Friday, June 10, 2016

ART, BRT: In The News (An Ongoing Blog Post)

BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit. A BRT generally serves a heavily trafficked corridor with bus service featuring dedicated lanes and short waiting times. Albuquerque is in the process of initiating a BRT which it calls ART — Albuquerque Rapid Transit.

There has been opposition to ART by most (but not all) of the businesses along the initial ten-mile route, as well as by a number of other residents opposed to spending money on ART. Lately, that opposition has turned heated. I’ve compiled an incomplete but representative list of links to articles, reports, editorials, and news coverage, as well as to some articles about some BRT projects elsewhere that help provide context for Albuquerque’s BRT. (Many of these were published at the time they appeared on the side link “This Week in Albuquerque” on Bus Stories.) The first link is to the city’s website presentation of BRT, followed by links in reverse chronological order.

Central Avenue - Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) 

06/09/16: City begins buying property along Central Avenue for ART.

06/09/16: Dear Alibi (Letter to the Editor)

06/01/16: ART construction scheduled to start this summer.

05/31/16: ART project to avoid holiday disruptions.

05/31/16: City releases construction plans for Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

05/31/16: Albuquerque Rapid Transit Releases Preliminary Construction Plan

05/26/16: What ABQ can learn from Cleveland’s rapid transit project.

05/25/16: Newscity: Legal Issues Plague ART

05/16/16: It’s More than a Bus: Democracy, Gentrification and Urbanicide in Albuquerque.

05/15/16: Small Business Resource Collaborative prepares for ART construction.

05/13/16: A chronology of London’s rapid transit debate. (Sound familiar?)

05/13/16: Back and Forth: Crews restore medians scheduled to be torn out again for ART.

05/11/16: Utility work begins to prepare for ABQ Rapid Transit.

05/11/16: Construction crews already tearing up Central to make way for ART.

05/11/16: ART Utility Work Starts

05/11/16: Provo Mayor Addresses Concerns with Bus Rapid Transit System. (Sound familiar?)

05/0916: Indy council sends transit tax hike to voters. (Follow up to previous links below re: the Indianapolis Rapid Transit project)

05/07/16: Albuquerque evolving into a ‘3.0 city’. (The Rapid Transit project is cited as a positive example of the evolution.)

05/06/16: Criticism of bus-only lanes contradicted by data. (Dedicated bus lanes are a feature of ART.)

05/05/16: What is Bus Rapid Transit And Why Does Metro Want To Build It Across Los Angeles? (Sound familiar?) 

05/04/16: Coal, Lead Residents Want Answers on ART Safety Impact

05/03/16: Your reactions to ‘ART boondoggle’ Viewpoint.

05/02/16: Viewpoint: ART boondoggle now faces legal scrutiny.

04/26/16: Albuquerque crews play catch up at trashy bus stops.

04/26/16: Provo gives approval needed for “bus rapid transit” project, bucking protest from residents. (Sound familiar?)

04/21/16: Lead/Coal not answer to ART.

04/21/16: Opponents say city misled FTA on ART project.

04/21/16: Central Avenue loses and gains trees in transit project.

04/19/16: Bus-only lanes [in Crystal City, VA] saving time. Dedicated bus lanes are a feature of ART.

04/19/16: Provo residents seek to block new “bus rapid transit” project; council delays vote. (Sound familiar?)

04/18/16: Cartoon depicts ART controversy on newspaper cover.

04/14/16: In face of rapid transit, group seeks to beef up visibility for Central Ave. businesses.

04/13/16: Berry explains decision to back ABQ rapid transit.

04/13/16: Landmarks commission questions ART project.

04/13/16: City preservation commission delays decision on ART.

04/13/16: Historic preservation group to hear Albuquerque Rapid Transit project arguments.

04/05/16: ART opponents file lawsuits to stop project.

04/04/16: ABQ Rapid Transit project faces legal challenges.

03/31/16: Miami-Area Pols Revolt Against BRT, Demand Light Rail. (I believe most local residents will appreciate the irony, given Albuquerques recent history re: light rail.)

03/28/16: Albuquerque Rapid Transit finalizing Plans and Schedules.

03/28/16: ART construction pushed back to July.

03/28/16: Big ART debate revolves around traffic lane width.

03/28/16: ART about to roll on 66.

03/24/16: A Game Changer for Albuquerque: Bus Rapid Transit Is a Go

03/24/16: Bus Rapid Transit Line Moves Forward in Albuquerque

03/24/16: Council Watch: Council Approves ART Funding (all but the last paragraph is devoted to the city council and ART)

03/24/16: Opportunity to Collaborate 

03/22/16: City Council votes 7-2 to approve funding for ART transit system.

