City preservation commission delays decision on ART

Neighborhood group proposes comprehensive changes in EDo

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Faced with giving the okay to the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit project’s proposed changes in the historic Huning Highland/EDo neighborhood, the Landmark Urban Conservation Commission elected to push its decision back a month on Wednesday.

Commissioners cited concerns over whether the proposed station at Walter Street and Central Avenue was designed in a way that respected the character and history of the area in making their decision.

Also factoring into the decision appeared to be a comprehensive suggestion for changes to ART made in a proposal given to planners and the city this week by the EDo Neighborhood Association and Huning Highlands Historic District Association.

Rob Dickson, the volunteer executive director of the EDo Neighborhood Association, says the groups support ART because it would slow down traffic, help business and make for a more walkable neighborhood.

“We’re going to get a street that operates at the speed limit and that’s the best part of it,” said Dickson.

However, in its plan, the group proposes a number of tweaks to the city’s current plan for implementing ART from the train tracks to I-25.

One proposed change, adding more on-street parking along Central through the neighborhood to the tune of 52 spots according to Dickson. Another change would eliminate the designated bus lane for ART for one block near Innovate ABQ.

The Walter Street ART station was also the subject of criticism. Neighbors are asking for a canopy to be added to the stop to protect riders from the elements.

Current city plans call for the left turn lane at Elm Street to be eliminated. Citing the need for guests to find the Hotel Parq Central, the neighborhood is asking for that left turn lane to stay.

“We do believe ABQ RIDE, our transit agency, is going to see things the same way,” Dickson said.

A spokesperson for the project tells KRQE News 13 that project planners will review the proposed changes to see what fits and what doesn’t.

Several opponents of the project spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, urging the commission to delay approval until after pending lawsuits against the city are resolved.

The Landmark Urban Conservation Commission is set to take up the issue again in May.

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