ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Businesses along Central Avenue in Nob Hill asked that their sidewalks be widened to increase foot traffic. But when the final Albuquerque Rapid Transit plans were released, that wasn’t in there. Now a city councilor is fighting to make that happen.
Councilor Pat Davis says his proposal would add an extra two feet of sidewalk along parts of Nob Hill. For businesses, that two feet is a big deal.
“I think it would be a good idea to add the two feet on the sidewalk as long as it doesn’t add to the construction time,” said George Dilks.
George Dilks, owner of My Vinyl Offer in Nob Hill says not only has the ART construction made it difficult for customers to come in, but it’s stopped foot traffic as well.
“There is no sidewalk at all right now, and this needs to end to get it back,” Dilks said.
Councilor Pat Davis says he asked businesses in his area before the project what they would want done. The big request was to have the sidewalks widened. He took that request to the mayor, but it wasn’t included in the final plans.
“Somewhere between those early meetings and the final plan, those sidewalks got removed and our businesses were unhappy,” Councilor Davis said.
Councilor Davis says he asked why and was told certain areas only got certain things, like wider sidewalks or more trees. The city says 97 percent of the nine mile ART stretch is getting sidewalks of at least six feet. That other 3 percent is getting sidewalks that are 4 feet wide — and that’s where Councilor Davis wants change.
Monday night, he will be proposing to the city council to widen those sidewalks by two feet to help businesses bring back their customers that were lost during the ART construction.
“It makes it more ADA accessible, there’s room for people to do sidewalk sales, even a couple of cafes might be able to add a couple of seats outside when it’s nice,” Councilor Davis said.
Dilks says the extra sidewalk space is something his new business desperately needs.
“I actually have a lot of displays that I could put out, if the sidewalks were bigger, there are sidewalk sale displays I could put out,” Dilks said.
If the proposal is approved, Councilor Davis says he will do his best to make sure the planning begins immediately to help businesses reap the benefits of the extra space.
“It’s what makes Nob Hill walkable and more friendly, and it’s common sense. It’s a promise we should’ve kept since the beginning,” Councilor Davis said.
If the city council passes the bill, a city spokesperson says the extra construction could cost taxpayers around $500,000, but Councilor Davis says it shouldn’t cost that much to fund.
Councilor Davis says if the plan is approved, he will incorporate the construction into the existing ART construction so that more construction time isn’t needed.