03/22/16: City to Accept Federal ART Funds

03/22/16: Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART): A Historic Vote and Short History Lesson

03/21/16: Rapid transit debate heads to City Council on Monday night.
03/21/16: Rapid transit debate heads to City Council on Monday night.

03/21/16: Bogota’s Bus Rapid Transit System Eyed By U.S. Urban Planners

03/18/16: [Indianapolis] Bus rapid transit open houses set.
This news story from Indianapolis should look very familiar. The city’s public transportation agency, IndyGo, has scheduled public meetings about its own BRT project. There is a link below from January indicating there has already been opposition. I’ll be following that story as well since these tales of two cities look like almost the same story. (One difference: the IndyGo plan would require an income tax hike.) It might be interesting to see if Indianapolis does things differently from us, and how that works out.

03/17/16: City councilor explains his support for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project

03/17/16: Councilor supports ART on conditions.

03/17/16: Controversy continues over Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project.

03/17/16: Opposition to Art [the first letter on the linked item]

03/16/16: In Albuquerque, Rapid Transit draws ire.

03/14/16: The Battle of Route 66

03/14/16: Let's do transit right -- with monorail

03/10/16: ‘ART’ bus plan is an incomplete picture for many.

03/10/16: ART Smart?

03/09/16: Obama backs ABQ rapid transit project.

03/09/16: Petition to stop ART circulating.

03/09/16: The March 9, 2016, issue of the ABQ Free Press has an article on the ART controversy. However, the article is not linked. You can read the article on page 9 on this link to the PDF for the issue.

03/09/16: Viewpoint: ‘Hey Albuquerque, the status quo is not working’

03/08/16: UNM official: ABQ Rapid Transit will connect campus with rest of community.

03/08/16: ABQ hears from a divided, but mostly polite, audience on rapid transit. 

03/07/16: NM: Rolling Debate over ART 

03/07/16: Rapid Transit project funding officially introduced at ABQ City Council meeting.

03/07/16: Transit is only part of process.

03/05/16: Rolling debate over ART continues.

03/04/16: City Council to weigh in on divisive ART plan.

03/04/16: Albuquerque prepares for special Rapid Transit meeting.

03/03/16: Special ART Public Meeting to be Held 6-8 p.m. March 8 at Kiva Auditorium 

03/03/16: Some Grumbling Over Berry Bus Plan At City Council But Not Much More 

03/03/16: War of ART: Will the rapid transit system save or kill Albuquerque? 

03/03/16: ART's projected Downtown construction timeline revealed.

03/03/16: No ART, no sticking around

03/02/16: Skepticism, but no tense moments at Westside Transit meeting.

03/02/16: Video of the tumult at the 3/1/16 ART Project public meeting.

03/01/16: Man threatens councilor at Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project meeting.

03/01/16: ART Ache 

02/29/16: Colorful language greets mayor at ART meeting.

02/29/16: ART: worth the price? Absolutely.

02/27/16: About That Meeting 

02/27/16: Editorial: ART can make Central a destination ABQ deserves

02/26/16: BRT moves forward in Minneapolis.

02/26/16: Video of the ART Project meeting on 2/25/16

02/25/16: Public to rapid transit planners: would you continue without federal money?

02/25/16: Op-ed: Rapid Transit Chaos 

02/24/16: ART opponents mobilize, unsatisfied with city’s response to concerns.

02/24/16: Business owners still worried about city’s BRT project

02/23/16: Rapid transit assist team runs into perception challenge with Central Ave. businesses.

02/20/16: Rapid transit proposal a good move for ABQ.

02/15/16: Small business owners fear Rapid Transit system will kill businesses.

02/14/16: Meeting over BRT project turns chaotic

02/12/16: City reveals what's next for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

02/10/16: Albuquerque Rapid Transit Receives Recommendation Of Federal Funding

02/09/16: Albuquerque Rapid Transit receives recommendation for federal funding.

02/09/16: Route 66 in Albuquerque is site of fight over rapid transit.

01/30/16 and 02/21/16: An Open Letter to Mayor Berry, the City Council, and the Citizens of Albuquerque and In Defense of ART, a response to An Open Letter to Mayor Berry, the City Council,and the Citizens of Albuquerque.

01/22/16: Rapid transit moves forward despite opposition.

01/22/16: City releases plans for its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

01/18/16: The pros and cons of ABQ bus rapid transit.

