Who was to know that there was a party going on?
It’s the Berry Party, or the Berry Bury Party, or the, “Watch us bury Central, and Route 66, and all of your Albuquerque history right in front of your eyes, party.” But, it’s not my party.
In “my generation,” probably like in every generation, we grew up doing everything to music. Music was the mantra, it was almost always there to reveal the meme. And the meme going on right now in Albuquerque, on the good old Route 66 right-of-way, all along Central (Avenue), is what might rightfully be called the Mayor Berry Monster Mash.
Like most things done in the dark, the BRT/ART Project began back in 2012, when Team Berry sent a team of rookies out to Cleveland, Ohio to explore the devastated canyons of downtown Cleveland, a ghost city only exceeded in rust belt dereliction by Detroit and Youngstown, and Buffalo, New York.
What Berry’s rookies failed to receive or perceive was that the “billions” of dollars invested in downtown Cleveland was not because of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), but was because of bad banking decisions and massive federal dollars aimed at saving an historically important US city from the throes of unmitigated economic ruin. The only thing that the “Cleveland Billions” have bought is a Republican convention where Donald Trump will probably be put into power.
Make no mistake, downtown Cleveland, with its BRT ART-type, archetype project is a Zombie type neighborhood that is just short of dead.
But Mayor Berry wants to bring the Monster Mash party thing here, to Route 66, to ‘our‘ Central Avenue. It’s the death wish thing, the desire to bury (Berry), not build up; Berry wants to bury the water pipes, bury Route 66, bury the businesses and the shops and the restaurants of good old Central – and create a Disneyland, carnival land, new thing that is really just a wall, a crypt, more like a mausoleum. The flashing LED light displays beaming out from the “stations” are like the electrodes – flash and dash – a monster in waiting.
In the last several weeks the Berry Boys have been clear-cutting West Central. Most of the large caliper trees in the medians have been cut down, dug up, totally removed – roots and all. Berry says he will plant new ones, but not in the center of Central, that space is reserved, in his monstrous plan, for reinforced pastel cement bus-only guideways, and fast-moving, mostly empty, million dollar plus (each), diesel buses with traffic signal trip-wires to interfere with, and defeat, pedestrians.
Every condemned tree, condemned to death by Berry, should have the right to a last drink of water. That’s where Project Aquarius comes in. Team Berry, under the guise or guidance of the Albuquerque Solid Waste Department (No, I don’t make this stuff up) has been deleting the irrigation, the sprinklers, the water median system all along Central. Pipes are severed, cut, abandoned and buried (Berryed). Of course the Department Head denies it. It’s not the first time they’ve lied. The deconstruction that was promised not to begin until mid July actually began on May 9th – just for starters.
Not everyone in Albuquerque gets out to West Central where the ‘reign of ruin’ is raining down. Not everyone has gone out to see it, to be a witness first hand. Not everyone has noticed the old retro lights of central Central as they are torn down, consigned to Berry’s “scrap heap of history.” Berry’s idea of “new” is not mid-Century modern, but old style crossarms tacked up tackily on old wooden PNM poles. The Monster Mash, clearly, is not a class act.
The bad news is that most people have to see something before they are willing to say something to stop it. The good news is that there is now a lot to see all along Central. Anyone can bear witness to the fact that Central and Route 66 through Albuquerque is dying.
I have filed, and obtained, an initiative petition to stop it – to stop the monster mash, the madness, the drive to death and to ruin – to Stop A.R.T.
All anyone needs to do, is to sign it. As soon as the required number of signatures, from the required number of Albuquerque registered voters, are obtained the issue goes to a vote by the City Council, and if the council fails to do the right thing, it goes on the ballot. We can say “No” before Congress even gets close to granting the funding.
And maybe, that’s where the party gets really fun, as the Berry contractors are hit with the all but inevitable clawbacks.