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Month: May 2016 (page 1 of 3)

ALBUQUERQUE BRT/ART PROJECT – TOO BIG NOT TO FAIL

There has been a lot said about building bridges, not walls. Even Richard J. Berry, Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has invoked the idea in regards to his pet project, the Albuquerque BRT/ART Project, that would destroy and terminate the existence of Central Avenue, and of the associated historic Route 66 segment that runs through Albuquerque, on its path along Central.

History, and historic protection, and preservation, are obviously not Berry’s strong points. He obviously probably never studied history; and if he did, he didn’t like it.

A Bit of History:
The above featured image is of a very large and very expensive bridge built with federal funds near Tacoma, in the State of Washington. The original structure, poorly designed, became known as ‘Galloping Gertie’.

Designing bridges for fun.

Galloping Gertie became famous because of the famous and well-known windstorms that frequented the Tacoma narrows. Every time the winds would blow, the roadway would bow, and dip, and even rise. It was a harrowing experience for drivers, much worse for buses and trucks.

The engineers that built it could not fix it, but said instead, not to worry, “it may be a nuisance, but the bridge was not designed to ever fail.”

But “fail” it did. It collapsed one day in an early November, taking out the bridge, and traffic, and all. It is, of course, a cautionary tale.

brt – BUS RAPID TRANSIT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is an innovative, high capacity, lower cost public transit solution that can significantly improve urban mobility.  This permanent, integrated system, uses buses or specialized vehicles, on roadways or dedicated lanes to quickly and efficiently transport passengers to their destinations, while offering the flexibility to meet transit demand. BRT systems can easily be customized to community needs and incorporate state-of-the-art, low-cost technologies that result in more passengers and less congestion.

the berry brt (‘BB’) project

Mayor Berry’s BRT Project is different. It’s like a five year old owning a ‘BB gun‘ without any parental oversight or supervision. 

Instead of designing a roadway (corridor, mixed traffic lane) BRT system with BRT Stations along the side, near sidewalks, Berry conceived of a plan that would have center-of-street, dangerous, elevated platforms, with BRT buses that would travel to and fro on dedicated (bus only) reinforced concrete guideways.

Why?, would be a reasonable question.

The answer appears to be painfully simple. Richard J. Berry is (or was) a construction contractor. All, or most of, his friends are in the construction and contractor business – they build things – they don’t like old things, don’t relate to “historical preservation.” The faster that you can “knock it down” and “build new” and the more often you do that, the greater the money, the bigger the profits.

But why all the steel rebar, and all the cement?

The key to following any proposed project is to “follow the money.” In this case it is worth asking who makes cement (concrete), and who benefits from the sale of steel (rebar). The cement people are GCC, a mega-company owned and operated out of Mexico, with a major plant in Tijeras (New Mexico).

Cement BRT Guideway

Cement BRT Guideway

Real BRT in Albuquerque doesn’t need all that cement for the dedicated guideways, nor for the 20 plus planned elevated platforms. But cement does need rebar (reinforcing bar). And that’s where the steel people cut in, (steel, steal – it’s fun, it’s a pun). It looks like it is Harris or CMC, or maybe both, that are slated to benefit. The fact that Route 66 was about black asphalt, not dyed and colored cement, is irrelevant (they feel), it’s about “new,” not nostalgic, not history, and certainly not about preservation.

the not so great albuquerque wall

Make no mistake, the cement barrier version of BRT for Central is a wall, not a bridge. But the Galloping Gertie cautionary tale is still relevant. Some projects are just so big that they are destined for disaster. People get hurt in disasters, lose their businesses, lose their livelihoods, lose their homes. Often the contagion spreads as the economic fallout “falls out.” People leave town, or flee town, new people fail to move in, soon the entire area business cycle falters and fails; it’s basic, it’s Economics 101.

Other pages on this website get more into the specifics. All posts point out that the ABQ BRT/ART Project is too big, too complicated, apparently too corrupt, that it can’t help but fail.

Berry's Technicolor glasses.

