ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque City Council took the first step Monday night, moving forward with a sidewalk plan to help businesses hit hard during the Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction.
The idea is that wider sidewalks can increase safety, walkability and commerce.
In historic Nob Hill, sidewalk space can be significant.
Pat Davis, city councilor for District 6, said, “If you own a cafe, and you can add a couple of extra tables, that’s a couple thousand dollars a year.”
“Some people were getting a lot of extra room out in front of their store, and some people weren’t getting anything at all,” Davis explained.
“What we found was, we could make the driving lanes in Nob Hill just a little bit more narrow to give shops a little more room to have extra sidewalks,” he said.
Davis and the Berry Administration worked out the sidewalk concerns so businesses that didn’t initially get bigger sidewalks during ART construction would have the chance to. The compromise moved forward unanimously at city council Monday night.
“These business owners were expecting more sidewalk, and it didn’t end up in the final bill, but they ought to get what they signed on for,” one citizen said during the meeting.
The new plan helps businesses not already getting their ART sidewalk upgrades. The areas affected include Central from Girard to Washington.
Councilor Davis put up $500,000 from his city council district’s funds.
In turn, the city put up $600,000 in transit funds to complete the International District ART station at Central and San Pedro.
“Once ART construction is in place, we are going to go block by block in Nob Hill and take a look at what’s already been done, and if there’s opportunities to do more to make it more walkable and more friendly for businesses,” Davis said.
Davis said businesses that wanted sidewalk improvements also didn’t want prolonged mass construction, so together they will evaludate any sidewalk improvements after ART is finished in October.
The sidewalk money must be used by May 31, 2018.
The city council will make the final vote on the resolution in two weeks.