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Category: Donald Clayton blog post (page 1 of 2)

POST HEARING THOUGHTS

The following is commentary on the ‘State of the A.R.T. project’ – a BRT project underway since May 9th in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The “Boyd Trial” got underway on Wednesday. It was billed as the “Stop A.R.T.” effort. Those that supported it saw it as the lawyer solution, based on the theory that the devolution of modern society has reached the point where only lawyers, guns, and money can carry the day in any situation.

Indeed, such may be the case.

The court action in question was for a preliminary injunction to stop construction on ART filed in federal court. The complaint alleged that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) erred in granting a Categorical Exclusion (CE) regarding an otherwise required environmental assessment report.

At this point we are far beyond the sound-byte capacity of the average modern brain to effectively frame what is really at issue. Please let me explain.

In testimony, the City attorneys (the side supporting ART, and defending it), argued persuasively that the federal FTA funds were only an adjunct to the project, necessary perhaps, but not necessarily necessary. Even the opposition (the Boyd team, joined by the Maria Bautista team) submitted testimony and evidence that the City had other resources with which to ‘stay the course’, to continue building ART, to ‘carry on’.

Much of the hearing was like this – two ships, some might say giants, passing in the night – like the metaphor, or like the metaphor of the blind man and the elephant.

One side saw feet and inches, concrete and guideways, an old corridor often wracked by urban decay and ruin. The other side saw culture, history, historic places sometimes well worn, but well loved. This side spoke too, of the people – not concrete and steel, not artificial ART, but the art of the people.

For those that know, and care about, history it is a very old theme. When the modern technological wonder, the Titanic, went down, some mourned the loss of a ship – S.O.S. – Save Our Ship. Others, more wisely, mourned the loss of the souls – “1,500 Die in Disaster.”

The John Boyd motion was not aimed at saving souls, nor was it aimed at stopping the disaster. The motion, the action, was simply stated – to stop (temporarily) the federal funding, not the City financed ongoing A.R.T. construction.

So it is not surprising that Mayor Berry will officially break ground on Monday, August 1st, on a project actually started nearly three months earlier. It’s what happens when one losses control about following the facts. The actually apt metaphor is smoke and mirrors, or a fit description of what happens when smoke gets in your eyes.

In an Albuquerque Journal op-ed piece today an ex-Albuquerque resident advanced the cyborg theory of the ART project – the idea that part man / part machine creatures are the future of the earth. It is a point that most have missed, the idea that only with the advance of machines can human life carry on. The irony, of course, is that this is not a new idea. The car culture itself was a cyborg event – the wedding of people and machine – the advent of the family car, the personal car, the car culture.

So is the transit to a bus culture the answer, just a change of machines, or the size and scope of the machine component in the cyborg set?

Elon Musk, the electric car and bus guy, has a vision for the future. It supports the car culture, but embraces the bus culture too. He will soon release the next generation, the new generation, of electric bus vehicles. And Albuquerque just can’t let go of the past as Mayor Berry will stick us with buying the last of the last generation of electric battery buses for A.R.T.

The next-generation Elon Musk electric bus is not ancient A.R.T. made in China.

The next-generation Elon Musk electric bus is not ancient A.R.T. made in China.

Complexity is seemingly always a good excuse for not thinking.

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.

ART PROJECT LAWYERS, GUNS & MONEY

the lawyer track

The vast majority of the people in Albuquerque who know anything about the BRT / ART Project are opposed to the project. Probably 85% of the businesses located along Central Avenue / Route 66 in Albuquerque are opposed to the project. But there is a “rub.”

The rub in this case is the propensity to believe that in modern America only lawsuits and lawyers have any power to change things, meaning, in this case, to challenge the power of the politicians and very big business to change and rearrange and needlessly mess with things – meaning, in this case, mess with the lives of fairly simple and ordinary people just trying to make a living, feed a family, and reasonably get by.

