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Route66PosterFI

Our Past Deserves A Future

Thought provoking words and images regarding Central Avenue/Route 66, shared by Michael L. Dickson.

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truthaboutart

Make ART Smart Replies to City’s Mythbusters

The CCG (Concerned Citizen’s Group) prepares a point by point response to the City’s “Mythbusters” document regarding the ART project.

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emaildiscovered

Email Reveals City Was Aware of Option NOT to Design ART with Double Dedicated Lanes

…a recently discovered email from their Planner, dated February 14, 2014 (before the plans were even 10% complete), clearly shows that they knew they had the option NOT to design the streets with double dedicated bus lanes.

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KOB4VOTE

Independent Poll conducted on ART Project

Over 400 registered voters were asked questions regarding the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project and 56% opposed the project, with another 15% undecided. The article goes on to say that 78% of respondents thought that the project should be put to a popular vote.

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A Vanishing Route 66

Celebrated photographer Robert Reck illuminates the simple beauty of Albuquerque’s endangered Route 66/Central Ave.

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ART Roadblock

The ABQ Free Press reports on the continued setbacks for the Mayor and leaders of the disputed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project.

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New research study targeting ART project: G. Rowangould Ph.D.

A new research study supports the conclusion that traffic congestion along Central Avenue will be significantly worse if ART is built.

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Albuquerque, don’t let ART steal our streets!
We believe that a Bus Rapid Transit System can and should be designed as a Complete Street, with the entire street, its businesses and its people as the most important considerations of its design. The ART design considers the needs of the buses first, instead of the needs of its people. Let’s flip that thinking – people first and buses last!
Let’s ask for – demand – what we want – and so desperately need – beautiful streets for everyone!
Make ART Smart!

Mission and Overview

Make ART Smart is an unfunded group of volunteer concerned citizens who are professional architects, planners, attorneys, and business/community leaders. Make ART Smart volunteers came together on the behalf of all citizens and stakeholders who care about and are effected by the impact of this huge project on Route 66/Central Ave. Our mission is to make sure the design of Albuquerque’s proposed bus rapid transit system is aligned with preserving the charm and vibrancy of the most important historic segments remaining along Albuquerque’s Route 66 – Nob Hill, UNM, EDO and Downtown. Make ART Smart is dedicated to informing the taxpayer public and providing useful and detailed information about ART. We support a well-designed bus rapid transit system IF it supports and enhances the character and functionality of our most valuable, historically sensitive areas.

Project Plan

What is ART?

ART’s website features this opening statement prominently:

 

“Connecting people, creating place and driving opportunity.”

Albuquerque Rapid Transit is a bus rapid transit system that will run for an 11 mile length of Central Ave. /Route 66 from Tramway N.E. to 98th N.W. ART will run simultaneously with the existing Route 66 buses. To better understand Mayor Berry’s vision for ART, we have summarized its stated goals from the CABQ website:

 

CABQ VISION for ART IS:

  • Reduction of traffic congestion
  • Increased pedestrianism, improved walkability
  • Increased bus ridership
  • Enhanced economic development
  • Beautified streets

 

KEY ELEMENTS OF ART ARE:

  • Bus dedicated, single and bi-directional, center lanes from Louisiana west to Coors
  • All other traffic reduced to one lane in each direction in certain segments of Central
  • Frequent service (every 7.5 minutes)
  • Prioritized signaling at intersections
  • Pre-boarding ticketing
  • Calming or slowing down vehicle speeds
  • Faster, more reliable public transportation

Assessment of ART Project Plan

Make ART Smart Believes that ART’s Vision is Disconnected From Its Design
Make ART Smart/Concerned Citizens’ planners and architects initiated a study of the publically available ART plans when they were first made available in November of 2015. Make ART Smart’s extensive analysis of the ART plan has identified that: “ART’s dedicated center bus lanes design cannot be adequately accommodated in the historically sensitive sections of Nob Hill, University, EDO and Downtown along Central Ave without sacrificing other, important and needed street improvements. The existing street widths (Right of Way) of Central Ave. in these areas are simply too narrow to utilize this “one size fits all” approach to the entire Central Ave. corridor. THE CITY MUST SEEK ADDITIONAL CITIZEN AND STAKEHOLDER INPUT. ART MUST BE REDESIGNED IN ORDER FOR IT TO NOT DO HARM TO THESE SECTIONS OF CENTRAL AVE. AND TO ACHIEVE ITS STATED VISION.”
ART DOES NOT:

 

  • Widen sidewalks to enhance walkability
  • Create public spaces for people to congregate
  • Significantly improve the landscape except around stations
  • Significantly improve or increase bicycle lanes
  • Reduce congestion
The following computer renderings pertain to ART in Nob Hill, EDO and UNM. They were part of public presentations through October of 2014: (Note that ALL renderings include station stops.)