Berry’s Technicolor glasses.

So, we know the end game – it’s a BRT guideway “road to ruin.” It’s a guideway without guidance. The only real issue is how many people and businesses and residents and residences will be hurt and wiped out before there is an end to the madness.

Serve, Preserve, Protect – maybe it’s an oath of office, or maybe the ART Project is a police matter now.

TRASH WALLOW TUESDAY

The perils of the Team Berry BRT/ART Project never cease to amaze.

Yesterday an observant and diligent business owner on West Central, just beyond Yucca, sent me the following photograph taken with her Smart Phone which these days it seems just about everybody has.

Albuquerque's Solid Waste Department cannot get a solid footing on the BRT Central.

Albuquerque’s Solid Waste Department cannot get a solid footing on the BRT Central.

For almost exactly two weeks a portion of West Central Avenue in Albuquerque has been almost completely blocked off. The City (cabq) insists that they have kept the north side of Central open, or at least “open for business,” meaning that traffic can flow freely into and out of every local business and residential location.

In fact, they (the cabq) have used the “business openings” excuse to destroy several thousands of feet of beautiful and landscaped Central Avenue medians just to create the often dusty and dirty (unpaved) passage holes in the center of Central.

Mayor Berry talks trash.

Mayor Berry talks trash.

“They lied,” perhaps is a very strong statement. But when the City of Albuquerque’s own trash trucks can’t even get through the barricades, the cones, the confusing traffic patterns and signs, and the “openings” to pick up the trash, then one can decide for themselves if the City lied.

One picture is worth 1,000 words.

The scene above is at a Route 66 motel, often used too, as apartments.

The idea of trash is to “take out the trash” when the trash can (or trash bag) gets full. People actually do this; they put trash into a dumpster – you know the drill.

The theory is that once a week the dumpster gets collected or emptied and/or the trash moves away before it gets smelly, attracts rats and rodents, makes things smell ugly and look even uglier.

Not in Albuquerque, not now, not on West Central.

A lot has been said about Mayor Berry’s “trash talk” about making Central Avenue more beautiful by bringing in his BRT/ART Project. The words “I don’t think so” really do come to mind. The bottom line is that if one can’t even take the trash out, there is really no credibility, there is nothing to talk about, it’s just a trash wallow.

The first half of Segment 1 of the ART Project is fully in play. It involves a little over ½ mile of Central Avenue with a full 8½ miles still left that have not been “put into play.” Team Berry seems to like the Breaking Bad image of Albuquerque so much, he likes to “play.” Or maybe it’s the other movie about Albuquerque, Sunshine Cleaning.

However, his vision doesn’t offer much of a vision for the near future of ALL of Central, or for a real Route 66.

 

 

THE DESERT SANDS SILVER MOON HAS SET

Route 66 is so complex, yet so simple.

The reason they call it “America’s Road” or the “Mother Road” is because it is often so much about America and about that which gives birth to so many things.

America lost one of its children yesterday, a simple thing, an old and dilapidated Route 66 motel. It burned, reminding us all that fire is often so final.

The motel was built in 1953 it is said, by Ramada, in the early days of Ramada Inns before they were “Inns,” but were mostly just motels. The chain started in Phoenix they say, but the real idea was to connect it all to Mount Vernon, near Washington D.C., the place where Washington slept (but probably never really did sleep in the City of Washington).

Allentown, PA cares about historic streets.

Allentown, PA cares about historic streets despite economic reversals.

If you were ever in the east in the 1950’s you would know that the greatest lure for any roadside Inn was to state the claim that, “Washington slept here.” It became a joke, but in most cases the claim was probably true – Washington was a General, fought a very long and bloody war, and slept in many nice places while his loyal troops slept out on the ground. If the foregoing disturbs you, remember it’s fact.

My favorite place where “Washington slept” was in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I ate there once, but never slept there; evidently Washington did not sleep there either, despite the earlier claims. Allentown went on to become famous for other things, like the mills closing down, jobs gone because of bad trade deals and recession. Sounds a bit like challenges Albuquerque faces now.

