE city helps to create civic pride. Have any of you walked around this city before? Some of the sidewalks are so narrow that its impossible for a wheelchair or someone with a stroller to maneuver through. Or maybe your neighborhood doesn't even have sidewalks! Wouldn't you like to see a few more benches? Wouldn't a bit of shade make it easier to walk to the corner store or bus stop? This plan is about making it nicer for all kinds of transportation, not just cars, sorry Ashley. Personally, I think this is exactly what our tax dollars should be used for. We all pay taxes so why should non-car drivers always foot the bill for new roads and freeway extensions? Albuquerque, in my view, has a great record of spending money to make our city more livable (biopark, museums, parks and trails), why not spend a little to improve our streets?
Comment by shotsie on May 7, 2008 at 11:22am
ne of my pet peeves is the size and design of the traffic medians that extend the entire street length and suck up a good chunk of the street while providing, essentially, nothing in return. Two of my least favorite stretches are the Academy median, from San Mateo to Layton, and the Menaul median, east of Wyoming. These sections of road have narrow, right on the road, sidewalks that aren't walkable, unless you enjoy cars coming right at you, a couple of feet away, doing 50 mph or so, and, of course, there are no bike lanes to speak of. But the medians themselves are 1 - 2 car lanes wide - why doesn't the city transportation dept pave these medians, and then add bike lanes to the right side of the car lanes, which will also buffer the sidewalks? Parts of the Menaul median were "beautified" with landscaping, but you still can't walk or bike that road to enjoy it. I just don't get it...
Comment by Masshole in Fringecrest on May 7, 2008 at 12:47pm
A co-worker who represents a, ahem, "local major business organization" on EPC issues told me that this meeting has been cancelled... Smokescreen??? Anyone else heard anything?

Also, I don't know where the idea that Central from Penn to Louie is next, the document I read said that Central from Girard to San Mat is 1st, and that North 4th Street (pretty vague) is next. Didn't Martin "hunkalicious" Heinrich already foster major improvements in the Nob Hill area that we have seen?
Comment by Chris on May 7, 2008 at 1:53pm
I just checked with City Planning and the Great Streets presentation to the EPC is still on the docket for tomorrow at 3:30.
Comment by Masshole in Fringecrest on May 7, 2008 at 4:17pm
Yeah, her mistake- the meeting is on as planned. I also found my source for them starting with Central from Girard to San Mat, and "North 4th" vague reference: Page 23 of the "Staff Report" of the EPC's May 8 Agenda shows as a line item-- "12. The Plan recommends construction of two ‘Great Streets’ segments as demonstration projects that will help define the cost of construction and coordination among various agencies. Central Avenue from Girard to San Mateo and a segment of North 4th Street are recommended for a prototype design. Some funding is already available for these streets."

So there you have it. Tomorrow should be interesting as I happen to know there are a lot of "business-types" that don't like the fact that the Great Streets initiative trumps all existing Sector Plans as part of its M.O...

I assume they think that Sector Plans have been developed for a reason and additional bureaucratic initiatives that supercede the already well-thought out and approved plans only muddy the improvement efforts... i dunno.
Comment by Benny the Icepick on May 7, 2008 at 6:53pm
I have to admit that I'm rather disappointed with some of the myopic comments I see posted here, and I feel compelled to offer a rebuttal.

DougR (post 6) and others: How much will this cost?
How much will it cost NOT to do this? We're talking about appropriations that are critical to the long-term sustainability and vitality of this city. The effects of dollars spent today will be felt decades into the future. If we neglect the human aspects of a city, we set ourselves up to create pockets of the city with low property values and high crime rates. Any money not spent on these projects will be spent expanding the city's dependence on cars, exacerbating the problem to an exponential degree.

Ashley MacKenzie (post 9): No more construction!
I have to admit, your post was really difficult to follow. If you're concerned about the amount of construction going on, you should be concerned with the amount of cars causing wear and tear on these facilities. By creating livable, walkable communities through street beautification, we are granting people the opportunity to get out of their cars thus reducing the load on streets and concurrently the amount of road maintenance and new construction.

Tricross (post 13): Opportunity for scandal
The same can be said for any government project, but that does not detract from the need for such a project. I really like the idea of granting some degree of control over local residents to preserve (or create) a local flavor, though; I think that could go a long way in generating buy-in from the community and providing an additional level of oversight.

Cielo (post 16): No one uses the streets except for criminals
This post, more than any, inspired me to respond. It was filled with such short-sightedness and obsession with what is, and not what could be. These factors are precisely the reasons why such a project is necessary. By creating streets that are attractive for all people to use, you increase public traffic, which decreases the likelihood for criminal activity. By beautifying a neighborhood, you invite in local businesses and higher valued homes. It's better crime prevention than a squad of beat cops ever could hope to offer.

Shotsie (post 20): Medians on Academy
This is not a rebuttal, but an explanation. Medians are an incredibly touchy and political issue. The folks living along Academy had shouting matches with the city's traffic engineers over what to do with the street. The restrictions of each (and the reluctance to reach a mutually beneficial compromise) anded up robbing the project of its potential. Medians are helpful for traffic calming, but I agree that they could be designed better. Oh, and a factoid for you: they have to be at least 12' wide so that the City Parks trucks can park on them to maintain them.

I hope these initial pilot projects prove to be a success, though I hope the city will realize that the long-term benefits of such a venture will not be felt for some time.

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