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City Seeks Public Comment on Highly Anticipated Rail Trail Framework Plan

Draft emphasizes equitable development, connectivity, entertainment, safety, and culture

Dec. 7, 2021

The City of Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA) has released the initial draft of its highly anticipated Rail Trail Framework Plan. Residents interested in the proposed downtown Rail Trail project can now view the catalytic plan for the future of the heart of the city and provide feedback at cabq.gov/railtrail. Comments will be taken through January 31. 

The plan provides an easy-to-read and comprehensive overview of the one-mile walk/bike thoroughfare. The Rail Trail would connect the Rail Yards to east downtown, while providing access to a wide array of outdoor entertainment, art, businesses, and amenities along the way.

“We’ve set out to activate the Rail Corridor and create a thriving urban pathway that honors Albuquerque’s unique history and our community’s vision for the future,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The Rail Trail has the power to be a transformative amenity that reconnects and reinvigorates our downtown, and opens up new spaces and experiences for families to enjoy.”

The trail is planned to run along the existing railroad corridor and adjacent to the historical communities of Barelas, South Broadway, and Martineztown. The Rail Trail aims to reverse disinvestment in the area by connecting communities split by the railroad tracks, and by fostering equitable programming and business development.

"Our Build With Robots corporate office is located adjacent to the proposed Rail Trail, and our workforce is highly enthusiastic about this project,” said Build With Robots CEO and co-founder Chris Ziomek. “The Rail Trail will make downtown Albuquerque a better place to live and work, and help us attract the talent we need to grow our high-tech workforce."

The Rail Trail is part of the City’s work to enhance quality of life for all residents by increasing foot traffic for local businesses, reducing crime by increasing the number of eyes on the street, and improving public health by expanding outdoor leisure spaces and providing more outdoor entertainment options. Pedestrians and bicyclists will also benefit from safer crossing opportunities, enhanced protection from car traffic, and more connections to transit opportunities such as bike lanes, Albuquerque Rapid Transit, and the Rail Runner.

“Like other major cities, Albuquerque is at a critical intersection of equitable urban development, and the need to balance the desire for vibrancy, energy, and density with renewed emphasis on inclusion, diversity, and safety,” said MRA manager Karen Iverson. “Albuquerque’s Rail Trail will undoubtedly serve as a model for achieving that sweet spot.”

The plan’s development included a multi-faceted community engagement process comprised of a steering committee and public sector working group, public meetings, a community survey, and design charettes.