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Category: ART Plans

MOTION TO STRIKE

June 10, 2016

Nichole Gassner
Case Management Supervisor
United States District Court
District of New Mexico
Office of the Clerk
333 Lomas Boulevard NW – Suite 270
Albuquerque, NM 87102

THIS IS A PUBLIC RECORD

Ms. Gassner:

Reference is made to case No. 1:16-cv-00252-KG-KBM.

Review:

  1. In a violation of federal rules, the FTA submitted court documents on a DVD, rather than through the required paper, or “electronic transmission filing.”
  2. This violation was identified by me on June 2, 2016, the day after the filing violation.
  3. On that date, I requested, in person, that the Office of the Clerk immediately move to correct the situation by notifying the FTA of the violation.
  4. Instead of notifying the FTA, and by so doing, giving the FTA an opportunity to immediately correct the situation, the Office of the Clerk sought justification for withholding free access to the public record.
  5. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts subsequently made error in representing that the improper submission of court documents on a DVD should be handled as if a DVD were an “audio recording of a court proceeding.”
  6. You have further glossed the issue by deferring the issue to “a PACER account,” knowing full well that the DVD material is not accessible on the PACER system, nor could it be made accessible in a relevant and timely manner.
  7. The impact of this ongoing situation is that the FTA court documents still have not been lawfully filed, to the considerable detriment of any, and all, timely potential “Friend of the Court” filings.
  8. I make note that the DVD content, according to the paper index document filed, apparently represents more than 2,700 pages of information, a quantity of documents that requires considerable time to review, process, and potentially respond to.
  9. There is no longer time to allow a proper review of the 2,700 pages to reasonably happen.

In consequence of the above situation, I believe that the only reasonable resolution of this issue is that the entire wrongfully submitted FTA court documents be stricken from the record.

If you have any further questions regarding this important matter please feel free to contact me by email at any time.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

CC / parties in interest.

ART Project (Environmental) Impact Report (et al.) Federal Records Complaint

This post contains the full text of the hand-delivered letter of June 3, 2016, regarding the Rules Violations that have prevented approximately 2,700 pages of Albuquerque BRT/ART Project public records, filed with the federal court, from being made available to the general public.

Of the 2,700 pages, there are evidently approximately 1,000 pages that are alleged, by the FTA, to constitute “environmental” studies done by the City of Albuquerque that support and justify the FTA’s decision to grant a “Catagorical Exclusion” to the requirement of further, even more exhaustive, impact studies regarding the ART Project.

A fair and reasonable evaluation and assessment of the impact study and the reasonableness of the FTA in granting the exclusion cannot be made by the public, if the public records are not made public. As a consequence of this fact, Donald Clayton was required to write the following letter:

June 3, 2016

Matthew Dykman
Clerk of Court
United States District Court
District of New Mexico
Office of the Clerk
333 Lomas Boulevard NW – Suite 270
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Honorable M. Christina Armijo
Chief United States District Judge
United States District Court
Pete V. Domenici United States Courthouse
333 Lomas Boulevard, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

HAND DELIVERED DOCUMENT

THIS IS A PUBLIC RECORD

Mr. Dykman:

Reference is made to case No. 1:16-cv-00252-KG-KBM; captioned, in part, as it may be deduced from the record, in the attached Exhibit ‘A’.

Reference is also made to: District of New Mexico / United States District Court document http://www.uscourts.gov/court-records, and: United States District Court District of New Mexico Local Rules of Civil Procedure (December 1, 2014).

By such reference the contents herein referenced are incorporated into this communication.

Synopsis:
On June 2, 2016, at approximately 2:30 PM, I (hereinafter: “Mr. Clayton”) requested from Court Clerk Staff (hereinafter: “staff”) information regarding the review, and the possible obtainment of copies, of Court mandated submissions of the Administrative Record pursuant to Case No. 1:16-cv-00252-KG-KBM, a public court record.

Pursuant to information contained in Court document #37 in the aforementioned case, the public record is composed of approximately 2,700 pages of information electronically transmitted to the federal judge assigned to the case, and to a select group of legal counsels involved.

In what is believed to be an extraordinary and wrongful procedure, the above referenced information (public court record) was hand-delivered to unknown staff on June 1, 2016, without documentation or identification being recorded by those involved in the event. The form of the hand-delivery was in the form of a physical object, described in document #37 as a “DVD.”

Page #2.

Mr. Clayton requested from staff a copy of the DVD. His request was met with argument by staff, claiming that the DVD was not, or may not be, a public court record. Mr. Clayton was informed by staff that he would not be able to either review the contents, nor obtain a copy of the DVD through staff. Further, Mr. Clayton was instructed to request the desired information from the select group of legal counsels involved. Staff acknowledged that such legal counsel had no legal obligation whatsoever to comply with, or even give answer to, such a request.

After three (3) staff T.O.’s (employee turn overs), Mr. Clayton was introduced to Nicole Gassner, a staff supervisor and fourth staff T.O., Ms. Gassner, who repeated the previously stated staff communications.

Mr. Clayton asked to speak to the Clerk of Court, Mr. Dykman. Ms. Gassner stated that that would not be possible, but records requests had to be in writing and “had to be communicated by written letter.” Mr. Clayton was specifically told that there was no email address for Mr. Dykman, or for the Office of the Clerk.

Mr. Clayton asked Ms. Gassner about the timeliness of a possible reply if a written request was tendered. Ms. Gassner stated that there “were no rules,” but that usually it “didn’t take too long” and it should not be more than “a couple of days.”

Applicable Rule and Law:
District of New Mexico / United States District Court document http://www.uscourts.gov/court-records, states, in relevant part: “Your request can be made via email, or in person.”

The directive further states, “Copy requests, in general, may be completed within 2-3 hours.” Note: Exceptions are made for documents that do not apply to the situation.