Del Webb at first worked with Ramada, then he founded Highway House (later the June 1959 Hiway House) (Also See: PDF page #48). Apparently the 1953 “Desert Sands” motel location was built by Ramada, the (probably 1956) “Silver Moon” motel in Albuquerque was built by Del Webb. The Silver Moon was originally a Highway House as this vintage postcard clearly attests.

Early HiwayHouse Route 66 sign.

Early HiwayHouse in Albuquerque Route 66 sign.

About 1960 Del Webb was busy building essentially the same building almost everywhere. We have one in Albuquerque, like the one in Fresno, like the one that was once on Market Street in San Francisco, with other versions of the same building elsewhere. It made sense for Del E. Webb to build the Del Webb tower next to his Del Webb Desert Sands Motel in his effort to create an “Uptown” on Central Avenue before there was an “Uptown” near the later freeway location.

Clyde and Goldie Tyler entered the scene about 1961, purchasing both of the two Albuquerque Route 66 “look alike” motels. They renamed the east Central Motel the “Sands” because of the fame of the Del Webb built original “Sands” in Las Vegas (Nevada). The Desert Inn was also not unlike the original “Desert Inn” in Las Vegas, Nevada; neither location in Albuquerque, however, had the gambling, bars, or entertainment.

The original, and historic, Silver Moon Motel was purchased and torn down to make way for a very high density, and very subsidized (by Team Berry’s cabq), modern tenement for automobile eschewing (mostly) young people. The Silver Moon Lodge has virtually no parking, and has made parking near local businesses often very difficult.

Now, on east Central the last of the “Washington slept here” Route 66 relics is all but gone. The cupolas that mimicked the old Mount Vernon plantation (or lodge) are soon to be gone forever, all because of Team Berry’s BRT bus; but you always know, to quote Paul Harvey, “That’s the rest of the story.”

The cupola on motels was supposed to remind one of Mount Vernon.

The cupola on 1950’s motels was supposed to remind one of Mount Vernon.

 

 

 

¡En español!

This website, busbasics.org, is now bilingual.

The second language is, of course, Spanish. This site is from Albuquerque, and about Albuquerque, which is of course in New Mexico.

Two languages, one state.

Two languages, one state.

So, look in the lower right corner of every screen, on every post, and feel free to jump from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English.

We listen, we see, we are here.

We listen, we see, we are here.

Hey, or Hola, you might learn a few new words or phrases – a better vocabulary is always good for all.

Enjoy. Disfrutar.

WEST CENTRAL “ART WATER” PROJECT

NW Central Avenue – Albuquerque – BRT / ART Project Segment 1 – A

Note: The Team Berry Albuquerque BRT / ART Project is riddled with inconsistencies.

The following information is for Segment 1-A of the BRT/ART Project from east to west (going up hill) on the NORTH side of Central (Central Avenue NW) beginning at Yucca Drive and ending at Coors Boulevard in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Segment 1-A deconstruction of Central Avenue starts at Yucca, however the signs, flags, cones and barricades start at 46th Street and continue to Airport Drive (west of Coors) – BUSINESS ACCESS is restricted beginning at 53rd Street.

traffic-light-signal-vector-icon_172767938 INTERSECTION — Yucca Drive & Central Avenue Fire Hydrant

57th Street Fire Hydrant Replacement street water line

58th Street Fire Hydrant

  • 5801  New building
  • 5809  Kim’s Chop Shop (barber)
    Replacement water connection
  • 5903 ‘A’ – Rokis Laundromat (Street view)
    Replacement water connection on east side
  • 5903 ‘B’ – Iglesia de Christiana Pentecostal (Street view)
  • 5921  Zumba / Zandra’s Dancing Fitness (Street View) (Video)
    Replacement water connection

