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Albuquerque Leaders Tour Cleveland to Discover Advantages of Bus Rapid Transit

City Directors and Business Leaders Find Promising Similarities between Cities

10/17/12

They may be 1600 miles apart, with a history and culture as disparate as the distance between them.  But Cleveland, Ohio and Albuquerque, New Mexico share numerous similarities when it comes to the potential of Bus Rapid Transit; similarities that Cleveland is now realizing and one day Albuquerque hopes to realize.

That’s why some of Albuquerque’s City Directors and business leaders toured Cleveland’s Bus Rapid Transit system Wednesday. Also known as The HealthLine, it opened in 2008, stretching 6.8 miles along Euclid Avenue, connecting Cleveland’s main employment centers, including Downtown, Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital. It comes within a half mile of more than 200,000 employees and 58,000 households. In just three years, ridership increased more than 60 percent over the regular bus routes that formerly ran along the corridor.

“We believe that The HealthLine and a potential future Bus Rapid Transit system in Albuquerque could share many commonalities,” said Bruce Rizzieri, Director of ABQ RIDE.  “An Albuquerque BRT, running along Central could help revitalize this corridor similar to the revitalization of Euclid Avenue and could provide more timely transit service along Central Avenue.”

Cleveland’s BRT offers many of the attributes Albuquerque could incorporate into a BRT system.  The use of dedicated lanes, at least for a significant portion of the route, and strategically-located stations (not just stops) that provide:

1.       Boarding platforms level with the floor of the bus

2.       Off-bus fare collection enabling riders to purchase tickets outside the bus, reducing dwell time inside the bus.

3.       A smart signal system, which allows buses to communicate with traffic signals, which reduces bus delays at traffic lights by allowing additional “green light time” for buses.

4.       Intelligent information about arrivals and traffic

The HealthLine has also helped spur new developments along Euclid Avenue; a reported $4.3 billion had been invested or pledged along the route in the form of rehabilitations of old buildings into housing and retail centers, as well as major expansions of nearby university, museum, and hospital infrastructure.

“I’m really impressed with the renaissance of this area of Cleveland on Euclid Avenue and the revitalization,” said Kurt Browning, an Albuquerque developer/builder taking the tour. “ And I think there’s probably opportunities like this along Central Avenue; old Route 66 in Albuquerque.”

The Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study process is underway. Starting November 20, ABQ RIDE has scheduled an initial series of six public meetings along the Central Avenue Corridor to get ideas and opinions about the project.

Be looking for ads in the Albuquerque Journal and other media with dates, locations and times of these meetings.

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