It is noted that the Fee Schedule (http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/fees/electronic-public-access-fee-schedule) has no provision for any charge for reproducing a “DVD.” The reason is clear, the submission of a non-paper hand-delivered physical object does not comport with the published Rules of the Court pursuant to document filings.

This fact is made clear by United States District Court District of New Mexico Local Rules of Civil Procedure (December 1, 2014); which states, in relevant part: “I SCOPE OF RULES, RULE 1.5 Definitions. (f) “electronic transmission” includes, but is not limited to: facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic data transmission. (italics, underlining, and bold type added).”  A DVD is not, pursuant to FCC regulations, an “electronic transmission.” The DVD was physically hand-delivered, not “transmitted.” [Note: the data sent to counsel originated in Washington D.C., ending in New Mexico. The FCC has jurisdiction over such interstate communications. It is unknown by what Interstate regulated trucking company the DVD was delivered.]

The staff was not remiss in accepting the DVD. Local Rules specifically require (at 10.3 (a)) that “The Clerk will not refuse to file any document because it is not in proper form.” However, the Clerk is required to give a party “written notice” of the deficiency. The assumption is that the notice is timely, but no rules have been identified as to the actual time allotted.

Page #3

Summary and Complaint:
Staff failed to communicate to Mr. Clayton, proper Rule information; staff did not observe written rules. Most significantly they failed to produce the court documents that staff admitted were in their possession, and had not been deemed, at the time, to be “non-conforming.”

Mr. Clayton is entitled to view a copy of the document submitted, in its entirety, without charge (See: Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule). Mr. Clayton is entitled to obtain an electronic
version of the document for a fee of $3.00. Mr. Clayton is entitled to obtain select copies of the document at the rate of 10 cents per page.

Request:
Mr. Clayton herein requests that he be permitted to review the document within 2 hours. Please notify me by telephone: 505 / 842-1—, or by email: cityofnikko@gmail.com

Further Complaint:
It is the information and belief of Mr. Clayton that substantial bad faith by the FTA has caused this dangerous, destructive, illegal, and wanton situation.

The complaint is far too vast, and too important, to be detailed here. It is the intent of Mr. Clayton to address the concerns to the Court legally in possession of the court records, at the place of possession. Mr. Clayton shall request remedial measures and also request sanctions.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

¡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.

ABCWUA PRESS / WEB INFORMATION ABOUT REMOVING CENTRAL

ART-Related Utility Relocation

Wednesday – May 11, 2016 – 5:48 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, MAY 11 –  The Water Authority this week began required utility relocation work along Central Avenue to make way for the City of Albuquerque’s planned bus rapid transit project, designated ART (Albuquerque Rapid Transit).

The work commenced Monday along two segments of Central Avenue, between Coors and Atrisco and Monroe and Louisiana.  Businesses along these segments were informed via flyers that were also distributed to neighborhood associations and elected officials last week.  The construction information is also available on the Water Authority’s website at:  http://abcwua.sks.com/art-utility-relocation.aspx

Under the terms of the utility’s franchise agreement with the City of Albuquerque, the Water Authority is required to relocate water and sewer lines that come into conflict with City projects (such as ART).  In order to meet the City’s planned schedule of work, utility relocation work had to begin in advance of ART construction, which is slated to start in July.

Five segments along Central will require water utility relocation work:

  1. Coors-Atrisco (under way, 60-90 day duration)…$950,000 cost estimate
  2. Atrisco-Eighth (late summer; no cost available yet)
  3. 8th– Interstate 25 (late summer; no cost available yet)
  4. I-25-Monroe (Early June; no cost available yet)
  5. Monroe-Louisiana (started, 60-90 day duration)…$300,000 cost estimate
"Discreet sections" of Central are removed.

“Discreet sections” of Central are removed.

Discrete sections of some medians will be removed as necessary as part of this work, for traffic flow and to allow driveway access. These small sections will be patched with asphalt and the patches will stay in place pending ART construction.

Mainly WATER PIPES are being moved as part of this project; no large-scale sewer relocation will be necessary.  The pipes in question are aging – many of them are more than 50 years old –  and would have required eventual replacement in any event. [Note: “eventual replacement” may not be required for another 35 or 50 years.]

[Note: New water pipes are being placed, nothing is being “moved.”]

New water pipes are being buried under Central.

New water pipes are being buried under Central.

For more information on ART, call 398-4ART (398-4278) or visit www.brtabq.com

Water Authority to Relocate Water Lines on Central between Coors and Yucca

NOTE: All construction is weather permitting and subject to change without notice.

Beginning Monday, May 9, 2016, and lasting through mid to late summer 2016, the Water Authority will relocate water lines on Central between Coors and Yucca that are in conflict with the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project. As part of this project, new fire hydrants may be installed as needed. Smith Engineering is the engineer for the project and TLC Plumbing & Utility is the contractor.

Regular work hours will be MondaySaturday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., although the contractor may work additional hours if needed.

Area residents and businesses will be notified in advance of any planned water shutoffs.

"Access to businesses is being maintained."

“Access to businesses is being maintained.”

ACCESS WILL BE MAINTAINED TO ALL BUSINESSES AND RESIDENCES.

Monday – May 9, 2016 through Wednesday May 11, 2016:

The contractor will tear down medians on Central Avenue between Yucca and 58th Street, so the inside lanes for eastbound and westbound traffic will be closed from 53rd Street to west of 57th Street, with one lane of traffic open in each direction. Westbound traffic will not be able to turn left on 55th Street or 57th Street. Eastbound traffic will not be able to turn left on 57th Street or Yucca.

(See map to right.)

Also, the contractor will tear down medians on Central Avenue from just east of Coors to 63rd Street.

The ART Project snakes down Central.

The ART Project snakes down Central.

(See map below).

One lane of traffic will remain open eastbound and westbound with center lanes closed.

