Councilor says resolution could ‘shut down’ ART

ART construction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A city councilor says his plan could shut down the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project after it’s up and running.

Read the full resolution here »

City councilor Dan Lewis is introducing a resolution to study the effects of ART out on Central.

Critics question whether this is just a political move from the councilor, who is running for mayor.

Driving along Route 66, it’s clear ART construction is well underway with some of the station platforms already built.

However, Lewis said it is not too late to reconsider the plan, which was created under Mayor Richard J. Berry’s administration.

“I still believe that this is the wrong project and certainly not the project that the people in the city of Albuquerque wanted,” Lewis said.

He’s introducing a City Council resolution to study traffic, economic and environmental data in the area with ART compared with one year and two years before it.

“If the system is going to be built, then this is just good business. Let’s make sure it does what it says it’s going to do,” Lewis said.He said his study would cover the following areas:

Traffic

  •  Traffic volume along Central Avenue
  • Traffic volume along residential side streets near Central Avenue
  • Transit ridership
  • Pedestrian volume on Central Avenue
  • Truck volume on residential side streets

Economy

  • Changes in sales figures
  • The number of businesses that have closed
  • Changes in property values

Environmental Health:

  • Air quality
  • Vehicle noise
  • Collision data before and after A.R.T.

If studies find ART hasn’t done a lot of good, Lewis wants to open up dedicated bus lanes to all traffic again.

Mayor Berry did not answer questions on camera.

A spokesperson provided the following statement:

We understand and expect the 15 mayoral candidates will have many ideas for the city and we respect their ability to present those. The design team and our community have worked diligently for years to ensure that ART is a world class project that will bring economic opportunity for Central Avenue and the people of Albuquerque.

Other ART supporters say too much time and money has been invested to turn back now.

“It’d be like creating a wonderful 5-course dinner and saying never mind after the salad, I’m full, not taking advantage of the rest of what was already done,” said Keith West, owner of Clear Light New Mexico, a cedar company along the ART route.

West said he is suspicious of the motives behind the resolution.

“It sounds to me like a really great political stunt.”

However, Lewis points to his vote last year against accepting nearly $70 million in federal funding for ART.

“Look, I’ve been working on this. I voted on this before I ever decided to run for mayor. I voted against it,” Lewis said.