Estancia

60th Street  Replacement street water line

63rd Street

Fire Hydrant

64th Street

65th Street

  • La Michoacana de Paquine (Closed after April 2015)
  • West Sides Auto Sales (Closed after April 2015)
  • Performance Auto Sales (Closed after April 2015)
  • Proposed COORS BRT/ART center-of-street ‘tent top’ single entry Platform

traffic-light-signal-vector-icon_172767938 INTERSECTION — Coors Boulevard & Central AvenueFire Hydrant

ROUTE 66 ALBUQUERQUE DESERT SANDS MOTEL BURNS

Note: Journalism in Albuquerque, and possibly America, is now substantially dead. The simple fact is that very few people actually read newspapers anymore for actual news stories. The Albuquerque Journal devoted just 415 words to one of the most important BRT / ART Project stories of the year without even mentioning the very obvious BRT/ART Project connection.

The incredible coincidence is that the Desert Sands Motel is located exactly opposite where all the entry and exit lanes have been substantially blocked by ART Project cones, signs, and barricades for two very long weeks – and as a result very long, often unbroken, lines of chaotic merging traffic has  impacted potential motel revenue. A seven car accident occurred later this same day not 150 feet beyond where the motel fire occurred.

The key sentences are stated below:

AFD Spokesperson Melissa Romero.

AFD Spokesperson Melissa Romero.

“Firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire but don’t yet know what sparked it, according to Melissa Romero (of the Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD)). Some residents reported hearing an explosion, but Romero said she wasn’t aware of any explosions that may have occurred.”

It is so very sad.

May 25, 2016 – Albuquerque, New Mexico – Desert Sands Motel

John Hayden was asleep in his Southeast Albuquerque motel room when he heard frantic yelling around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

“I heard screaming: ‘Fire, fire, fire, get out!’ ” he said in an interview Tuesday. “I could see the bathroom light flickering. I threw a few things in my suitcase and just ran out the door.”

Once he got outside, he saw a large section of the seedy but iconic Desert Sands Motel was in flames.

Night fires are not forgettable things.

Night fires are not forgettable things.

“One door down the fire was blazing like a son of a gun. And I could feel the heat tremendously,” he said.

It took more than 60 firefighters hours to knock down the flames, which gutted the west upper level section of the motel and made the rest of it uninhabitable. Twenty-two fire trucks and vehicles responded.

Hayden was one of 57 residents – some of whom have been staying there months – displaced by the fire. Two people were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, Albuquerque Fire Department spokeswoman Melissa Romero said.

BRT / ART PROJECT – BASIC DESCRIPTION

BRT / ART Project BASIC DESCRIPTION

Introduction:
The Albuquerque BRT / ART Project emerged (mostly secretly) about four (4) years ago. It was a plan by the Mayor of Albuquerque (New Mexico) designed to obtain federal money for a $100 to $200 million “public works” construction project. The primary beneficiaries would be surveyors, designers, and builders (construction companies) that would receive the bulk of the funds in very large private enterprise profits.

The charge has also been made that the timing of the project is based on a desire of Mayor Richard J. Berry to be the next Governor of New Mexico, in an election scheduled for 2018, which would synchronize with the completion of the BRT / ART Project in 2018.

Project Overview:
The BRT / ART Project is the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in the State of New Mexico. The term “ART” is a “branded” acronym for Albuquerque Rapid Transit. The plan is to purchase 18 articulated buses that would run every 7.5 to 15 minutes up and down a 13.5 mile existing Central Avenue corridor, or pretty much near it.

15 buses are to be in daily operation with 3 buses in repair or reserve.

Of the 13.5 miles, approximately 9 miles would involve a dedicated, restricted lane, bus guideway. 4.5 miles of the project, at either end, does not have any planned stations or bus loading or unloading platforms.

The 9 mile bus guideway sections would have 12 irregularly covered bus platforms and 3 uncovered platforms which the BRT / ART Project promoters have misleadingly called “Stations.”

Another 5 “bus loading platforms” are proposed to be located in downtown Albuquerque in areas not on Central Avenue. The proposal is for two platforms on Copper Avenue, two platforms on Gold Avenue, one platform on SW 1st Street.

