Thursday, December 18, 2008

All the Way to Santa Fe

My son and I just got back from our first Rail Runner trip to Santa Fe. Despite the gloomy, rainy weather the journey was fabulous. Met lots of interesting people both on the train and in Santa Fe who are so enthusiastic about what the RR means for this area. Lots of talk about how cool it would be to take RR to a downtown arena in ABQ.

For those who haven't been to the Santa Fe Rail Yards, I can only say that it is impressive (shops, restaurants, galleries, farmers market and an amazing park) and really offers ABQ a vision (challenge?) of what can be achieved around the ATC.

REI at the Rail Yards

Packed Parking Lot at Bernalillo

Got a little info on upcoming stations. A stop near Ceser Chavez that would serve Lobo and Isotopes games has been approved and has funding. There's a strong possibility this will be available for football games in the fall. Work is progressing on getting the Sandia Station started. Nothing iminent but it is in the works. Hopefully the opening of the Isleta Station will spur the stake holders to get this going.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stimulus Package to Include ABQ Streetcar?

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting this week Mayor Chávez made a pitch for a Main Street Stimulus Package that would locally include two large scale solar projects, a wind farm and construction of the oft-discussed street car along Central Avenue.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From Grate to ...


Learn how to make Albuquerque streets great.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Stadium Name: The Rock

Three-quarter serious idea: Rename University Stadium The Rock. Goes with The Pit. Sounds a hell of a lot cooler than playing at University Stadium. This could even be a salute to Rocky Long for his time as a player and coach. If you did a cool rock/boulder structure out front, it could become iconic (plus it would tie into the Sandias). I can see it now... “Welcome to The Rock for New Mexico Bowl 7 between UNM and Texas.” Maybe, rename a seating section near the field The Rockpile or something like that. You’d have three cool stadiums names: The Lab, The Pit and The Rock.

Full serious idea: Completely renovate the area around the stadiums (landscaping, restaurant and bar with patio seating, hotel, Rail Runner Shuttle, pedestrian improvements) to make it an area where people want to spend time at instead of driving up, parking on decaying asphalt and then getting the hell out.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


For sure Houston is, to borrow from the title of Thomas Friedman's new book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded (at least on the highway)," but a recent visit revealed a concerted effort by the city to make Houston more attractive and more pedestrian friendly. Two(!) downtown stadiums clustered near the Convention Center, serviced by light rail (slight walk required), represent a model we can only hope ABQ is able to successfully emulate, albeit on a smaller scale. While we blew it with the location of Isotopes Park (my opinion), lets hope we are able to get the vibrant downtown arena area great cities need.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Pit's New Look

UNM just released drawings for the Pit's $60 million makeover which could begin in January 2009 and is estimated to take two years to complete.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rail Runner to Santa Fe Images

Service won't begin to Santa Fe for another month (late December) but here are some images from the route (both real and rendered).

South of La Bajada Hill.

599 Station.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Renderings + Favorable Report for Events Center

ABQ Journal reports today (October 29) that initial consultant report on the proposed downtown events center is favorable: "Albuquerque's young, growing population looks strong enough to support a Downtown event center." Top image is overall design; middle image is of retail; third image is of hotel. For more info see: ABQ Future

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Plan to Market Gold Avenue to Retailers

From the September 12th edition of the New Mexico Business Weekly:

Frustrated by the empty storefronts at 100 Gold Ave. SW, retail tenants in the historic Downtown district are taking marketing matters into their own hands. They have come up with a new leasing campaign called “Slivers of Gold” to entice successful retailers throughout the Duke City to open more stores along Gold Avenue.

Mayor Martin Chávez will host an invitation-only Sept. 30 Slivers of Gold gala that will invite established retailers to see the vacant 14,000 square feet at 100 Gold as well as the entire Gold Avenue shopping district.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Traffic Circle Success

Bruce Andriatch of the Buffalo News on that areas new traffic circles...

A funny thing happened to traffic on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga the other day: It kept moving.

Cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses approached the intersection with Cleveland Drive from the north and the south — even as vehicles were coming from Cleveland in two directions toward Harlem at the exact same time — and the wheels never stopped turning. They slowed down, but they never stopped. It was mesmerizing...

In his just-published book, “Traffic,” Tom Vanderbilt notes that the traditional intersection is where fully half of all road crashes occur, partly because there are 56 potential points of conflict where your car can hit another car or a pedestrian. In a roundabout, the conflict number falls to 16. One study he cites found that at 24 intersections that had been converted from signs and lights into roundabouts, the number of crashes fell by 40 percent and fatal crashes by 90 percent.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Spectacular Sandias

Saturday, August 9th. Gee, no billboards to block the view. How nice.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

No Car Nob Hill (This past Sunday anyway)

Nob Hill from Richmond to Carlisle was closed to traffic this past Sunday (8/3) from 1 pm - 7 pm. I'm all for anything that makes walking safer but this event seemed less than well thought out. A merchant remarked that he only heard about it that morning. For these events to work there needs to be things happening in the street — there were a couple of bands, but there also needs to be art, vendors, food etc.). Possibly because of the heat (99 degrees) the streets were rather empty. I salute the organizers for the effort but it seems for this to work it needs to be more of an event. Ultimately the answer for Nob Hill, I believe, is at least one more light between Richmond and Carlisle (this seems so obvious) and more bulb outs.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Imbibe: Great Vibe on Central

Excellent new bar on Central and Richmond in Nob Hill. Superb roof top patio.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Consultant Recommends Downtown to San Mateo Streetcar

Dan McKay of the Albuquerque Journal reports that consultants are recommending a streetcar line between Downtown and San Mateo. He writes that "Albuquerque should focus on building a modern streetcar system along Central Avenue between Downtown and San Mateo if it decides to proceed with the project, according to a consultant’s report.
That stretch of the city is the best bet for a successful start to the system, the presentation from Leland Consulting Group said. Demographics and market forces in the area would support the project, the group said."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wanted: More Lots with Shade

Bad pun coming but how cool would it be if more ABQ parking lots had shade and pedestrian friendly walking space like this Flying Star on Juan Tabo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Get 'er Done

The City Council has agreed to study the viability of a massive downtown arena/hotel/entertainment project near Broadway and Central. Here's why I think this location and this project make sense:

(1) Ancillary Benefits — not only would this project benefit downtown redevelopment which appears to be at a tipping point, but equally important it will help capture millions of lost convention/tourism dollars as described in a recent New Mexico Business Weekly piece "Report says tourism is at a crossroad" (May 30 - June 5, 2008). According to the story, ABQ convention business has been dropping steadily since 1994 in part because the city doesn't have the necessary convention or hotel space. 

(2) Transportation — If we've learned anything from $4 a gallon gas, it's that we need transportation options. A Broadway and Central location allows attendees of arena events to travel by car, Rapid Ride, and most importantly, Rail Runner. It's pretty cool to think that because of Rail Runner, events at this location would be able to tap the Belen and Santa Fe markets from day one. 

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Breath of Fresh Media Air

I find the ABQ Journal maddening from it's unsightly web page, which seems to mirror the sign strewn I-25 to its failure to cover meaningful topics in depth, so it is was with great pleasure that I recently discovered The New Mexico Independent. Affiliated with the Center for Independent Media, this new web-based venture presents topics of importance and depth — politics, environment, growth, poverty, and education, to name only a few — in a balanced, interesting way.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Trader Joe's Downtown?

Brendisimo has the coolest blog on Duke City Fix. His "Possibilities" feature — which these images come from — articulates well what this city could become. 

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trader Joe's Coming to ABQ Uptown

Channel 4 (on April 11) reported that a  Trader Joe's is set to open at ABQ Uptown early 2009.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Anasazi Lofts Rising — April 4th 8:02 am

Took this with my iPhone in the car so not the best pix, but I think it still conveys how architecturally interesting this building is going to be. 

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rail Runner to Santa Fe Animations

These are screenshots from animations showing what Rail Runner will look like as it makes its way to Santa Fe. Particularly interesting is to see how it goes under the I-25 and then onto the median. These can be viewed here and here. Also, Rail Runner has just added a new construction link with updates on the Santa Fe phase. 

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Circling Safety

Sometimes lost in all the debate on the red light cameras is their intent: to reduce accidents. As a victim of a red light runner in which both my air bags deployed and my mini-van was totaled, I am acutely aware of how dangerous intersections can be. Maybe we can move the debate from installing more red light cameras, to installing more traffic circles. The evidence of their ability to reduce accidents and slow, or calm, traffic is pretty strong (see graphics). Plus they are aesthetically pleasing and protect pedestrians as demonstrated by the just opened circle on UNM's North Campus (see picture). 

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not Just a Studio Town

Mesa Del Sol is adding another solar manufacturing firm – Schott Solar — and Fidelity Investments to the development. According to the ABQ Journal jobs at these two sites could grow to 2,000+.    

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Walk This Way

Nob Hill bulb outs improve walkability. It would be nice to see more of these in the city.