Westbound traffic will not be able to turn left on 64th Street or 65th Street. Eastbound traffic will not be able to turn left on 65th Street, 64th Street or 63rd Street.

This work is being done to prepare for upcoming traffic reconfigurations in order to move the water lines. More information will be available by May 17th (early next week).

QUESTIONS?

CWA STRATEGIC – Contact Patti Watson, 505 / 245-3134; 505 / 269-9691; or email Patti Watson at: pattiw@cwastrategic.com

Patti Watson

Patti Watson

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ALBUQUERQUE RAPID TRANSIT (ART PROJECT): Call 505 / 398-4ART (505 / 398-4278) or visit www.brtabq.com

CITY 3.0 POINT GUARD

winthrop quigley promotes the mayor and “art”

“Albuquerque evolving into a ‘3.0 city’”

Email: wquigley@abqjournal.com

In a front page Albuquerque Journal article today business writer Winthrop Quigley used Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, California, to push forward the alleged virtues of the local BRT / ART Project proposed for Albuquerque.

“Though many citizens oppose it, if the new Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus system works, it will connect city centers, each with a unique identity, and produce the kind of streetscapes that stimulate commerce and civic life.” – Quigley

What Mr. Quigley failed to point out in his article is that Kevin Johnson is first and foremost a player for the NBA, which is mostly about the on-court sport of basketball. And, of course, being a great basketball player is always a great ticket to become Mayor in a great basketball town like Sacramento.

To his credit, Mr. Quigley used the word “If.” And “if” Mr. Johnson knew anything about Central Avenue in Albuquerque, anything about the proposed BRT / ART Project, or if he had ever even read the BRT document about BRT in Sacramento, he would have clearly stated that “ART” in Albuquerque could not possibly work.

He didn’t, because he doesn’t.

But you can read what neither Mr. Quigley, nor Mr. Johnson, apparently ever read. It’s HERE. The link is to a PDF file that on page #2, item 5, sums up the BRT situation very nicely. I quote:

  • 5. The design standard for right-of-way for BRT travel lanes shall be a minimum of 12.5 feet for each travel lane, or 25 feet for two lanes. Right-of-way width for two-travel lanes and station area shall be 40 feet with a length of 200 feet. The 40-foot width would accommodate two 12.5-foot wide lanes and a 15-foot wide station.

Compare that to the Walter Streetbus loading platform” proposed for the ART Project. At Walter Street, and for virtually all of the project in Albuquerque, the proposal is for 10.5 or 11.0 foot wide travel lanes – often a full two feet short of the Sacramento plan. In fact Sacramento calls for lane widths exactly the width of what most of Central Avenue has now, but would lose with ART.

Even "San Berdo" California has wider stations.

Even “San Berdo” California has wider stations.

The next obvious situation is “a 15-foot wide station.” Walter Street, and most other ART “station” locations are designed for 12-foot wide platforms or stations – three feet narrower than the City of Sacramento minimum. And in Sacramento, stations would be 200′ long, not the “100 foot” stations and platforms designed for Albuquerque.

The reason for 200′ stations is so that the off-board fare machines (“information kiosks”) can be located away from the actual BRT bus boarding areas and the off-boarding areas.

It appears that Mr. Quigley is just the “point guard” for Mayor Berry. I would suggest better research and a new game plan.

MINUTES FOR THE APRIL 13th LUCC HEARING

summary minutes

On May 6, 2016, after specific request for the official Minutes of the LUCC Hearing of April 13, 2016, a copy of the “Summary Minutes” were released by Alfredo Salas, Secretary for the CABQ Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (LUCC).

The Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project’s applicant in this LUCC Hearing is the City of Albuquerque Transit Department. The Project Number: 1010796 and Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013 was the 5th Agenda item in the hearing. The Staff report took much longer than 5 minutes. The applicant presentation involved CABQ contracted agents. Numerous CITIZENS IN INTEREST spoke for a very regimented 2 minutes each.

There is not even a basic report regarding the persons speaking, or the times, or the topics in the “Minutes” released. The only thing really stated is that the hearing regarding this project and this case was deferred.

The LUCC Minutes released are presented below:

On May 6, 2016, only "Summary Minutes" of the April 13th LUCC Hearing were available.

On May 6, 2016, only “Summary Minutes” of the April 13th LUCC Hearing were available.

WALTER STREET BUS LOADING PLATFORM

For an identical view, with cars, and parked cars, the Google street-view is HERE.

walter street


location, HISTORY, and Description:

Walter Street is a historic street that crosses Central Avenue in the EDo (East DOwntown) neighborhood of Albuquerque.

The link to the Google Earth location of Walter Street is HERE.

The intersection of Walter Street and Central Avenue is located near the eastern end of Segment Three of the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project.

Because there is an existing ABQ RIDE Rapid Ride bus stop and shelter at this location, the ART planners decided to create what was originally planned as a “BRT STATION” at this location. The plan called for the elimination of the Rapid Ride bus stop and shelter and to replace it with a center of the street STATION that would block, and eliminate, through traffic across Central at Walter. The plan would also make it impossible to make left turns from Central onto Walter. Finally, the plans would make U-turns on Central, at Walter, impossible.

Because the intersection is in a historically protected neighborhood (area), the Transit Department (aka: ABQ RIDE) is required to get LUCC (Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission) approval for any changes to Central Avenue in the area between Union Square Street (just west of BROADWAY) and Locust Street (immediately adjacent to the I-25 FREEWAY). (See: Google map.)

The NM State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) is required to approve the design of proposed major structures in the historic zone. The SHPO rejected the Denver Airport type tent structure as being inappropriate for the substantially 1920’s era neighborhood. It is unclear whether the SHPO reviewed the two 26′ tall ART/LED strobe light configurations planned at the STATION.