BRT / ART buses need a platform that is 16 inches in height above the adjacent street to allow passengers to get on and get off the BRT buses. The platforms need ADA compliant ramps to reach the top of the platforms.

BRT / ART Buses:
To put it simply, the BRT / ART buses replace the existing Albuquerque Rapid Ride buses. Rapid Ride uses 60′ long articulated (two-part) buses very much like the new buses that Team Berry wants to buy. The difference is that the new buses may be 64′ feet in length, maybe they won’t all be covered in ugly advertising, and probably they will be “clean diesel” instead of the “dirty diesel” buses that the City bought last time.

The existing Rapid Ride buses can stop anywhere to pick up and drop off passengers, wheelchair passengers, and bicycle users. The BRT / ART buses need special platforms 16″ high at each and every stop, making the use of the existing Rapid Ride stops and bus shelters impossible.

There probably will be security cameras located throughout the new buses and it will be very difficult to secure wheelchairs to make safe transit on the buses possible, making what is easy now on Rapid Ride almost impossible.

Team Berry has received bids for the buses the team wants to buy, but Team Berry is (of course) keeping the bid details a deep and dark secret.

The Central Avenue Corridor:
National standards have been carefully written that recommend what works in regard to BRT projects and warns about what experience has showed does not work.

The Central Avenue corridor is often too narrow for a guideway BRT system. It is also far too narrow for a center-of street BRT platform system. In a total defiance of reason and rationality Team Berry has proposed the building of both; meaning both a thick dedicated BRT bus guideway and a BRT system that has, often dangerous, center-of-street platforms.

In order to construct the guideway and platforms the center of Central Avenue, as it now exists, must be destroyed. Hundreds of existing streetlights must be torn down, neighborhood association monuments must go, a hundred or more trees are doomed for destruction. The beautifully landscaped medians separating north and south lanes on Central almost all have to go. Eventually a sparse new landscaping, heavy with cement hardscaping, will replace the destroyed flora, plants, and trees.

Since the reinforced and colored cement BRT guideways basically cannot ever be cut into or dug up once laid down and built, everything under the guideways must be built “forever” before the guideways are cemented in place.

For this reason the entire 9 mile guideway section of Central must be torn up so that “forever” water lines (and other utility infrastructure) can be put in place before the “deep vault” type burial of everything underground occurs.

The ABCWUA water authority work is the most visible part of this first leg of destruction-construction in the Central Avenue corridor. The work began exactly two weeks ago today.

To be continued….

GUANTANAMERA ALBUQUERQUE

may 22, 2016 – A “catch 22” Art project update

On May 9, 2016, construction – actually destruction – began on West Central in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The deconstruction of Central Avenue for the BRT / ART Project, a thinly disguised 21st century “urban renewal” project that spends money for corporate profits and not on the needs of the people.

There were no public hearings held in Spanish. There were no notices in Spanish. There is no website in Spanish. A predominately Hispanic, mixed neighborhood, a poor neighborhood, was the first neighborhood targeted for the ripping out of the historic corridor and a full frontal attack on the neighborhoods storefront businesses. The businesses depend on the local people and the local people depend on the businesses.

All of north Central Avenue is closed between 53rd Street and Coors.

All of north Central Avenue is closed between 53rd Street and Coors.

50% of the main street (Central Avenue) was immediately closed. ADA ramps were obstructed. Bus stops were closed without signs, or notice. A gantry of traffic cones and ribbons and even more serious barriers made it virtually impossible for any pedestrian or bicyclist to safely cross Central for 2/3rds of a mile. Traffic could never lawfully cross Central for the same 2/3rds of a mile.

For many there was nothing to do but sit quietly and watch the unfolding madness. Few knew who to call (in the City (cabq)), and those that knew got no satisfactory or reasonable answer. The “Team Berry” (the Mayor’s crew) lied and kept secrets from the “git go” and they weren’t about to change course with the start of the deconstruction.

Watching the madness from an ADA perspective.

Watching the madness from an ADA perspective.

