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Category: CABQ BRT/ART Team

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.

 

 

¡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

BRT / ART PROJECT CONSTRUCTION BEGINS

The original post was written on May 11, 2016, for an event that occurred on May 9th.
This is an updated version dated May 12, 2016 – 8:30 AM.

not even the albuquerque journal got word of the story

With lightening speed the CABQ BRT/ART Forces performed a daring end run around the “environmental” lawsuits that are pending, and started construction on Albuquerque’s proposed ART Project. It’s no longer a proposed project to be sure.

The start of construction on West Central and on East Central by TLC Plumbing, under apparent contract with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWU), is the first part of preliminary construction in conjunction with the ART Project. The official ABCWU announcement about the work is HERE. There are many issues involved regarding the plumbing contract and whether it is appropriate, needed, or necessary.

The ART Forces legal strategy was clear. The City Council voted an immediate $17 million in funds for construction of the BRT/ART Project on March 21, 2016, funds entirely separate from the $69 million federal funds application. The $17 million can be spent immediately, and has no connection to any required “environmental impact reports.”

The ART Forces apparently believe that once they build a few stations, and spend many millions of irretrievable taxpayer dollars that the public will “get excited,” and that the federal FTA people will have to cave (later) because, like in the Big Short event, the federal money will be “too big, and too important, to fail.”

they always destroy the poor neighborhoods first

The above observation is not to imply that they are not willing to destroy the rich and richer neighborhoods too, and later.

The practice and plan goes back to the urban renewal projects of the late 1940’s through 1960’s. Over 50 years later, residents of Albuquerque can still see the unfinished blight of empty lots in Downtown Albuquerque created when politicians sought the “free and easy money” available from federal funds for “urban renewal.” The problem is that little or nothing was ever “renewed,” even after fifty or sixty years.

Poorer, but vibrant, interesting, and robust, neighborhoods downtown were put to the plow of bulldozers and scrapers and dump truck – loads of Albuquerque destined for the ‘trash heap of history‘, meaning now, just an Albuquerque landfill.

Like in the very real Big Short (and in the movie) it really doesn’t matter who gets hurt by all this in the end (they may say). There are very big profits to be made by the construction. A workable BRT transit system is apparently not the goal, because that, quite simply, is not where the money is.

first pictures just in of the first day of construction for the ALBUQUERQUE BRT / art project

Thank you very much to Susan Schuurman, photographer, who took these pictures and authorized their use.

April 10, 2016 - 8:26 - 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue just west of Coors across from Mac's la Sierra.

April 10, 2016 – 8:26 – 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue
just east of Coors across from Mac’s la Sierra Coffee Shop.

The Google earth street-view location is HERE.

April 10, 2016 - 8:26 - 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue just west of Coors across from Mac's la Sierra.

April 10, 2016 – 8:26 – 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue
just east of Coors across from Mac’s la Sierra Coffee Shop.

The Google earth street-view location is HERE.

April 10, 2016 - 8:26 - 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue just east of Coors across from Mac's la Sierra.

April 10, 2016 – 8:26 – 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue
just east of Coors and the Route 66 Arch.

The Google earth street-view location is HERE.

April 10, 2016 - 8:26 - 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue just west of Coors across from Mac's la Sierra.

April 10, 2016 – 8:26 – 8:43 PM. Susan Schuurman photo. Central Avenue
near the overhang signage that says Route 66. All photos taken on the West Side of Albuquerque near Coors Boulevard.

This is a story in process, not progress, please check back for updates.

NATALIE HOWARD

Appointment of Natalie Y. Howard to the Position of City Clerk, City of Albuquerque, occurred on May 18, 2015. On this date Trina Gurule no longer was “Acting City Clerk.” (See: Mayor, Video, KRQE)

All of the NOTICE OF RIGHT TO INSPECT PUBLIC RECORDS 8.5 x 11 departmental notice signs, division signs, and the CABQ website notice had the Trina Gurule information posted. As of May 4, 2016, when numerous pictures were taken, the Trina Gurule notice signs were still up.

The evidence suggests that the City of Albuquerque (CABQ) was not, and is not, in IPRA compliance from May 18, 2015, until the Present.

Details regarding Natalie Howard became a PUBLIC RECORD on May 11, 2015:

4 page Image Document:

Natalie Howard City Clerk appointment letter.

Natalie Howard City Clerk appointment letter.

City Clerk Natalie Howard appointment letter 2.

City Clerk Natalie Howard appointment letter 2. Robert J. Perry, Albuquerque CAO, signature.

Natalie Howard CABQ resume A.

Natalie Howard CABQ resume A.

Natalie Howard CABQ resume B.

Natalie Howard CABQ resume B.