Instead of designing a new, and appropriate, BRT STATION, the Transit Department decided to eliminate the STATION and propose a “bus loading platform” for Walter Street.

The proposed “platform” has no walls, no provision for passenger shelter, not even a roof. It is a reduction of bus passenger rider comfort when compared to the existing Rapid Ride bus stop and shelter.

A LUCC Hearing regarding the changes to the “roadway” and the “street furniture” at Walter Street was convened on April 13, 2016. There were substantial violations of rules, laws, and ordinances pursuant to, and in the conduct of, the hearing.

The LUC Commission decided to “defer” the hearing to May 11, 2016. The violations regarding the LUCC Hearing are manifest, and continue.

Please refer to the Category “LUCC” for details.

bus loading platform Description & plans:

The term Walter Street “bus loading platform” was introduced by the City of Albuquerque Transit Department in a LUCC Legal Notice published on April 27, 2016.

The engineering plans for the project (City of Albuquerque (COA) Project No. 631991) in this segment, drawn by HDR, were 90% completed as of January, 2016. As of April 22, 2016, there were no new, or updated, plans for the Walter Street “bus loading platform.”

There are numerous public concerns about the design of the platform. The purpose of this post is to explore the issues of ADA use and of general walkability. Both of these issues have been often promoted as key issues by ART Project proponents.

The HDR plans are created by creating sub-segment sheets with “match lines.” As a result there is no clear drawing for the Walter Street platform. To present the following drawings, the HDR drawings had to be reproduced, assembled, and further illustrated. They are exact reproductions of the 90% complete HDR engineering drawings commissioned (or contracted for) by the CABQ. “Assembly” involves page matching of individual adjacent sheets. The pathways in color are “illustrations.”

bus loading platform ADA & WALKABILITY plans:

Walter streeT now
HDR "Match Sheet" Plans showing the existing Walter Street and Central Avenue intersection.

HDR “Match Sheet” Plans showing the existing Walter Street and Central Avenue intersection.

The “X’s” indicate large caliper trees scheduled for destruction and removal if the “ART” project moves forward. Not shown are the four (4) 12 foot wide mixed-traffic lanes that currently serve Central Avenue. The yellow areas are existing ADA ramps. The brick areas are existing sidewalks.

Walter street AFTER BEING BLOCKED BY BRT PLATFORM
HDR plans showing the pedestrian or ADA transit route necessary to cross Central Avenue at this location.

HDR plans showing the pedestrian or ADA transit route necessary to cross Central Avenue at this location.

As can be seen by the HDR engineering plans, a pedestrian or a person in a wheelchair, or using a walker, has to go the entire ‘red line’ distance just to cross Central Avenue. The “ART” pedestrian route involves over 140 feet of “double-back” travel through a bus platform potentially filled with waiting riders or people getting on, or off, rapidly moving buses.

Walter street bus loading PLATFORM pedestrian detail
HDR engineering drawings with omitted kisosk, monument, bench, light, and trash receptacle data added.

HDR engineering drawings with omitted kisosk, monument, bench, light, and trash receptacle data added.

In yellow is the bumped surface, yellow mat, “danger zone.” The idea is to provide a two-foot wide warning before someone steps off, or falls off, a 16″ high elevated platform. A STATION would have doors, bus loading “platforms” have no railings, no doors. In the center of the 8′ wide passenger platform is a 2.5′ wide (18 foot long) “information kiosk,” B (aka: BRT ticket machine). There are to be two trash receptacles at each end of a bench, yet to be designed C. The purple area is the ADA ramp that serves both BRT passengers and cross Central pedestrian traffic.

ADA wheelchair dimensions.

ADA wheelchair dimensions.

The proposed BRT bus platform is only 12′ wide. For 65′ on either side of the platform there is no ADA railing. Four feet of the 12′ width is the “danger zone.” Approximately 2.5′ is the width of the HDR, yet to be designed, “information kiosk.” The result is a pedestrian passage way on each side of the platform that is only 33 inches wide. The typical wheelchair is 32 inches wide. This width does not include room for sweaters or things that are carried, nor  does it allow for any distance for travel away from the kiosk.

What the HDR engineering drawings imply is that all wheelchairs will have to travel for at least 30 feet in the danger zone when crossing Central (See: the 36″ width necessary).

If there are waiting BRT passengers, or off-loading passengers, all wheelchair users will have to wait until the center of the loading platform is clear.

Walter street bus loading PLATFORM “street furniture” detail
HDR "Street Furniture" illustrations, engineering drawings are pending.

HDR “Street Furniture” illustrations, engineering drawings are pending.

The exact HDR “street furniture” illustration design drawings are superimposed upon the HDR platform engineering drawings. The composit illustrates the absence of required ADA railings and the additional barriers of platform lighting standards and trash receptacles and the undesigned bench.

Notice too, that the “Monument” E (doubling as a traffic impact barrier) is actually within the ADA transition wheelchair zone, creating a life threatening situation if hit by a truck or other vehicle.

This drawing also illustrates the considerable loss of sidewalk area along this portion of Central (the yellow area).

From a professional engineering standpoint neither the “information kiosk,” nor the Monument (protection barrier), are legally “street furniture.” The kiosk contains considerable electrical apparatus and the Monument is a “life-protection” device of significant importance. The fact that no engineering drawings of either of these structures and features existed at the time of the Transit Department LUCC application is of grave concern, as it represents a critical public health and safety issue.

 

RECORDS REQUEST

this post presents the content of the SIXTH LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: RECORDS REQUEST

April 29, 2016

Natalie Howard, MPA
City Clerk
City of Albuquerque
Office of the City Clerk
600 2nd Street – Room 720
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Linda Evans
Senior Administrative Assistant – One Stop Shop
Custodian of Public Records
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – Room 201
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Doreen De La Cruz
Executive Assistant
Custodian of Public Records
City of Albuquerque Transit Department
City of Albuquerque
8001 Daytona Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87121

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Please enclose this document in the appropriate LUCC file.