01/18/16: Opposition to Indianapolis Bus Rapid Transit plan accelerates

01/12/16: New Evidence That Bus Rapid Transit Done Right Spurs Development 

11/16/15: Bus Rapid Transit would be big boost for ABQ 

11/11/15: ABQ’s BRT DOA?

11/04/15: Local rapid bus system gets national attention as it lurches forward. 

10/20/15: ABQ doesn’t need bus-rapid transit system.

10/16/15: Koch Brothers Tentacles Reach Out to Squelch Albuquerque BRT 

08/31/15: City seeks $80M for ABQ Rapid Transit on Central

08/24/15 and 09/03/15: Debate will air pros and cons of proposed $80 million bus rapid transit system and No debate, but plenty of discussion on ABQ’s bus rapid transit at forum.

08/03/15 and 08/?/15: Rapid-transit plan would be too disruptive (an opinion piece by D. Dowd Muska, Research Director, Rio Grande Foundation, and published in the Albuquerque Journal) and ABQ RIDE’s response to the Muska article. 

08/?/15: Berry’s Bus Rapid Transit: Boon or Boondoggle? (an opinion piece by Dennis Domrzalski, associate editor of the Abq Free Press and ABQ RIDE’s response to the Domrzalski article.) (The ABQ Free Press link to Domrzalskis editorial is now broken, and the paper’s search app does not return anything when the title of the piece is entered. The piece is reproduced with comments inserted by ABQ RIDE at the ABQ RIDE link. Both the opinion and response were published around August, 2015.)

07/?/15: Throwing Taxpayers Under The Bus 

02/26/15: ABQ bus rapid transit construction may begin late 2015.

01/06/15: Albuquerque Rapid Transit system could change the face of Central Avenue

12/24/14: How we got here: the evolution of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit story.

10/20/14: Albuquerque Doesn't Need Bus-Rapid Transit System

10/17/14: Albuquerque BRT system could worsen mobility in Central corridor.

03/12/14: Bus rapid transit ideas gain momentum in Albuquerque.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dear Alibi (Letter to the Editor)

Dear Alibi,

ART has not received adequate (if any) coverage from the point of view of the daily bus rider. I am 76 years of age and my husband is 86. Neither of us has a driver's license. Hence we both depend totally on public transportation despite its limitations. We fail to understand how ART will improve travel for us (the elderly) when it requires crossing to the middle of the road while dodging oncoming traffic. The same applies to parents with strollers and young children as well as the disabled.
Spare me talk of widened sidewalks. Their only advantage—if you could call it such—is to narrow traffic lanes. Their major disadvantage will be to cause further havoc to pedestrians and vehicular traffic.
How, indeed, did one arrive at the magic figure of a “two times” increase of Rapid riders? (In a car town? Really?) Can one be sure it isn't simply a hoped-for guesstimate to justify the folly of ART and the waste of taxpayers' (local and federal) hard-earned dollars?
Surely, bus riders should have been considered and—dare I say—consulted when planning such a major and costly change to the current system. If that had been done and, moreover, all properly thought out, the architects of the scheme might have better provided for the needs of the passengers rather than the coffers of the “developers.” The real need is for additional buses and bus routes, particularly north/south.
An added disadvantage for these riders will be the access to ABQ Uptown, Coronado Mall and Winrock Center. With ART, riders will have to alight the Rapid at Louisiana and cross streets for a second bus—a major, and possibly dangerous, inconvenience upon returning riders, laden with packages such as groceries from Trader Joe's and Target.
The proposal should have been put directly to those of us who actually use the transportation system, meager as it presently is. At the very least, via a referendum. Public meetings do not hold. They are all merely a sham. Vox populi is never heard. Certainly never listened to.

—Marie G. Diaz, Letters to the Editor, The Alibi, vol. 25, No, 23 (June 9-15, 2016)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

From Walnut Grove, Alabama: “It’s In There,” by Tom Brandon

Remember Wednesday Addams from the old T.V. show The Addams Family? Her clone was riding my bus. (Read the rest of the story here.)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

From NYC: “An Unscheduled Bus Stop,” by Ellen Diamond

A pleasant-faced woman climbed up the steps, leaned over, kissed the driver on the mouth and stepped off again... (Read the whole story here.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

From Portland: “My Interloper,” by Nicareeno

A car slowed on the far side of the street.  The driver rolled down the window and waved at me.

"I have to talk to you."

(Read the whole story here.)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

From Walnut Grove, Alabama: “Meow,” by Tom Brandon

It turned out the Pop-Tart was a payoff, a bribe; my good reputation had been compromised for a place in the front of the line. (Read the whole story here.)