ART project criticized over design elements missing from final plans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you paid attention to the animation and renderings of what the Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus line would look like when it’s done, you may have noticed a couple of fancy elements are missing. Now a major critic of ART is calling it a case of bait and switch.

Renderings show nine miles of red concrete running up and down Central Avenue marking the dedicated bus lanes.

“The goal is certainly admirable to run up and down Central much more efficiently,” said Alex Stelzner.

However, that colored concrete will be far more sparse than planned. Instead of the entire bus route, it will be limited to the areas around the bus platforms.

ART’s original design also featured colorful polka dotted pedestrian walkways at stations — another feature cut from the final version.

“I’m not very surprised. This is not the first part of this project that they said one thing and didn’t follow through,” said Joseph Millard.

These cutbacks didn’t escape the eye of Donald Clayton, an ardent critic of the ART project who started a petition last year to put the bus system on the ballot.

On his website, he calls leaving out the red concrete and colorful crosswalks a bait and switch, used to sell the ART to Albuquerque.

KRQE News 13 took those concerns to ART spokesperson Joanie Griffin.

“It costs over a $1 million to do the red concrete for the entire nine miles. So we opted to have the red concrete leading into and out of the stations,” Griffin said.

Griffin said cutting the use of red concrete was an effort to save money and stay within the budget.

She said the bright polka dots were nixed by the city’s traffic control experts because of fears they’d be too confusing for drivers

More than 85 percent of the project is done. Partial service should start around Thanksgiving. The system will be fully up and running by the end of the year.


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