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

Also: Central Avenue Albuquerque Rapid Transit COA Project No. 631991
a project segment located on or near the public R.O.W. between Union Square Street and Locust Avenue on the north side of Central Avenue and between Union Square Street and an unmarked freeway on-ramp on the south side of Central Avenue, said to be Locust Street (This project segment hereinafter referred to as: “Project Number 631991”).

Mses Howard, Evans, De La Cruz, and Hennessy:

Synopsis and Summary of Request(s):
This letter document is first and foremost a formal PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST. This letter document also requests, “in the interest of time,” the immediate withdrawal of the City of Albuquerque Transit Department application in the above referenced project and case, a case that is the sole cause of this records request.

History
On March 9, 2016, the City of Albuquerque Transit Department (hereinafter: “Transit”) submitted an application for an LUCC Hearing. The procedures followed were significantly deficient, as alleged and identified in five letter documents written and sent by myself (Donald Clayton) between April 20th and April 27th, 2016. The letters are contained in the above referenced project and case LUCC file.

In partial remedy of the stated deficiencies, LUCC staff and Transit staff, caused the publishing of a new Legal Notice, a reposting of signs, and a rewording and resending of “Neighborhood Association” letters.

The new signs and Legal Notice are not supported by either a new application or an amended application. This fact creates a great and self-evident, public and administrative confusion regarding the legitimate subject of the case and the purpose of the hearing, to wit: “Roadwork and Street Furniture between John Street and Locust Street” and “Construction of a bus loading platform between Union Square Street and Locust Street.”

This second Legal Notice was not accompanied with even so much as a site plan that indicated whether the “bus loading platform” was in fact the proposed “Walter Street BRT Station” (discussed at length in the faulty April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing) or whether it was, in fact, a “bus loading platform” to extend the entire distance along Central Avenue between Union Square Street and Locust Street.

Legal issues:
It should not have to be the responsibility of a citizen to point out, and recite, the Rules and laws applicable to the convening of a simple public hearing. In this case it has been, and was.

The prodigious and rampant violations are, and were, as stated before, self evident. They continue. They continue despite repeated good faith, and diligent efforts to clarify and rectify the LUCC hearing situation. Ample citation to authority exists in the aforementioned letters, letters which are herein referenced, and by such reference incorporated as a part of this letter document.

The gravest legal issue at hand is the requirement of the submission (pursuant to Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “LUCC Rules”), adopted by the LUCC June 12, 2013) of:

  • All plans submitted to the LUCC review must be able to be built as drawn.  If the City of Albuquerque requires a licensed design professional’s stamp for the building permit, then a licensed design professional must design and draw the submittal for LUCC review. (Underlining and Bold type added.)
    Note: The proposed project is a public works project. A licensed design professional’s stamp is required.
  • 5.  Any documents, photos, plans, or other information provided to the City in conjunction with an application shall be available to the public.

And:

  • LUC Ordinance § 14-12-4 Definitions states, “STRUCTURE. Anything constructed or erected above ground level which requires location on the ground or attached to something having a location on the ground but not including a tent, vehicle, vegetation, or public utility pole or line.”

The fact is that virtually no drawings, plans, or documents whatsoever have been submitted by Transit, in support of the application, pursuant to the Rules and laws.

The fact is that the documents and “illustrative” artist renderings do not comport with the legal requirements of the City Council resolution of March 21st, relevant to this project. Simply put, the “illustrative” Station (now platform) lane widths are wrong.

It should be noted that pursuant to the Legal Notice published in the Albuquerque Journal on April 27, 2016, I, Donald Clayton, on April 28, 2016, “examined (the deficient application) on the third floor of the Plaza Del Sol building, 600 2nd St. NW” and found no new or additional drawings, plans, site plans, or documents relevant or responsive to the laws and Rules cited above. The absence of the required records from the required LUCC file is the sole cause of this records request.

Public urgency, health, and safety:
It is my information and belief that the issues at hand, consequent to a proper and necessary LUCC Hearing, is of grave and urgent import to the public need, the public health, and the public safety.

Project Number 631991 and Project Number 1010796 are in virtually all respects one and the same. The project calls for the functional obliteration of Central Avenue as it now exists. It calls for the removal and/or destruction of approximately 35 mature and healthy, large caliper, trees. The project calls for the reduction and elimination of existing and functional ADA ramps, to be replaced by dangerous and complicated ADA configurations that are unquestionably destructive and unworkable. The project calls for insufficiently protected mid-street platform(s) that constitute a clear threat of bodily injury, or possibly death, of proposed transit users. The project calls for the reduction and elimination of necessary beneficial sidewalks. The project calls for the construction of large, probably inappropriate, garish illuminated signs, and other signs, apparently incompatible with the history, scale, feel, and scope of the EDo historic neighborhood.

There are numerous other equally relevant design and construction issues immediately relevant to just the “bus loading platform,” much less the relevant project as it was suggested to be in the original application.

RECORDS REQUEST
Issues and background:
This records request cannot be viewed as “normal.” It is necessitated by an unanticipated event, to wit, the fact that if compliance is delayed for the 15 days allowed, or even 10, the rights of the public are endangered and the public safety is put in peril, especially the safety of those that are least mobile in their ability to be aware, to review, and to respond – the ADA community.

This fact is compounded by the documented fact that Transit has illegally delayed, obfuscated, and ignored past public records requests to the decree that clearly suggests that it is not “a mistake,” but a deliberate pattern.

Evidence of this pattern is manifold and manifest. It begins with the dearth of relevant public records at public meetings, it continues with a failure to provide available and relevant documents on the brtabq.com official website, it is most manifest in the failure of Transit to provide the public documents required by LUCC Rules, and finally it is evident by my numerous, clearly stated pleadings for the proper documents to be included in the LUCC file.

