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Opponents Delay Albuquerque's Bus Rapid Transit with Lawsuits

A well organized opposition to a planned Bus Rapid Transit line in Albuquerque, New Mexico has stalled the beginning of construction on the new transit line with lawsuits.
July 18, 2016, 9am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Karen Blaha

The $119 million, nine-mile long bus rapid transit system planned for the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico continues to hit stumbling blocks as opponents seek to block the project. The Albuquerque Journal's Dan McKay reports that opponents have brought on University of New Mexico professor Gregory Rowangould, who has issued a 31-page report that found the project will "do more harm than good." Rowangould's analysis found that the proposed ART (Albuquerque Rapid Transit) line running down Central Avenue through the city's historic area would provide slower service than the 66 Line it's designed to replace. make way for the dedicated ART lanes, the city would remove a lane now used by general traffic. In Nob Hill, for instance, there would be only one lane each way for regular traffic, not two as there are now – a 50 percent reduction in traffic capacity, Rowangould says, leading to increased congestion.

Rowangould argues that the extra traffic will harm the regular “66” bus service that runs up and down Central. Those buses are supposed to use the general lanes of traffic, not the dedicated ART-only lanes.

And the larger ART buses can’t entirely avoid the traffic, either, Rowangould said. That’s because there are points in the route – under Interstate 25 and in the Downtown area – where the ART vehicles don’t have a dedicated lane and must operate amid regular traffic.

Last week, following more legal wrangling over actions of the city's Landmarks Board a judge issued an emergency writ "directing the City Council to make time to hear an appeal in the case before the landmarks board considers it." The issue revolves around procedural actions regarding hearings and appeals for the decision to place one stop on Central Avenue in the city's historic area. City officials see the action as a minor delay.

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, June 26, 2016 in Albuquerque Journal
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