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Community Engagement & Equitable Development

Learn about community engagement and equitable development for the Rail Trail.

The design and vision of the Rail Trail is rooted in substantial community involvement. Community members have emphasized the importance of equitable development.

Advancing Inclusive Growth through the Albuquerque Rail Trail - Community Input Survey Results Now Available!

Cover Page of Inclusive Growth ReportThe Rail Trail has tremendous potential to foster economic development, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for residents across Albuquerque. As the City invests in this major infrastructure project, we want to ensure that the local community directly benefits from this transformative investment.

The report, Advancing Inclusive Growth through the Albuquerque Rail Trail, highlights the existing conditions in Rail Trail neighborhoods, studies trends over the last ten years, and identifies a suite of programs that can promote neighborhood stability and vibrancy based on past community engagement efforts.

The Public Comment period was open through March 8th, 2024. Using this feedback, MRA synthesized the community input and the results are published below.

The report tracks trends like:

  • Rent and housing
  • Jobs and economy
  • Income and poverty
  • Population and diversity
  • Safety in the built environment

Neighborhoods studied include:

  • Barelas
  • Country Club & Huning Castle
  • Downtown Core
  • Santa Barbara/Martineztown
  • Sawmill & Old Town
  • South Broadway & EDo
  • Wells Park & Downtown Neighborhoods

Recommendations include developing programs that:

  • Help ensure existing residents can afford to live in their neighborhood;
  • Support new and existing local small businesses;
  • Incorporate community generated programming ideas that serve the existing residents;
  • Authentically celebrate the history and culture of the local community; and
  • Partner with existing community-based organizations to expand community capacity.

Downtown Framework Plan Community Engagement

Rail Trail Public Meeting (2021)

In June 2021, the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency hosted a public engagement meeting at the Rail Yards. With over 100 attendees, valuable feedback was collected from the community, which will be incorporated into the final Rail Trail design.

2021 Rail Trail Survey

In August 2021, the City created a survey to collect public input on the design of the Rail Trail. The survey link was mailed to over 4000 residents and businesses directly surrounding the Rail Trail. The survey was also distributed broadly on social media and email list serves. Respondents were asked their preferences on materials, amenities, and programming. The survey was available in English and Spanish. A total of 455 responses were received. Based on survey results, the most popular elements are highlighted in this PDF.

Public Comments and 2022 Survey on the Draft Plan

After releasing the initial Framework Plan Draft for public review, we asked community members for input. MRA staff attended several neighborhood association meetings to present the plan and gather feedback. The Public Comment period was open from 12/6/21 to 1/31/2022, and a follow-up survey was open from 1/8/2022 to 1/31/2022. We received 228 responses to the survey and 114 public comments. Feedback on the Draft Plan was incorporated into the final Albuquerque Rail Trail Framework Plan. View the survey results.

Downtown Rail Trail Steering Committee

A Rail Trail Steering Committee, now loosely known as the “Friends of the Rail Trail,” was convened during the Downtown Rail Trail planning process. Many of the members on the committee owned properties or businesses along the trail, and their input was integral to ensure we planned a trail that responded to future development and business plans for properties along the trail alignment. Members included:

  • Dale Armstrong, Property Owner
  • Lola Bird, Downtown Mainstreet
  • Ed Garcia, Property Owner
  • Seth Gardenswartz, Property Owner
  • Johanna Gillian, Homewise
  • Maria Griego-Raby, Contract Associates
  • Dennis Gromelski, FUSION
  • Frank Martinez, Citizens Information Committee of Martineztown
  • Cristina Rogers, Barelas Community Coalition 
  • Kelly Ward, Innovate ABQ
  • Richard Yates, Property Owner

Rail Spur Trail Community Engagement (2021)

The project team held three community stakeholder meetings to gather input on the proposed trail. The first meeting included City personnel from applicable departments. The second meeting was held with business and property owners within the study area and the third meeting was held with property owners and Neighborhood Association representatives in the study area. All participants in the community convenings strongly supported the project with many citing the significant economic growth potential from a multi-use trail in the area. Of the three proposed trail alignments the project team presented, "get elevated" was selected as the preferred route amongst the community stakeholder participants. You can read more about the Rail Spur Trail section in our Planning & Phasing Page.

Inclusive Growth & Equitable Development

Mayor’s Institute on City Design: Just Mayoral Fellowship. Mayor Tim Keller, the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion proposed the Rail Trail as a part of the Mayor’s Institute on City Design. The 2023 Fellowship helped mayors develop and strengthen approaches to embedding justice and equity goals within government policy and practices, as well as design strategies for achieving more just and equitable outcomes within the communities of each city. The work done under this program helped build the foundation for the Advancing Inclusive Growth through the Albuquerque Rail Trail report.

Equitable Development Data Insight Training (EDDIT). The City of Albuquerque has been selected as an EDDIT Cohort grantee for 2023 – 2024. The Equitable Development Data Insight Training (EDDIT) Initiative offers competitively selected U.S. and Canadian organizations a free data analysis and narrative training program, helping them to document, reflect, evaluate, and communicate the impacts of their work to stakeholders and communities. The training consists of an intensive and complete 16-week training program, helping organizations bring data analysis and storytelling skills into the core of the planning process. The program is a collaboration between UC Berkley, University of Toronto School of Cities, and TheCaseMade, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation.