What's going on, Albuquerque?
I'm hoping the 4th St. project goes through. It's always been kind of weird and uncomfortable along there.
Nothing says pleasant pedestrian experience like enjoying a fresh pastry and coffee while seated only a few feet from a line of idling cars. The serpentine design of the proposed street guarantees that exhaust fumes will be directed to the sidewalk. Note that the Cleveland "model" does not include a traffic cut-through. Here's a thought; maybe the City should lease one of the vacant storefronts for a police sub-station. Same with ACVB. Or, what about congregating all the food trucks instead of having them block the few remaining downtown businesses? There's no question something needs to be done but this is another example of local needs been driven by Washington.
I think everyone would agree that 4th Street needs to be substantially improved but this seems like a really weird plan. A slow-moving, "meandering" one-way street that goes right by several of downtown's biggest party bars would seem to be almost useless to everyone except cruisers. And I agree that sitting 4 feet away from an idling car blasting its stereo doesn't sound like an ideal pedestrian environment to me.
The UNM planning and architecture departments devoted an entire semester a few years back to improving the 4th street mall. There were some good ideas that the city would be wise to take a closer look at.
So....everyone who has an opinion about the 4th street mall "re-do" would be well-advised to keep a lookout for the public design meeting they say they will schedule next month. I agree that opening it to one lane of car traffic is completely boneheaded. That will hardly contribute to more businesses opening there (where, exactly, WOULD those businesses open, anyway?) and would only lead to people trying to speed through a too-narrow street.
The ding-dongs at the Downtown Action Team (who I believe are responsible for mood-lighting and enclosing the railroad pedestrian underpass at Central) were champions of making all the one-way streets two-way downtown, saying it would lead to more business. It has done no such thing. Yes, something needs to be done about that 4th street homeless mall, but adding traffic isn't the answer. Here's hoping the UNM planning and architecture departments show up at the public meeting.
Based on the article, the only influence that DC is having in the remodel is providing the needed funds. It also doesn't say who the city got to plan the revitalization, but I'm willing to guess that they are not a local planning firm. Also, I think they could have chosen pretty much any other city in the US to model this after and it would have been a better pick than the Cleve--a city not known for pedestrian traffic and urban infill.
Yeah, the "empty storefronts" comments make no sense with respect to 4th Street. I can think of maybe one shuttered bar and possibly a restaurant space across the street, next to the pizza place. There are maybe what, 4 or 5 other retail spaces total along that corridor, and most of them are occupied. The rest of the pedestrian mall faces the blank walls of bigger buildings like the hotel and the phone company that open elsewhere. These blank spaces are a big part of why 4th Street is the way it is, but it's hard to see what can be done about them...
How about setting the space up for food truck usage instead? Put in the one way street, and maybe four to six spots for food trucks to park - it's close enough to city/county buildings for foot traffic to support these businesses. The city could charge some nominal rent for these spots, and limit the traffic to just service trucks.
Krista - You are correct that I don't know the specifics of the conditions, if any, of the Federal money. I do know that a lot of what the City spends money on is dictated by Federal programs which may or may not coincide with our needs, like special blue street signs. In this instance, how much of that $2M is the cost to rip out the "park" and build a street? Is what's left just a $500K project? Regarding Cleveland, take a look at East 4th Street. This is a questionable comparison at best. There, a private developer appears to have bought up a lot of the property and can exercise control. Businesses include House of Blues. I have been on pedestrian malls in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Santa Monica and none of them allowed automobile traffic.
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