So, virtually the day after the Albuquerque City Council voted to “accept” $69 million dollars in federal funding, and to approve an immediate $17 million in available city taxpayer funds for the project, the lawyers moved in, filed suit, and began asking everyone they could for all available money.

The meme, and the message, is clear: “Lawyers are the Big Guns, and lawyers run best when they have lots of money.” The clearly implied secondary message is that with the “Big Guns” approach in play, you don’t really need “small guns,” “smaller guns,” or a “no gun” alternative approach, or approaches.

Who believes in discipline anymore?

Who believes in discipline anymore?

The lawyer track is about the “one size, fits all” mentality. It is not about the “loose lips, sink ships” reality, or accepting the fact that there are third generation torpedoes and hypersonic cruise missile weapons systems that are real game-changers (metaphorically). The argument here is that just maybe, “ART imitates life.” In a town that likes to think that it makes movies, the parallel logic should not be so hard to understand and apply.

 

Please do not get me wrong. I would love it if the three (3) lawyers involved, two of which are working virtually for free, actually could prevail in federal court against the 10 or 12 very experienced and capable federal lawyers, and city lawyers, and private $800 per hour corporation lawyers that are arrayed against them.

However, when stakes are as high as they are for Albuquerque, for Central Avenue, for Route 66, and the future, would it be unreasonable to think that someone might be willing to arrange for a few thousand dollars to be devoted to a “Plan B?”

The federal hearing to hear the Motion for an Injunction to “stop the ART Project” in Albuquerque is set to begin On July 11, 2016, just three (3) weeks from now.

Three weeks is not a lot of time to come up with plans, communicate ideas and possibilities, and to get everyone on board in the “Stop ART” effort to just totally be calm and chill if the lawyers come up empty and join (metaphorically) Davy Jones in his locker. This (alternative) good use of time could happen, but right now it is Not happening. I really wish it were not so.

I’ve tried very hard to obtain a location for an exhibit that communicates why Central Avenue and Route 66 are so important and so loved in Albuquerque – just the way it is, but that could easily and inexpensively be made so much better.

The exhibit would also present the BRT/ART Project just the way it has been planned, with HDR Drawings and plans, the real deal, not the flash-drive type illustrations that the Mayor Berry Team promotes.

"Pay to Play" fare machines are at the heart of the ART Project.

“Pay to Play” fare machines, white polka dots, and a pastel colored Route 66 corridor, are at the heart of the ART Project.

If people could actually see every page of the plans, end-to-end, arranged on a table, even the few supporters of the project, I believe, would move to be quickly against it.

The exhibit has been planned, would be fun, would be inexpensive to do, and is very doable. The problem is time, time is running out in the “Land of Mañana.” And with time running out the question for many, both businesses and people, is it time to leave, or time to stay and fight?

I need a little help here, people. Plan “B” takes a bit of time, a bit of money too. I may work for free, but ink and paper, posters, things like that really aren’t free, or “free and easy.”

My email address is cityofnikko@gmail.com

 

BECAUSE CLEVELAND IS SO MUCH LIKE ALBUQUERQUE

New Mexico Business Weekly

Original Article by Damon Scott – Editorial Researcher
October 18, 2012 – Thursday (7:05 AM MDT)

Albuquerque officials were in Cleveland this week in the hopes of gathering ideas that will improve and expand the city’s transit system.

City directors and business people toured Cleveland’s bus rapid transit system Oct. 17. The transit system in Cleveland, is also known as The HealthLine. It began operations in 2008. (6.6 mile route distance is HERE.)

[See: Healthline BRT Station in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, so much like Route 66 in Albuquerque?]

The HealthLine comes within a half mile of more than 200,000 employees and 58,000 households. In three years its ridership increased more than 60 percent over the regular bus routes that formerly ran along the corridor.

