Friday, May 29, 2009

Which Way ABQ: Portland or Denver?

Thanks to UrbanABQ for sharing this link to a PBS video "Road to the Future." Story details how federal government has subsidized sprawl by providing 90 percent of highway/freeway funding. Documentary highlights how two cities — Denver and Portland — took very different paths to transportation planning in the 1970s which has led to very different results.


• Streetcar has inspired well over 3 billion dollars in development
• Not only does streetcar deliver customers to businesses, but Portland now manufactures streetcars and reaps billions of dollars in revenue (note: Portland company is one of two Tucson is considering for their streetcars)
• Portland mayor puts their approach in capitalistic terms: We can make developers more money because we provide complete neighborhoods as opposed to communities beset by strip malls, sprawl and the assumption of cheap energy
• Urban growth boundary has created tension with rural residents who want the ability to sell small lots for sub-divisions

• See Rio Rancho (just kidding, but not completely)
• Story centers on efforts to build and complete beltway which has led to rampant sprawl

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Transportation Solution for ABQ/RR?

ABQ Journal reports (May 28, 2009) that the Mid-Region Council of Governments is studying use of so-called "light-rail on rubber" bus system for certain clogged areas of metro area.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rail Runner Connection to Taos

From: New Mexico Business Weekly:

Taos is launching a new nonstop shuttle service that will link it with the New Mexico Rail Runner Express.

The Taos Express starts June 4 and will run on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on a schedule that coincides with several Rail Runner arrival and departure times in Santa Fe. It will cost $10 per round-trip for adults. Children 10 and under will ride free.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Parq Central to Break Ground May 27

From: New Mexico Business Weekly

Developer David Oberstein will host a ground breaking for his Parq Central Hotel on May 27. At the event, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and City Councilor Isaac Benton will address around 400 invited guests. Tours of the ground floor in the 1926 former hospital will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The former Memorial Hospital, at 806 Central Ave. SW in the historic Huning Highland neighborhood, is being converted into a 75-room boutique hotel. The project required an industrial revenue bond from the city and historic tax credits from the state.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wanted: More of this kind of vision

Nice pix by Ernie Montoya of Rail Runner skirting the I-25. Lets now picture (and build) a downtown Arena area that will be a bustling entertainment zone and economic engine.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Group: Put Arena on Ballot

By Dan McKay
Copyright © 2009 Albuquerque Journal 5/3/2009
Journal Staff Writer

(Excerpts) A group pushing for a $400 million Downtown event center and hotel wants the city to get off the dime and put a tax proposal to fund the project on the ballot sooner rather than later.
It appears they have an uphill fight.

Undeterred, Steve Wedeen is leading a group of marketing, advertising and other professionals pushing for a project they say would boost tourism and lure business to the Convention Center.
"The impact is phenomenal," Wedeen said in a recent interview. "This is really an economic-stimulus package that invests in a smart, sound industry."

The city, the development team and others launched a viability assessment that was largely favorable. However, much of the evaluation came before or as the national economy was tightening last year

That hasn't deterred supporters, who say the lean market has driven down the cost of materials and labor. They argue the city might be able to build the project at a discount and be positioned to draw convention business and other activity as the economy rebounds.

Read story

My take: After riding a packed Rail Runner yesterday (Saturday) to an equally packed and vibrant Santa Fe Depot/Railyards (farmer's market, REI, new Flying Star, art galleries, superb kid friendly park), Albuquerque needs this forward thinking project to create an equally inviting, vibrant space (and economic engine). Like the Santa Fe Railyard project, this is an investment in the future. Until this happens, I fear the crowded trains (along with tourist/entertainment dollars) will mostly be running north. I'd much prefer to see crowded trains running both directions, especially on the weekends.