What will ART make Central Avenue really look like?

By working directly from the ART Project plans dated January 2016, Make Art Smart’s architects have created renderings of what certain sections in historic sections of Central will really look like:
Drag the slider below each sketch to see the difference between the existing condition and what it will look like once the ART project is complete.
EDO Section

Drag the slider to the right to see the Existing Condition. Drag to the left to see the ART Plan.

CURRENT CONDITION: RAPID RIDE AND RT 66 BUSES PRESENTLY STOP IN FRONT OF THE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS LIBRARY.  

ART PROJECT PLAN: ALL EXISTING TREES WILL BE REMOVED. THERE IS NO PROVISION FOR WIDER SIDEWALKS OR STREETSCAPE ELEMENTS. SINGLE EAST AND WESTBOUND LANES WILL ACCOMMODATE RT 66 BUSES AND ALL OTHER VEHICLES. DIESEL BUSES ARE INDICATED.

UNM Section

Drag the slider to the right to see the Existing Condition. Drag to the left to see the ART Plan.

CURRENT CONDITION: SPARSELY LANDSCAPED. ONLY MEDIAN PROVIDES TREES. 

ART PROJECT PLAN: NO LANDSCAPE OR STREET IMPROVEMENTS INDICATED.

Nob Hill Section

Drag the slider to the right to see the Existing Condition. Drag to the left to see the ART Plan.

ART PROJECT PLAN: ACCORDING TO CABQ PLAN DRAWINGS – ALL MEDIAN TREES ARE REMOVED IN THIS LOCATION WITH NO LANDSCAPE SUBSTITIONS SHOWN. (THIS IS PREDOMINANT THROUGHOUT MOST OF NOB HILL). NO BIKE LANES ARE SHOWN. SIDEWALKS ARE NOT WIDENED EXCEPT FOR A FEW BLOCKS WEST OF SAN MATEO. NO SPACE FOR EMERGENCY RESPONDERS IS PROVIDED. INCREASED CAPACITY FOR WATER DRAINAGE/RUN OFF IS NOT SHOWN. DIESEL BUSES ARE INDICATED.

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Analysis of ART Plan Impact by Key Components

Our architects’ study of the ART plan reveals significant changes to the streetscape many ways.

Parking Spaces Eliminated

Trees Cut Down

Additional Traffic Signals

Left Turns Lost

Let’s take a look these and other components illustrated in the details of the study.
RIGHT OF WAY: Existing right of way width changes along Central Avenue.
REVERSIBLE LANES: Areas where the ART buses will be restricted to a single lane for both eastbound and westbound service. This presents scheduling problems with potential delays if a westbound bus would have to wait for the eastboud bus to pass before proceeding, and vice versa.
PARKING SPACES: 194 parking spaces would be lost as a consequence of ART.
TREES: Approximately 217 existing mature trees would be cut down to accomodate ART.
INTERMITTENT BIKE LANES: This shows where bike lanes would be interrupted due to the restricted right-of-way along Central Avenue as a consequence of ART.
TRAFFIC SIGNALS: From the ART Project plan drawings, 10 new traffic signals would be added to the 32 signals that currently exist on Central Avenue for a total of 42 signals on the 9-mile total Project length.
LEFT TURNS: Approximately 241 left turns would be lost, which would severely restrict business accessibility on Central Avenue. This number includes left turns for westbound and eastbound traffic.
RECOMMENDED DESIGN CONFIGURATION: From Lomas to San Mateo, use same ART Rapid Transit buses, sidewalk access, retains all medians, keeps most of parking, expands pedestrian area. Money saved can extend ART to Unser and Tramway within present budget.

Findings and Assessment

Based on our analysis, Make ART Smart does not believe that ART will contribute meaningful pedestrian, bicycle, and street improvements to the Nob Hill, UNM, EDO and Downtown segments of Route 66/Central Ave.
ART’s design will increase congestion and decrease pedestrian safety in many segments. In fact, Make ART Smart believes that most of Central will look much the same – except for less landscape and more buses.
ABQ Bus
ABQ Bus

In order for meaningful change to occur,

ART Plans MUST be amended

before construction begins.

ART COULD AND SHOULD BE A CATALYST FOR A BETTER, MORE VIBRANT ROUTE 66/CENTRAL AVE!