[See: How within seven (7) years the BRT system has all but eliminated ALL car traffic, and most pedestrian traffic, and all bicycle traffic, on the BRT corridor HERE – August 2015 Google image.]

[See: At the same intersection pictured above, the “FOR LEASE” signs for empty businesses in 2015 in downtown Cleveland are very evident HERE.]

[See: So many empty businesses after 7 years of BRT in downtown Cleveland – HERE, and HERE.]

[See: How the Federal Express and UPS trucks entirely block the only car traffic lane while they “do their business.” HERE. Note: There is so little traffic left that nobody cares if cars use the “BUS ONLY” lanes left in Cleveland now.]

“We believe that The HealthLine and a potential future bus rapid transit system in Albuquerque could share many commonalities,” Bruce Rizzieri, director of ABQ Ride said in a news release. “An Albuquerque [bus rapid transit system] running along Central [Avenue] could help revitalize this corridor — similar to the revitalization [in Cleveland] and could provide more timely transit service … ”

Some of the attributes of the system include dedicated lanes and strategically located stations, not just stops, according to officials.

The HealthLine has also helped spur new developments in the form of the rehabilitation of old buildings into housing and retail centers, as well as major expansions of a nearby university, museum and hospital.

“I’m really impressed with the renaissance of this area of Cleveland … and the revitalization,” Kurt Browning, an Albuquerque developer/builder said. “And I think there’s probably opportunities like this along Central Avenue — [on] old Route 66 in Albuquerque.”

The trip is part of ABQ Ride’s “Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit” study. Beginning November 20, ABQ Ride will schedule a series of six public meetings to get ideas and opinions from the public about the project.

Details of the time and locations of meetings are not yet available.

Note: Reproduced here as a vital document pertinent to public knowledge and discourse pursuant to the expenditure of very large amounts of public money.

Bruce Rizzieri – Director, City of Albuquerque Transit Department (aka: ABQ Ride).

Kurt Browning – Chief Development Officer, Titan Development.

Note: So many of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project images used on the brtabq.com website are images picked up on this 2012 visit to Cleveland (Ohio). The demographic description of Cleveland is HERE. Cleveland has a declining population, is 53% African American, 10% Hispanic, and has virtually no Native Americans. The city is 325 miles east of the starting point of Route 66 in Chicago.

The claims that “BRT” is behind the $3.5 billion “reinvestment” in Cleveland is spurious. Even if it were true, the reality is that in the last two years most downtown “investment” schemes in Cleveland have stopped or stalled, as the photographs of today’s Cleveland (linked above) clearly show and demonstrate.

Why would anyone with reasonable intelligence think that the wet, “water city” of Midwest Cleveland is anything like the very dry “desert city” of the West, Albuquerque?

SAVING CENTRAL AND KEEPING ROUTE 66 WELL AND ALIVE

The Mayor of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, has come up with a proposal that would destroy Route 66 through Albuquerque, and with that destruction, would destroy many of the historic landmarks and businesses and places along Central Avenue, the right-of-way where Route 66 lives.

Pursuant to a proposed BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) scheme, he plans to replace the traditional black asphalt of Route 66 with expensive, and garish, pastel colored cement. Instead of the beautiful landscaped medians and trees, he plans to construct elevated and dangerous bus platforms and exclusive “bus lanes” where vintage automobiles, motorcycles, and other cars and trucks will never be allowed to travel.

Instead of the traditional white lines of Route 66 he plans to put in more U-turn signs, and lanes, than ever existed in the 2,456 total mileage of all of Route 66 across America. And this would occur in just the short length of 8.75 miles of the project. It’s madness.

However, that is just the beginning of the Mayor’s madness. If one studies his “plans,” his “proposal,” his drawings, and illustrations, and the antics associated with the whole way he has gone about it, meaning calling BRT “ART,” and thinking it is Art, then one can only come to the conclusion that Mayor Berry is artless, if not totally clueless.

