I attended one of the ongoing public hearings on Albuquerques’s proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) system last night. And, while BRT would be an improvement over Mayor Marty’s ill-fated trolley/streetcar, the BRT plan is not ready for prime time.
For starters, the plan (information on which is available here) would reduce Central traffic by one lane each way in order to dedicate one lane of traffic in each direction to buses. In places, that means only one lane of traffic in each direction on Central. Simply put, that is not enough.
The other major issue is that motorists turning left onto Central will see their ability to do so severely limited except for at major intersections. In other words, you can turn left to Central at Carlisle, but not Cornell or on several other smaller roads. Additionally, left turns from Central on to these smaller streets or to simply get to a business on the opposite side of Central will be reduced significantly. Instead, motorists will be required to make a U-turn at a major intersection and then head back down Central to the business or side-street.
A Channel 13 KRQE story covers some of the concerns area business owners and residents have with the plan.
RGF has no problem with BRT as a concept (the current Rapid Ride system is a less costly variant of BRT), but it appears that the City is planning to spend $150 million for a system that will REDUCE mobility throughout the Central corridor. Seems like an unwise use of limited funds.
If you are concerned, please send a note to the Transit Department here. Mayor Berry is at least taking a slower, more collaborative approach to BRT. We can still modify or even convince the City to abandon BRT if it is not workable.