What does the historic corridor need in order to thrive/survive?
Bike Lane Rendering
2004 ABQ Master Plan Rendering
Here’s what is missing from the ART plan:
  • Wider sidewalks for more pedestrians and street dining
  • Safe lanes for cyclists
  • More lighting
  • Beautiful landscape
  • Human scale buildings
  • Spaces for small businesses
  • Adequate parking for businesses
ART mentions these items often, but the facts show that the VISION is disconnected from its Plan:
FROM CABQ ART FAQ: “ART will also upgrade the look and feel of Central Ave by adding to the walkability and livability of neighborhoods. Plans include widening sidewalks and adding trees to encourage pedestrian and bike-friendly development.” “Widening sidewalks, removing sidewalk ADA deficiencies, adding sidewalk landscaping, and improving pedestrian lighting create a walkable environment. This type of environment attracts people and businesses. Many areas along Central Avenue want slower traffic. This increases the safety of pedestrian and bicycle users and makes businesses more “visible”. “In addition to access to job opportunities, transit stations, by providing anchors for a community, can help offer place-making; that is, neighborhoods that are considered pedestrian-friendly, encouraging people to walk or bike between businesses, offices, homes and other destinations. This in turn enhances the overall quality of life in the community.”
Based on our analysis, ART does NOT widen sidewalks except in just a few areas of low pedestrian significance. Bicycle lanes are not contiguous and inconsistent.
Construction road
Bulldozer
Exclamation Point
The ART Plan design must reflect the promises listed above. If we are to tear up Route 66/Central for years, disrupt its businesses and neighborhoods, then ART must provide meaningful change. It must fulfill our community’s need to preserve its history while building a more modern infrastructure along its route. ART should and could be the catalyst of progress – for all!

What do YOU want from ART?

What Did the Image of ART Make YOU Think Of?

ABQ Empty Street

THIS?

Shopping on Sidewalk

OR THIS?

ABQ 2015 ART Plan Rendering

THIS?

2004 ABQ Master Plan Rendering

OR THIS?

A Smart Solution

Make ART Smart sketches of what the various sections COULD look like:
EDO Section
CONCERNED CITIZEN’S PROPOSAL SHOWS THE SAME INTERSECTION WITH LANDSCAPE AND TREES DEFINING THE CHARACTER AND PEDESTRIAN NATURE OF THE DISTRICT. EXISTING STORM INLETS MAY NOT HANDLE INCREASED RUN OFF OF ART DESIGN. ELECTRIC BUSES ARE INDICATED.
UNM Section
NEW ROW OF TREES TO PROTECT AND SHADE SIDEWALKS WILL FORM A CONTINOUS LANDSCAPED EDGE OF UNM’S CENTRAL CAMPUS FROM UNIVERSITY TO GIRARD BLVD. NO PROPERTY WILL BE TAKEN FROM HISTORIC AND BEAUTIFUL “TIGHT GROVE” AREA LOCATED AT SW CORNER OF THE CAMPUS.
Nob Hill Section

CONCERNED CITIZEN’S PROPOSED DESIGN FOR NOB HILL SHOWS WATER RUN OFF VOLUME AND VELOCITY REDUCED. BIKE LANES CAN BE USED BY VEHICLES IN SINGE LANE TO ALLOW EMERGENCY RESPONDERS TO PASS. LANDSCAPE DEFINES THE SHOPPING AND PEDESTRIAN CHARACTER OF THE DISTRICT. ELECTRIC BUSES ARE INDICATED.

Tramway Section
Albuquerque, don’t let ART steal our streets!
We believe that a Bus Rapid Transit System can and should be designed as a Complete Street, with the entire street, its businesses and its people as the most important considerations of its design. The ART design considers the needs of the buses first, instead of the needs of its people. Let’s flip that thinking – people first and buses last! Neighborhood and business associations and thousands of individuals have been begging the City for years for improvements that promote walkability in Nob Hill, UNM, EDO and Downtown. The City has spent many thousands of dollars on studies by experts such as Moule, Polyzoides Architects, Jeff Speck and Robert Gibbs. Let’s incorporate more of their ideas into ART – instead of working from the bus center lane out, let’s work from the sidewalk in! Let’s make sure we get the most from what we, the taxpayers are going to pay for. Let’s make sure that the sacrifice that many small businesses will be forced to make is worth the price. These historic segments of Route 66/Central Ave. could be greatly enhanced OR choked by buses. They could become desirable, wonderful places that people and businesses would be attracted to OR barren, bus dominated wastelands too difficult and not worth the trouble to access. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that ART contributes to enrichment of these historic areas.
Let’s ask for – demand – what we want – and so desperately need – beautiful streets for everyone!
Sidewalk Cafe Dining

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