Not included in the above, is the clearly documented failure of Transit to properly and legally respond to two separate formal written records requests, the first dated April 6, 2016, and the second April 12, 2016.

In the first instance, the Transit Custodian not only failed to respond within three days, but when she did respond, she immediately invoked the 15-day provision, even though the records were not in her custody. As it turned out, the records were made available (by another Department) in eight days, but not until considerable obfuscation based on an effort to make an electronic version available that was not functional. Further, the records custodian of the Finance and Administration Department, the department where the Transit records were, for some unknown reason exclusively deposited, failed to respond in any way to the written request she received. (Full documentation of this entire incident is available upon request.)

I have been loath to make formal records requests when simple oral informal requests should suffice. Such requests began in March 17, 2016, with inquires to Kevin Welch, of Transit. Since then, Transit has repeatedly refused to provide information, resulting in the formal requests, and pleadings, stated above.

After 40 days, documentation is still disastrously deficient. The time and the hour has grown short, it is down to 13 days before the hearing. Lives, are apparently literally at stake, as the following records request will show.

Summary and theory of request:
The request is for all information regarding the “bus loading platform between Union Square Street and Locust Street.” It also includes information on all legally defined “Structures,” if any such additional structures are in any way a part of either of the two above stated projects, as may be reasonably inferred by the Exhibits submitted pursuant to the original application. It is understood that any Structures not produced in this records request are not to be built in the subject R.O.W.

The following information is to provide guidance for the records request, so that the issues can be understood, in order to determine if relevant records are readily accessible, or even if they exist. Please note Priority of Production (below).

Timeliness. The request is to be able to review the records at a time that is timely to the situation at hand. The timeliness of the response must allow sufficient and reasonable time to review the records, order or make applicable copies, and have time for competent engineering review, or other review of the facts and the documents produced.

Severability. If any document, page, drawing, plan, or other information is immediately available, then the request is to review that portion of production immediately, and not to withhold the totality of production to a time when all requested public information is made available.

Reasonable specificity. If documents, pages, drawings, plans, or other information are available, it is requested that the response be put in writing, with reasonable specificity, indicating the location of the document and the specific subject matter reasonably stated.

Reference to any document or information said to be contained on the brtabq.com webpage should have a dedicated, one-step URL, or the request is to review a hard-copy version. Specific information is requested. If the responsive tome is greater than 9 pages, a specific and accurate page number is requested.

Priority of production. It is the belief of the requestor that the most urgent production involves what was once called the “Walter Street Station” and is now referred to as “a bus loading platform.” It is further believed, but not known, that there is no intention by Transit to build “a bus loading platform” for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project in public Right-of-way on Central Ave. between Union Square (John St.) and Locust Streets in the Huning Highland-East Downtown Urban Conservation Overlay Zone.” in an area and location undefined by a site plan.

It is believed that the Walter Street Station, aka bus loading platform, has been proposed as consisting of six (6) component parts:

  • 1.  PLATFORM  A reinforced concrete platform of unknown height, length, width, foundation, surfacing, amenities, and other physically important features. The platform is said to incorporate ADA compliant ramps.
  • 2.  MONUMENTS  Two additional structures on top of, next to, or possibly structurally incorporated with the platform, termed “Monuments” are to be located at both the east end and west end of the platform. These monuments are of unknown dimensions, engineering, and design.
  • The best available, most current, existing information places these monuments within the designated ADA ramp areas, not next to them. The monuments have been represented to double as a protective barrier for the ADA ramps and for anyone needing to use the platform for Transit purposes, or for crossing an (to be) obstructed (and destroyed and eliminated) existing Central Avenue intersection.
  • No reviewable design information has been made available that would indicate that these (probably) concrete barriers are capable of withstanding the weight of a direct impact from a typical (for the corridor) legally large truck, much less a bus or even a passenger car. The barrier would be brittle if impacted, sending flying shards of concrete into the immediately adjacent ADA ramp, and possibly much of the platform passenger area.
  • It is the information and belief of the requestor that, at a minimum engineered stanchions of significant size, concrete guard rails, or heavy steel guard rails might be necessary to protect passengers, pedestrians, and ADA people from the dangers inherent in this center-of-street platform.
  • If so, the new protective structures would have a major impact on the urban character of the protected historical zone.
  • Further, any engineered design would be meaningless unless soil studies have been performed that validate the structural design assumptions of a “one size fits all” monument design of life-saving importance. It is the requestors belief that such soil studies and analysis have not been performed.
  • 3.  26′ SIGNS  The soil studies apply too, to the two 26′ tall signs proposed, but apparently not engineered, for the platform. There is no evidence that the flashing LED lights, nor the finalized sign colors, have been submitted to the State Historical Protection Officer (SHPO) for this specific location, as required by City Ordinance. It is the requestors belief that such signs are inconsistent and inappropriate for this historic portion of Central. Without engineering details describing wind load calculations, it can be assumed that the signs are dangerous and constitute a traffic and transportation corridor hazard.
  • 4.  INFORMATION KIOSK  In what has been presented as an “information kiosk” of unknown dimensions, footing, and foundation, lies a formidable obstacle to the entire functioning of the proposed BRT platform. The existing scale drawings (not a part of the application) suggest that the kiosk is a fixed building with access doors and panels that would obstruct the very narrow bus boarding and pedestrian transfer functions of the proposed platform.
  • The scale suggests that the kiosk is at least 2.5 feet in width, leaving only 5.5 feet on an 8′ (possible unconfirmed area) width – leaving only 2’9″ on each side of an apparently 18′ long structure for bicycles and wheelchairs to navigate. Since an average wheelchair is 32″ wide, and calculating areas for hand holds and purses or sweaters, the functional wheelchair width is at least 40″. 40″ times 2 is 80 inches, or 6′ 8″, which means that transiting wheelchairs would have to use the 2′ alert bump (yellow danger) area for each and every use of the platform (station). Many bicycle users would be confronted with even bigger problems.
  • It is important to remember that it is (possibly) a 16 inch drop-off, with no guardrail protection, from the yellow bump-zone mat to the dedicated BRT concrete corridor. The tentative design of the platform appears to be a liability nightmare.
  • 5.  LIGHT STANDARDS  Again, very few details are known about the six (6) light standards that are proposed to be part and parcel to the engineered platform. It appears that they may be unserviceable unless a truck is used that would interfere with the dedicated BRT lane, which means that burned out lights could not be changed at night until after the end of BRT service, creating a danger to nighttime users of the platform.
  • 6.  Railings and Street Furniture  Proposed to be attached to the platform are waste receptacles, a single bench of no stated seating capacity, height, or design, and “safety” railings. Existing drawing suggest the railings are not ADA compliant. The single bench could further inhibit the boarding and pedestrian transit functions of the platform.
  • 7.  NO SHELTER  The “platform” was represented publicly as being a $400,000 BRT Station. The platform is not compliant with national standards (See: 2.3) for BRT service, it is not even a basic bus “shelter”, as it has no ability to “protect passengers from weather conditions.” The creation of this platform would most probably contribute to health adversity and a reduction of quality of life of users of the platform.