It took very little time for business traffic to be down, for incomes to be lost, for hourly wages to be cut back and be lost. A war upon people is probably always bad, but a war without notice, ramped up with stealth and deception is worse. Still worse is a “civil war”, a war that pits the people of Albuquerque one against another – construction workers against the people of often their own roots.

Two new water service connections.

Two new water service connections.

This “war” will not end well unless it is stopped swiftly and soon. The dollar losses to businesses on just 2/3rds of a mile of Central, in less than two weeks, probably now tops a documented $100,000. That figure does not factor in the human toll; nor the property loss caused by rocks in the road, traffic accidents, and 1,000’s of gallons of wasted fuel. And all that has been “put in” is less than 1,375 feet of 8 inch water line, one fire hydrant, and 10 water connections to a few businesses, apartments and long term motels. Team Berry has already destroyed and removed as many feet of landscaped Central Avenue medians as they have new (but unnecessary) water pipes.

'United we stand' often begins with sitting down in a meeting.

‘United we stand’ often begins with sitting down in a fair and informative meeting.

Songs serve to provide a memorable context by which poetry may be remembered. The only solace today on Central is perhaps the refuge of poetry. I offer the words of wisdom below; but soon we shall take up the fight. It is all too clear that if we don’t we shall lose our homes, our businesses, and our beloved Route 66 Central Avenue.

Guantanamera

Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera
Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera

Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crece la palma
Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crece la palma
Y antes de morirme quiero
Echar mis versos del alma

Mi verso es de un verde claro
Y de un carmin encendido
Mi verso es de un verde claro
Y de un carmin encendido
Mi verso es un ciervo herido
Que busca en el monte amparo

Con los pobres de la tierra
Quiero yo mi suerte echar
Con los pobres de la tierra
Quiero yo mi suerte echar
El arroyo de la sierra
Me complace mas que el mar

Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

Guantanamera in English

I am a truthful man
From where the palm tree grows
And before dying I want
To let out the verses of my soul

My verse is light green
And it is flaming red
My verse is a wounded stag
Who seeks refuge on the mountain

I grow a white rose
In July just as in January
For the honest friend
Who gives me his open hand

With the poor people of the earth
I want to cast my lot
The brook of the mountains
Gives me more pleasure than the sea

ART PROJECT UPDATE

Everything on Central is about the ART Project now

I was a part of the first ever “we will listen” ART Project meeting yesterday. The meeting was hosted by the ABCWUA, the “water works” water authority people.

The water people are in the unfortunate position of being put in the position of having to do the “spear point” ART project of putting in new waterline infrastructure along 10 miles of Central because Mayor Berry wants to create BRT guide paths that can’t ever be dug into or dug up.

Paula Dodge - Kwan is on vacation in California now.

Paula Dodge – Kwan is on vacation in California now.

PNM, Kelly cable, and numerous others are out there, meaning out along Central too, digging, and changing, and rearranging. This caused Paula Dodge – Kwan, CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) of the Albuquerque Municipal Development Department (DMD) to make the above statement, “Everything on Central is about the ART Project now.”

She may not of said it as clearly as she meant it, but her message is clear ALL work going on, ANYWHERE on Central (in the Right-of-Way) is construction or destruction that is part of the BRT ART Project. She should know, because her principal job right now is issuing the permits for the Berry team (Team Berry) to blow apart Central Avenue just in time for the 90th Anniversary of Route 66.

I stated quite clearly in the ABCWUA meeting that the meeting never could have, or would have, happened with the City (cabq). Team Berry just doesn’t do things that way. Team Berry likes the two (2) minute rule, by which they rule.

Under the two minute guidelines Team Berry gets to speak and pontificate for hours and hours and any opponent gets just two minutes of time, of which typically 22 seconds is taken up in the required self-introduction. That leaves a short 98 seconds for any personal appeal.

I got to talk for an hour or more at the ABCWUA meeting. I talked about problems, about the lawsuits and possible (probable) injunction that is pending. I talked in no uncertain terms about the pedestrian and ADA and stranded bus passenger problems. I took pictures, and I took about 25 of them to the meeting. The photographs were 8 x 10 glossy’s mostly, pictures taken on Central, of Central.

