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Category: ABCWUA

MONSTER MASH

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.

¡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.

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.

 

 

 

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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.