REQUEST TO INSPECT PUBLIC RECORDS

To the above stated records Custodians, hello:

My name is Donald Clayton. My address is 1— Silver Avenue SW, Albuquerque NM 87104. My telephone number is 505 / 842-1—. My email address is cityofnikko@gmail.com

I would like to inspect the public records relative to, and relevant to, the projects as defined and stated above, and as defined in § 14-2-6. E. of the NM Inspection of Public Records Act. I specifically, first, and foremost, request records related to the “Walter Street Station and “bus platform” that constitute proposed construction for the potentially federally funded Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project.

I specifically refer you to HDR contracted records, to Studio Hill Design contracted records, to Bradbury Stamm surveys and contracted records, other architectural records, and records contained in the Office of the City Engineer, City of Albuquerque.

I also specifically refer to drawings, diagrams, special effects, and plans produced and created by Transit at public expense.

I specifically caution against the withholding of public records based on any general theory of competitive disadvantage, as the argument is herein made that the process of a proper public administration, and the issue of public input, and of the urgent issue of public safety, outweigh private party business decisions.

Signed: /s/ Donald Clayton

P.S. If, at any time, on any date, the above referenced Transit application is officially withdrawn, pursuant to published legal notice, and notice to me, I herein immediately withdraw any further performance pursuant to this records request.

LUCC APPLICATION AND HEARING PROCESS RULES VIOLATIONS

this post presents the content of the FIFTH LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: LUCC APPLICATION AND HEARING PROCESS RULES VIOLATIONS

April 27, 2016

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

Ms Hennessy:

During the past week I have sent you three carefully researched and detailed letters regarding the inappropriate, improper, and probably illegal, April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing.

The letters sent were as follows:

  • On April 20th I pointed out that the required pubic notice signs were not properly posted.
  • On April 21st I pointed out that the required Legal Notice was not properly published.
  • On April 23rd I pointed out the improper and apparently illegal use of the name John Street in both legal notices, application submittals, and public discussion.
  • In a letter begun on April 23rd and sent April 25th I pointed out the errors, the inappropriate public misdirection, and the apparent deficiencies regarding the Neighborhood Association letters that were sent.

Today I write once again. This time the topic is the flagrant disregard of the LUCC’s own rules in the approach to, and the conduct of, the Hearing.

To begin, I reference my letter dated April 23, 2016, entitled in part “400 Roma,” and by this reference refer you to, and incorporate into this letter, the content, the advisories, the qualifiers, the reservations, and the requests previously made.

LUCC Rules – Background:

On April 14, 2016, the day after the LUCC Hearing regarding an approximately .4 mile section of the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project, I met with both you and Alfredo Salas in a conference room on the 3rd Floor of 600 2nd Street in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I note that the meeting began about 3:00 PM, that 600 2nd Street is also widely known as the “Aztec Building,” (due to it’s Mayan Pyramid type shape) and by some, mostly employed by the City, as “Plaza Del Sol.”

The purpose of the meeting was to review the LUCC Case File #16-LUCC 50013. Pursuant to immediate concerns that I had regarding the “Exhibits” submitted pursuant to the Hearing, I requested from Mr. Salas, a copy of the LUCC Rules. He returned shortly with a seven-page document entitled, Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission. He presented me with a copy.

As I am sure you recall, I asked about the paucity of design and project details regarding the structures proposed as part of the project, specifically what has been promoted as a $400,000 Walter Street BRT Station. You responded that the Exhibits were more “Illustrative” than “Details.”

I believe that the Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “LUCC Rules”), adopted by the LUCC June 12, 2013, should put to rest any confusion regarding the above stated issues and matters.

LUCC Rules:

Note: The following passages are unnecessarily long due to the fact that the LUCC Rules are not (as of this date) available on line. Given the “transparency” initiative of the City Of Albuquerque, one would expect the LUCC Rules to be available on line.

PURPOSE AND INTENT – The LUCC Rules begin by establishing legal authority under the heading Purpose and Intent. I quote in relevant part:

  • These Rules define procedures for the application, notification, and decision-making by the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (LUCC).
  • The Boards and Commission Ordinance § 2-6-1-4 C provides for Rules to be adopted for each board or commission and filed with the City Clerk bearing the signature of the presiding Officers.
  • These Rules replace previous and all Rules contained in other LUCC handbooks and guideline documents.
  • These Rules incorporate procedural issues in the LUC Ordinance § 14-12 and other ordinances, resolutions, plans, and guidelines under the LUCC’s jurisdiction.  These Rules may be revised or amended by a majority vote of the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission in accordance with provisions of Boards and Commissions Ordinance § 2-6-1-4-C.”

