Albuquerque’s Bike Bridge to Wal-Mart Unveiled

Today saw the unveiling of Albuquerque’s $7 million stimulus-funded bike bridge over the Rio Grande. Being a West-Sider and something of a bike enthusiast myself (although I have been and remain a critic of the bridge), I decided to ride over to witness the ceremony.

Aside from the cost, one big problem with the bridge is that the trail to it ends in a Wal Mart parking lot:

Of course, if you are riding the trail along the river and get hungry, there is also a Chili’s: Considering that those two establishments are the most likely to gain from the trail, I wonder if they put up any money? I doubt it.

As I said, I rode my bike over, but as the photos below illustrate, plenty of folks drove to the illustrious occasion: Some of them blatantly disregarded “No Parking” signage:

Dignitaries in attendance included Rep. Heinrich who clearly did not ride his bike over, Mayor Berry, Councilors Dan Lewis, O’Malley, and Benton (he did ride his bike), and former Gov. and Stimulus “Czar” Toney Anaya. Most discussed the wonders of the new bridge and the quality of life aspects of it and how wonderful it is for the City. I don’t blame our Councilors for this as it is largely stimulus money that funded the project.

But, one thing did catch my eye and that was some of the run-down mobile homes at the bottom of the bridge like this one:

I have to say that I think that folks like those living in this trailer could have used the $7 million dollars more than the wealthy yuppies who will benefit in some small way from this expensive new bridge (you can get to the Bosque Trail from the Montaño Bridge Bike Trail already). Oh well, such are the economics of our federal government’s failed “stimulus” policies.

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12 Replies to “Albuquerque’s Bike Bridge to Wal-Mart Unveiled”

  1. “No parking” does not apply to them…no laws in this state apply to the clowns in government or our joke police forces

  2. @Vic That was a cheap shot.

    Though when it comes to roads in general mostly used by autos/trucks, socialism has carte blanc and is approved the RGF.

    1. Oh Andrew, get a clue. I’d support repealing the gas tax and other fees motorists pay to the government and instead going with straight user fees, thus eliminating the government’s involvement, but the government controls the roads and has no interest in letting go of that power.

  3. Paul, even your dirty Koch Oil funded Cato crony Randal O’Toole will tell you roads are there regardless of economic conditions!

  4. It’s kind of funny that “bike enthusiast” wouldn’t know that this path is connecting multiple paths on westside of the river to those on the east side.

    It is almost as if Gessing is dishonestly posting a photo to make a cheap and completely unsubstantiated political point…

    If you look at the Albuquerque Bike Path Map (http://www.cabq.gov/bike/bike-map), you will see where the path ends, it continues as a “Bicycle Route” up Coors. That’s why you see people riding their bikes up Coors so often, despite what Gessing alleges here.

    1. Richard, if you actually went to the trail, you’d find that for starters, the trail ends at the Wal Mart parking lot. In addition, there are other trails nearby, most of which are on surface roads. That’s not exactly the kind of “bike trail” most bike riders are looking for. Also, while there is a nearby trail that continues over Interstate, you must go through a few busy lights to get to it and (unless you have a trail map) you won’t be able to find it. So, Richard, before you accuse me of being a liar, perhaps you should do some actual research, not just a quick look at a bike trail map which has little relationship to reality (in fact, the new bridge is not on the map).

      1. I do ride bikes, Mr. Gessing, and I constantly see people riding on these trails that you claim are hard to find. Apparently real bikers are better at finding these easily-found bike paths than you are.

        Perhaps you should ride with some others who ride in this area and ride up and down Coors (many of us ride to get to the bosque and ride on the bike trail).

        The new bridge is NOT on the map, but perhaps you should ask Mayor RJ Berry or one of his staffers why not.

        I’m not sure why you would need a bike trail to navigate traffic lights (most of us bikers are used to these lights, as they occur in every city that I have ever lived in). Perhaps they are confusing to you, but I hope you go to one of our fine local bike stores and ask how to navigate these devious creations.

        A bike trail ending and a path on a surface road creating is what happens at the Wal-Mart (an extremely large anti-union business, something that the Rio Grande Foundation’s anti-worker, pro-corporation platform usually loves) but a number of other bike trails coming off of the business is the truth. Ask some local riders about it. We know about it.

        So maybe you should do some actual research. Please reply when you actually do instead of snarky remarks.

      2. Paul – As you know, I’m usually a fan of your work, even when we disagree. But I’ve got to say I think you overreached here with the “ends in the Wal-Mart parking lot” schtick.

        After reading your post, I rode it myself (OK, I was totally planning to ride it anyway).

        From the point where you took your first picture, the trail continues about 200 yards straight down the extra-wide sidewalk (which is a designated bike route), and with two easy-to-navigate lights to get through the Coors underpass at Ouray connects with the trail that goes west along I40 (which I’d never ridden before, and was great and very well used on a Sunday morning!). There were families with little kids riding that stretch along the Wal-Mart parking lot the day I was there who seemed to have had no problem finding the link or navigating the lights.

        Immediately to the right of the trail’s “end” – you can see it in your first picture – is a trail that wraps around to the southbound bike overpass over I40, connecting with the Atrisco neighborhood. No traffic lights or busy streets required.

        There’s more – the bike lanes on Ouray that go all the way to Unser, the route north to St. Pius up Alamogordo.

        In other words, the bridge connects east side cyclists to the whole west side bike route network, which is extensive, with a much safer and more direct route than the two ways we’ve had to do it previously – Montano or Central. It’s still worth talking about whether it was a good investment of $5 million or $7 million or whatever, but the discussion has to be based on its actual transportation utility, not misleading “bridge to Chili’s” schtick.

        P.S. I would agree that the signage is lousy, but that’s a much narrower question.

        P.P.S. I’m confused about the “not on the map” comments. The bridge, along with all the connections I describe, are on the web version of the map, and I’m pretty sure they were there when I looked the day the bridge opened as I used it to plan my weekend ride.

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