This meeting was one of a series dedicated to receiving feedback from the community, said Dayna Crawford, deputy director for ABQ RIDE.
Forty-one percent of ABQ RIDE’s passengers commute along Central, which is why the $100 million project is so important, she said. The line will stretch 17 miles down Central, stopping every seven minutes.
Another key point in having the open meetings is talking to business owners.
“It’s a delicate balance that we’re looking at between the students and what their needs are and business owners and what their needs are, and then the neighborhood associations, because this will have a huge impact on our community,” Crawford said. “We look at this as an economic opportunity.”
One of the primary concerns addressed was in regard to the higher traffic in an already-busy area, she said.
Trends are now showing that people don’t want to drive, and by making the public transportation system more accessible, people will be able to commute much easier, she said. Travel time is expected to improve 15 percent with the new system and on-time performance will improve 20-25 percent as compared to before.
RapidRides, like the Blue Line, Red Line and Green Line, are comprised of 7 to 8 percent of students. The many bus lines throughout Albuquerque carry 24 percent of all employment within the Albuquerque Metropolitan area.
Construction will begin in November this year with a projected finish date of September 2017, and would replace other bus lines, Crawford said. Through a large portion of Central will be a median guideway where the bus has its own line and the multiple stops in the center of Central.
Although the project is still in the preliminary stages, it has been narrowed down to four major concepts, she said. The line will be a combination of reversible, bi-directional and mixed flow.
The foam-board displays showed the potential locations for ART stations, as well as renderings of what the stations could look like. Plans for the alignment of the roadway, medians and landscaping in the areas around UNM were also revealed.
Other features include dual-side entrances, signal priority at traffic lights, off-board fare boxes and an inside bicycle rack.
Taro Peixinho, a CNM sophomore geology major, said he has been commuting on the bus line for the last three years.
Peixinho said he spends at least 50 minutes one-way getting to school, and although it’s time he can do homework, with the proposed ART line he said he thinks he would have more free time to work on it elsewhere.
“More often than not I’ll walk to a bus stop and find that it’s faster for me to walk up, and I can get two or three bus stops up before the bus even gets there,” he said.
ABQ Ride is Albuquerque‘s principal form of public transportation. It boards 13 million passengers a year and logs a daily average of 160 thousand passenger miles on its buses, according to the press release.
Moriah Carty is the news editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MoriahCarty.