Bus rapid transit discussion takes a turn…for the better

The Rio Grande Foundation had planned on hosting a debate on the Berry Administration’s bus rapid transit system for Central Avenue. Then, at the last second, Paul Silverman (my expected debate opponent and a supporter of the plan) backed out.

So, after spending many hours frantically calling the City, City Council, and a dozen or so other supporters of the plan, I went ahead with a community discussion of the event which wound up being attended by 80-100 folks last night at the UNM Law School. The room was rather evenly split between supporters and opponents and D’Val Westphal, author of the “Road Warrior” columns in the Albuquerque Journal and a member of that paper’s editorial board helped moderate the discussion.

Overall, as Dan McKay pointed out in an article following the debate, the discussion was both well-informed and spirited. In other words, I’m glad we did it. Having the additional time and opportunity for concerned citizens to weigh in made the event a big success regardless of the format.

It is clear that the City needs to engage directly with citizens to get more input and better illustrate what the proposal means for mobility along Central. The controlled “open-house” dog and pony shows aren’t enough. Transforming the most iconic and recognizable street in Albuquerque without a vote of City Council or informed buy-in from the citizenry is a huge mistake.

Channel 13 KRQE also covered the event here. Lastly, there is a grassroots organization that has sprung up in opposition to the BRT called Save RT 66 where you can take action by contacting policymakers. They can be reached by email as well at: info@savert66.org

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4 Replies to “Bus rapid transit discussion takes a turn…for the better”

  1. I remember a project called the sky taxi that consisted of small monorail pods. I wonder how cheap and useful that would be. It could travel over existing buildings with virtually little noise, small footprint of supporting towers. But the taxi union and Uber might lobby against it.

  2. If getting people on and off the buses is part of the reason this expensive plan is being proposed, then there is a simple way to speed up the loading and unloading of buses on the existing Central avenue corridor that hasn’t been discussed and would be a lot less expensive and intrusive than the currently planned Fast Albuquerque Rapid Transit (FART) system. I don’t see the geniuses behind the current plan making this type of recommendation as it is too cheap and simple where they make a lot more money building an albatross instead. If someone is willing to come up with a consulting fee, I will discuss it with them.
    I am going to send a letter to Rio Rancho advising them that they are probably going to be selected for a new business venture as the City of Albuquerque does not have rational thinking and business friendly folks at it’s helm from this and other issues such as minimum wage, zoning, permitting and a copy to the City of Albuquerque Council and Mayor’s office.

  3. What I find odd is the unshakable belief of urban planners that everyone wants to live in a European-style, walkable city neighborhood with public transportation — and the fact that so many politicians listen to these alien creatures.

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