C. APPLICATION – In most relevant part this section states:

  • 2.  Applicants should review their proposed projects with City staff prior to preparing final plans and submitting an application.  Staff will determine the level of review required for the circumstances of the case.
  • 3.  An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Compliance shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the City.  The application must include all items, as indicated by City staff and check/marked on the applicant’s Form L Checklist and other Project Drawings Checklists provided by the City.  The applicant shall provide sufficient copies of the submittal for the review as determined by the City.  Incomplete submittals are grounds for a deferral or denial.  Inaccurate information provided is grounds for a denial.
  • 4.  Drafting standards:  In order to document and understand the exact nature of the proposed work, drawings must be submitted with the application.  All drawings must be to scale, with the scale indicated on each drawing. Drawings may be by hand, but must present the project in a clear fashion.  Drawings shall show the relationship of the project to the existing building(s), the surrounding neighboring structures, and the street context as applicable.
  • Major design elements shall have the dimensions clearly indicated on the drawing(s).  Examples of major design elements to show dimensions include roof heights, trusses, porches, overhangs, windows, doors, awnings, walls, fences, steps, decks, and every major design element intended for the final project. (Italics added.)
  • All plans submitted to the LUCC review must be able to be built as drawn.  If the City of Albuquerque requires a licensed design professional’s stamp for the building permit, then a licensed design professional must design and draw the submittal for LUCC review. (Underlining and Bold type added.)
    Note: The proposed project is a public works project, a licensed design professional’s stamp is required.
  • 5.  Any documents, photos, plans, or other information provided to the City in conjunction with an application shall be available to the public.
  • 6.  For applications requiring a public hearing, all supporting materials and project plans must be submitted by the application deadline in order to allow time for analysis and preparation of a staff report and review by other agencies as appropriate.  Any materials intended to be distributed to the LUCC with the staff report must be submitted at least a week prior to the hearing.  If visual materials such as photographs are submitted, they should be identified as to location, photographer, date, and categorized into an exhibit sequence so that the LUCC may refer to one specific photograph or document as an exhibit.  The LUCC may accept new materials at the public hearing subject to majority vote.

The reality:
The actual reality of what has occurred since March 4, 2016, when Dayna Crawford took the first step in the Albuquerque Transit Department’s efforts to push through the total redesign, rebuilding, and fundamental removal of Central Avenue (as anyone now knows it) in the EDo (east downtown area of Albuquerque) is very different than what the LUCC Rules, as stated above, require.

Not a single document or drawing was submitted that had a “scale indicated on the drawing.” Not a single document or drawing had provision for “a licensed design professional’s stamp.” Not a single document or drawing was “to scale.” Not a single document or drawing or plan showed “the street context as applicable.” No maps or plans were submitted showing BRT lanes, traffic lanes, traffic signal light relocations, electrical conduits, irrigation plans, ADA ramps, drainage, road surfacing, roadway plans, permanent signing, sign removal, tree removal, striping plans, loop detectors, drive pad details, intersection details, utility relocations and abandonments, that met the LUCC Rules requirement of “All plans submitted to the LUCC review must be able to be built as drawn.

Even the $400,000 “Walter Street Station” had no correct drawings or plans. A few artist sketches substituted for architectural and/or engineer drawings. Even the “information kiosk (aka the $400,000 Walter Station)” had no foundation plans, no elevations, no “dimensions (that) include roof heights, overhangs, doors, awnings, walls.” No “Walter Street Platform” dimensions were given, no lengths, no width, no depths. There were no details regarding ADA access at Walter Street, at Union Square Street, at Locust Street, or at any location along the subject .4 mile corridor.

There was no information about the location of bus stops to be abandoned and which, and where, bus stops would remain. There was no indication that “review by other agencies as appropriate” had ever occurred. There was no sign-off from police or fire. There was no indication that Municipal Development had ever seen or approved ANY drawings. Even the Parks & Recreation Department, to be eventually charged with median maintenance and care of street trees was not in evidence at the hearing, in the documents, or in any discussion.

The application itself is fatally flawed. The applicants contention is that “no structures” are involved in the project. (See: Form L of the application) This despite the fact that LUC Ordinance § 14-12-4 Definitions states, “STRUCTURE. Anything constructed or erected above ground level which requires location on the ground or attached to something having a location on the ground but not including a tent, vehicle, vegetation, or public utility pole or line.” It appears that not one person from the City of Albuquerque Transit Department ever read the applicable regulations or LUCC Rules, or that if they did, they just didn’t understand the most basic of basics, or they just didn’t care.

The reality is that the City of Albuquerque actually has been very busy hiring qualified engineers and architects to develop all the drawings and plans. They hired HDR, a world-wide organization with local offices at 2155 Louisiana Boulevard, Suite 9500, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110. The relevant drawing that SHOULD have been presented at the April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing are contained in a reduced size in a Volume entitled: City of Albuquerque, New Mexico ABQRIDE Construction Plans for Transit Department ABQ RIDE Central Avenue Albuquerque Rapid Transit COA Project No. 631991.

The only problem is that the plans are not finished. The drawings cannot be able to be built as drawn. Not only that, there is no evidence that the drawings and plans even exist in the scale that is required for a project to be “built as drawn.”

It is an interesting aside to review the actual “documents, photos, plans, or other information provided to the City in conjunction with an application.” I have a full list. I can easily explain the situation and how I became aware of all of the probably (mostly) irrelevant information contained in the LUCC file.

Summary:

Complaints have been made about secrecy and false representations made by the City in regard to the ART Project. Most of those complaints involve the fairly distant past. In the case of the LUCC Hearing, the apparent ongoing abuses are very evident, and very timely. The concerns involve the immediate here and now.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton