Presbyterian plans could impact historic Albuquerque area

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Presbyterian Hospital is working on renovations, including plans to improve parking. That means changes that could impact an historic Albuquerque neighborhood.

Tucked behind the busy traffic on Central in front of the hospital, cyclists get around on Silver Avenue’s Bicycle Bouleveard.

It is an area people in the Silver Hill Historic District want to protect, “significant for its tree-lined parkway,” as a sign in the neighborhood declares.

However, an initial plan for Presbyterian Hospital renovations would have done away with much of that on a stretch of Silver from Spruce to Sycamore.

The plan was presented to concerned neighbors on Tuesday night, showing the removal of that block of Silver in order to join two hospital parking lots.

“We have multiple renovations going on, and we were discussing improvement to our parking situation here at the hospital downtown,” said Sandy Podley, vice president for hospital operations in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas.

“I think they realized that it’s not a good idea to interrupt and disrupt the Bike Boulevard, the walking path, the historic tree-lined median that’s been here for decades, nearly a century,” said James Montalbano, president of the Silver Hill Neighborhood Association.

“Yeah, that would be an unfortunate loss. It is a really pretty street and, I mean, we named it Bicycle Boulevard,” said Cyclist Susan Sisson.

Since hearing feedback like that, Presbyterian is going to be drawing up a new plan.

“I haven’t seen the design. I don’t think that the one portion of the boulevard would be there. It would be a parking lot, but it would be tailored in a way to make safe bicycle and pedestrian traffic, maintain the trees and put in a bike route,” Podley said.

Neighbors are looking forward to seeing exactly what that would look like next week.

“It’s good that they’re going to revisit their plan,” Montalbano said.

The new design for the area could be ready as early as Monday.

Presbyterian is hoping to go before the city’s Development Review Board on Wednesday April 13.

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