I had a ton of good intentions about writing regularly about the neighborhood I represent…  and then life got in the way.  By life, I mean my dissertation. By dissertation I mean book--I’m a graduate student in the creative writing department. I’ve spent the last few months in what I call my writing cave, but this week I submitted my manuscript to my committee.


I have a lot of catching up to do with THIS column…



Last year the University Heights Association approved the formation of a Neighborhood Safety Patrol, a program that works in conjunction with the police.  Neighbors, in pairs, walk or drive around the neighborhood and make note of anything suspicious or out of order.  Board member Marlene Brown is spearheading this initiative and we’re having a meeting on Tuesday April 17 at 7pm at Winnings for anyone interested, and those who have already signed up to participate.  This would be a great opportunity to get involved in the University Heights neighborhood, meet some neighbors, and if you sign up to patrol you’ll get some exercise too!



The end is in sight!  As I posted last week, come Sunday both Lead and Coal will be open, each one-way.  Word is by the end of June the project will be complete.  More info at LeadandCoal.com



The neighborhood association participates in the zoning process by providing a venue for developers (large commercial developers or homeowners making improvements to their properties) to meet with and respond to the concerns of the neighborhood when seeking a Zoning change or a Conditional Use request or a Variance.  The Neighborhood board’s position is considered by the Zoning Commission in rendering decisions. 


Sometimes we get word of a property owner’s intent only when an application is filed with the city, other times property owners start with the Neighborhood Association so that they can address any concerns before they file an application.  Some examples currently on the radar: 



There is a current exhibit at the UNM School of Architecture and Planning that details the history of this property


Currently the property owner is seeking a zone change to allow for development of the property because the previous zoning designation included the actual Gilchrist house. 


302 VASSAR:  property owner is seeking a conditional use permit to convert the garage into a one bedroom apartment.  In this case, the owner met with neighbors through a facilitated meeting, and then the board. 

CLEAN UP Scheduled for June 2. I'll post more on this later... but mark your calendar. Another great way to meet neighbors, get some exercise, and help clean up the neighborhood.

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Comment by Krista on April 8, 2012 at 9:23am

Congratulations on finishing your dissertation!!  Hope you hear back good things from your committee--which I'm sure you will.  I'm really sad that the project won't be done until June--it seems more logical to me to just open up Lead after it is completely finished and close Coal for a few days to finish it in it's entirety than having both half open, but what do I know?

Comment by Another Mike on April 8, 2012 at 3:58pm

I just saw a part of that exhibit this morning.

Comment by hettie on April 8, 2012 at 11:36pm

when we left our house just before 6 tonight, lead was still closed. when we got home around 9, lead was open. so the section west of yale is at least good to go.

I was definitely not fond of the noise, vibrations and mess (to say nothing of the ongoing process to ensure that the contractor and city clean up and repair our property) associated with the improvements, but I can say that the month or so when lead was finished in front of our house and still closed....well, that month has been really nice. as we turned into our driveway tonight, we watched a car and a really loud truck go flying by on lead. and I must admit, it made me sigh.

I should also add that I'm really pleased with how nice the streetscape looks and feels, especially as a pedestrian. it's a definite improvement to the neighborhood! it'll be interesting to see how people respond to slightly different lane configurations and I'm really hoping apd will run some speed checks in these first months. the limit is still 30, people.

sorry to hijack with lead/coal comments. :) and congrats on finishing your manuscript--that's a heck of an accomplishment!

Comment by JeSais on April 9, 2012 at 8:38am

Lead /  Coal comments is not hijacking....  the UHA board has requested a speed study be conducted once the project is complete.  

And I agree, as a pedestrian, those sidewalks are NICE, I wish all the sidewalks were nice and wide and smooth like those new ones. 

and thanks for the congrats! I still have to defend-- I'm confident I will successfully defend, I just hope I don't say something really stupid :-)  or worse, that when I read a section of my book aloud, in front of my sister, I will cry!

Comment by JeSais on April 9, 2012 at 8:40am

OH. @Krista:  they have to restripe the streets for one way traffic, and add the final layer of asphalt which is why they have to do it this way.   Also, I think the June end date would be for EVERYTHING to be complete, even little things (landscaping, benches, signage, etc)

Comment by Krista on April 9, 2012 at 5:11pm

JeSais, I'm so sorry for making this ranty--not my intent!  I seriously do not understand why they did not finish Lead before opening it.  This will make striping take that much longer.  Coal, I understand, they still have a lot to do to finish it (I like right on the corner of Coal).  I figured they would just finish Lead and have that open open before opening just one lane.  All in all though, I adore this project.  :)

Comment by hettie on April 9, 2012 at 10:36pm

I would love it if lead was closed for another couple of months! it's funny how much we were inured to the noise before the construction and how quickly we got used to the quiet once our section was finished (the construction was way worse than the traffic ever was because it wasn't predictable noise, but it was always insanely loud and intrusive). but we drove lead from san mateo to buena vista this evening and it seems completely done. do you mean that they haven't finished the bit under the highway? or are they doing more stuff on lead before june?

Comment by Krista on April 9, 2012 at 11:19pm

Hettie, this is how much of a bubble I live in--I haven't been past Univ. on Lead or Coal in a long time, so I have no idea what the I-25 area looks like.  I meant that they should have finished stripping it and installing the manholes before opening it so that it could just be open (bike lane and all!) without one lane being closed while they finish the street.  Then only Coal would be one lane.  Does that make sense?

Comment by JeSais on April 10, 2012 at 9:30am

I think it's the bit under the highway that's not done. And I'm no expert, heck I don't even attend the Lead Coal Task Force meetings (shudder) I just keep repeating my mantra:  It'll be nice when it's done, It'll be nice when it's done :-)

Comment by hettie on April 10, 2012 at 7:06pm

krista, I hadn't gone that far west either! but I had to get on I-25 today, so I went the whole length of lead and it's not finished west of about maple. they're doing the highway underpass, blah, blah. hopefully it'll be done sooner than june though.


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