City to roll out new BRT plans for University neighborhood

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city is set to roll out designs for their bus rapid transit or BRT proposal through the University Heights neighborhood, Tuesday evening. It’s not the first time. These are modified designs based on feedback from area residents. Now, people who live, work and play in the area will have another chance to see how they like the altered designs.

The rapid transit system is set to run through the center of Central. It would span all the way from 98th to Tramway. The city has been working on the plans since 2012. Three years later, they think they have a plan area residents can get on board with.

There would be loading stations at Central and Cornell, Bryn Mar and University. Plus, signalized crosswalks at Stanford, Cornell, Yale and Girard with another crosswalk at University.

The city says they’re planning for safe, signalized U-turns at spots like Stanford, Cornell and Yale because they intend to do away with many left turn lanes.

Before, some residents were concerned about how the system would affect businesses along Vassar, Princeton, Columbia and Harvard since you wouldn’t be able to go westbound down these streets.

Yet the city says there will be westbound access via signalized U-turns down roads like Stanford and Cornell and Yale.

The city says they showed the plans to some of the people with the University Heights neighborhood and the feedback was positive. Yet, KRQE News 13 spoke to one resident who isn’t so sure about the modifications.

“The whole area’s going to be impacted by an influx of traffic,” said Joe Gallegos with the University Heights Neighborhood Association.

Gallegos says he’d rather the city simply improve the existing bus system instead of transforming Central.

The idea behind BRT is to speed things up for drivers and commuters, but Gallegos worries the plan will compromise pedestrian safety and impact business.

He says he wants to see wider sidewalks, but says that won’t happen with the current proposal. Gallegos says he’s pleased the city wants to keep medians in place and have only one lane for buses, but he worries, without turn lanes, businesses won’t get the traffic they should. He says diverting traffic down other streets will only jeopardize pedestrians and cyclists.

“I can’t see that’s going to be a beneficial thing for the huge capacity of population in this neighborhood to have a bus line running through the center,” Gallegos said.

The meeting is Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at 120 Vassar Street SE.

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