Councilor wants more improvements from Albuquerque Rapid Transit project

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque City Councilor says if a massive transit improvement comes through her district, it needs more than what it’s planned to do.

District 3 Councilor Klarissa Peña is expected to introduce a bill Monday at City Council that says if the Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus system goes forward as planned, the project must also finance “street-scaping” on Central between Sunset and Coors.

With the ART plan, Central is on track for a whole new look. The ART would add dedicated bus lanes, raised platforms and new traffic signals. The changes would stretch from Tramway to 98th, taking out medians in the road.

Those changes have Peña worried.

“The desire of Councilor Peña, which is understandable, would like to have that landscaping replaced so that we continue to have a beautiful area,” Gilbert Montano, with Mayor Berry’s office, said.

Peña’s required improvements, according to the bill, include more trees, bushes and lighting, something residents can get behind.

“I would love to see it have more grass, or like flowers in the center and lights, like make it look pretty,” resident Edward Fuentes said.

The bill also says a sidewalk like the ones currently on West Central wouldn’t be acceptable because the speed limit in the area is more than 30 miles per hour. Instead, it would require ‘streetscaping’ like the ones in Nob Hill that have a landscape barrier separating the sidewalk from the street.

“I think Nob Hill is a gold standard, absolutely, and I think that every part of the city deserves that same gold standard,” Montano said.

Residents agree.

“Nob Hill’s real pretty up that way,” resident Sylvia Romero said.

KRQE News 13’s Madeline Schmitt asked Romero, “Do you think this area deserves the same thing?”

“Yes I do,” she said.

It’s a contrast the City acknowledges.

“The goal of the City and the administration is to make Albuquerque as beautiful as we possibly can and I know that area of town does need some attention,” Montano said.

The ART system is already expected to cost millions of dollars. The City says this sort of additional project would likely cost a few more million dollars.

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