These are strong words. But, when a City that could benefit from the good life is, instead, condemned by a bad Mayor with a bad project, to die, holding back on speaking up, and speaking the truth, and stating things forcefully, is best not condemned. In these economic times there are few chances for second chances; in Albuquerque there is no chance for ruining the City and then being able to once again “start over.”

THE BERRY PLAN:

The “Berry Plan” is really quite simple. Use free federal dollars to make lots of money for “contractor friends,” then ask these friends to finance the “Berry Run” for Governor in year 2018. Then, as governor, repeat, repeat, until the financial coffers run dry, and the bonding runs dry, and the debt for the (failed, mishandled) projects takes just about everyone onto a financial “road to ruin.”

Phase I is the BRT/ART Project. It involves two long years of the destruction, deconstruction, and eventually partial reconstruction of Central. It involves millions of cubic yards of concrete and cement, tons and tons of rebar (reinforcing steel) all sold to Albuquerque by, and to the benefit of the “Berry Boys.”

Proposed Denver & disaster at the Route 66 De Anza Motel.

Official cabq proposed “Denver disaster” at the site of the historic Route 66 De Anza Motel.

The concrete is colored to a “Santa Fe brown – adobe theme park type color – with splashes of turquoise to match Caribbean type skies. Big white dots add a polka dot effect. The tent-top type BRT bus loading platforms are borrowed from the Denver Airport designs. Berry has thought of everything, except for the infamous murals.

The “bus loading platforms,” misrepresented by Berry as “Stations,” are to be built in the middle of the street, which makes them uniquely dangerous, and also helps to obstruct the efficient movement of trucks and cars. He proves his hatred for cars by getting rid of over half the Central Avenue, Route 66, lanes and even narrows the lanes left to a width of just 11 feet, exactly the width of a Federal Express truck, or UPS truck, or film truck, with mirrors.

Bumper Cars

Bumper Cars

Berry must have really liked “bumper cars” when he was a kid, because now his goal seems to be proposing, and playing, “bumper buses.”

The reality problem is that the real buses and trucks, and even cars, don’t have the big wide rubber baby-buggy bumpers that the real electric ‘blasts from the past’ had when young Berry was playing at the wheel.

I could go on, and on, about the Mayor Berry madness and the damage and carnage that it seems clear that his project and plan will certainly bring.

The only real question seems to be, “Who will put a stop to the Berry madness, and when will the stop to it occur?” The daily damage toll is rapidly rising.

ALBUQUERQUE BRT/ART PROJECT – TOO BIG NOT TO FAIL

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

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

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

Designing bridges for fun.

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

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

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

brt – BUS RAPID TRANSIT

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

the berry brt (‘BB’) project

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

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

Why?, would be a reasonable question.

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

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

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

Cement BRT Guideway

Cement BRT Guideway

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

the not so great albuquerque wall

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

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

Berry's Technicolor glasses.

Berry’s Technicolor glasses.

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

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

TRASH WALLOW TUESDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayor Berry talks trash.

Mayor Berry talks trash.

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

One picture is worth 1,000 words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

THE DESERT SANDS SILVER MOON HAS SET

Route 66 is so complex, yet so simple.

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

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

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

Allentown, PA cares about historic streets.

Allentown, PA cares about historic streets despite economic reversals.

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

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

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

Early HiwayHouse Route 66 sign.

Early HiwayHouse in Albuquerque Route 66 sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

¡En español!

This website, busbasics.org, is now bilingual.

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

Two languages, one state.

Two languages, one state.

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

We listen, we see, we are here.

We listen, we see, we are here.

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

Enjoy. Disfrutar.

GUANTANAMERA ALBUQUERQUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watching the madness from an ADA perspective.

Watching the madness from an ADA perspective.

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

Two new water service connections.

Two new water service connections.

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

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

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

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

Guantanamera

Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera
Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera

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

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

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

Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

Guantanamera in English

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

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

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

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