No "No left turn" sign.

No “No left turn” sign.

The pictures showed accidents, smashed and totaled cars, accidents apparently caused by the poor signage and general chaos now reigning on Central.

The pictures showed a speeding PNM truck taking down a safety cone because a 12 foot wide lane just doesn’t work well for PNM trucks. The irony being that PNM is helping to build 10.5 and 11 foot lanes as a permanent plan for Central.

The pictures showed the desecrated traffic cone getting struck under a car and the struggle on the side of Central just to get the cone out from under the car. It’s a metaphor maybe, “getting stuck under on Central.”

Is Team Berry the real Coneheads?

Is Team Berry the real Coneheads?

The pictures showed a wheelchair that cannot safely cross Central, or even now go down any of that part of Central. The pictures show a bicyclist using a closed bike lane to avoid going down the steepest and longest hill in Albuquerque like the City (cabq) wants bicyclists to do.

The pictures show more.

The pictures show the new madness on Central, the people hurt, and hurting; pictures of carnage and chaos; pictures of a lack of leadership, of official stupidity, of governmental disregard and indifference.

The two issues are certainly out there.

  1.  The pedestrian, bus passenger, and ADA accessibility to Central Avenue is absolutely not proper or legal.
  2. The only lawful and correct solution is to build the ART Project “sidewalks first.” The City (cabq) has $17 million to spend, they can do the first part of the ART Project right.

 

 

 

.

WHEN WATER WAR IS ART

The West is about water wars.

The West is about water wars.

ABCWUA stands for Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. It’s the “Water Works” for the City of Albuquerque and parts of nearby Bernalillo County.

The ABCWUA has an interlocking board of directors with the City, meaning that the Albuquerque City Mayor and three (3) City of Albuquerque Councilpersons share seats at the table of both governments.

To review the history briefly:
About four years ago the Mayor (Berry) proposed a BRT project branded as “ART.” Virtually nobody was told about the project, or heard about the project, until December of 2015. In a brief series of public meetings most citizens opposed the project, some going fairly “ballistic.”

Benton's back - ABQ Free Press photo.

Benton’s back – ABQ Free Press photo.

Issac Benton can clearly be heard stating, “This project is going to be built.” That was before the City Council had even voted to approve any funds for the project. That was also before two lawsuits were filed to stop it, to “Stop ART.”

The City attorneys promised that no construction would begin until mid-July, giving the court a chance to enjoin the project. On the theory that the City of Albuquerque and the ABCWUA were not (technically) one and the same, the City (apparently) encouraged the water “company” to begin construction on the project. The ABCWUA solicited bids and prepared and signed contracts. The City of Albuquerque issued permits, a few, that actually authorized the immediate commencement of construction. Public ART Project construction began on May 9th (2016).

By May 11th, Susan Schuurman had taken late night photographs and word of the ART project’s start went relatively viral.

Eric Pilsk circa 2013.

William Eric Pilsk circa 2013.

The federal judge was called. On May 12th a telephonic hearing (technically evolving into a “Telephonic Status Conference”) was held. In the hearing Eric Pilsk “for City of Albuquerque,” famously stated, “This is not part of the Art project work.” The evidence suggests that this statement was a prevarication, some might call it federal court perjury, because it was “material to the outcome of the proceeding.” Others might claim that Mr. Pilsk’s statement was an “unintentional” misstatement of fact, because he was talking about a topic of which he did not have sufficient knowledge.

The point is that “knowledge is important” and that despite everything TLC, NM Underground, PNM, Kelly Cable, and numerous others, are working on the ART Project, rapidly reducing  Central Avenue in Albuquerque to what is often appearing as uncontrolled chaos.

Wednesday is a day for War – A block by block photo expose of the work going on along Central.
May 18, 2016.

Fasten your Seatbelts – The Central Avenue / Route 66 WAR has begun, where is the resistance?
May 18, 2016.