City of Albuquerque Gets Green Light to Develop Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project Development
Albuquerque’s Transit Department/ABQ RIDE has received word from the Federal Transit Administration that the city has been authorized to move to the Project Development phase for Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) along Central Avenue. This is an early and critical step in the process of getting rapid transit system to Albuquerque and it opens up the prospect for millions of dollars in federal matching funds for the project. Systems like Albuquerque Rapid Transit have a proven record in cities around the world for significantly improving public transportation, creating opportunities for economic growth and spurring transit oriented development. When compared to light rail systems, a rapid transit system like Albuquerque Rapid Transit accomplishes many of the same goals but can be built for pennies on the dollar in comparison.
The Albuquerque Rapid Transit proposal is a key component of Mayor Berry’s overall plan for improving public transportation while creating a more vibrant and energized business environment along Central Avenue, Albuquerque’s busiest and most used thoroughfare. Central Avenue accounts for 42% of ABQ RIDE’s ridership. The project will result in more timely and convenient transit service to the neighborhoods and businesses along the route. Preliminary research and community outreach has included two rounds of public meetings, which were well attended and included good feedback from citizens.
“Project Development represents a critical phase and takes us one step closer to a state-of- the-art transit service for residents of Albuquerque,” said Bruce Rizzieri, Director of ABQ Ride. “Coupled with the great work that is going on at the Mid-Region Council of Governments centered around additional rapid transit routes, the next generation of transportation looks bright,” he added.
“ART will be a key economic driver for our city which will complement our Innovation District initiatives and result in enhanced opportunities along Central Avenue,” said Mayor Berry. “This is a great opportunity to make a smart public sector investment that will drive significant private sector activity and job creation.”
The Project Development phase will include:
- Continued Public Involvement
- Environmental Documentation
- Conceptual Engineering
- Identification of Historical Properties
- Potential Impact on Street Operations
- Mitigation of these Impacts
Some of the hallmarks of ART are:
- Boarding platforms level with the floor of the bus, easing and speeding the boarding process – just like a subway of a light rail transit car.
- Off-bus fare collection enabling riders to purchase tickets outside the bus, reducing waiting time to get on the ART.
- A smart signal system, allowing ART to communicate with traffic signals and reducing delays.
- Dedicated lanes for a majority of the route.
The Development Phase is anticipated to take approximately 12 months. The city will continue to hold public meetings to educate the community about ART and the advantages and cost savings associated with the project. These will be opportunities for the public to learn more about ART and the important part it can play in the vitality of our city’s future.