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When Did You Hear of ART?

When Did You Hear of ART?

Many of the affected businesses started speaking up late in the process

By the Time the Protest Against ART Gelled, it Was Likely Already too Late

Hearings began years Earlier

Here’s a timeline of important ART events:

May 28, 2009. Journal publishes article about a transit study to link Rio Rancho and Albuquerque’s northwest and east sides through a transit link running over Paseo del Norte.

April 12, 2010. City, UNM, the Mid-Region Council of Governments sign an agreement to study the possibility of a transportation network that could provide service between CNM and UNM along University Boulevard. The agreement eventually results in a proposal to put a Bus Rapid Transit line down University and link up the airport, CNM, UNM and Menaul Boulevard.

July 25, 2011. The city’s ART consultant, InfraConsult LLC, delivers its “Central Avenue Corridor Feasibility Assessment” study to the city. The study says, “The purpose of this [study] is for the InfraConsult LLC team to provide an opinion on the feasibility of constructing a median running BRT in Central Avenue from 98th Street to Tramway Boulevard.” The study says a center-lane BRT project on Central is feasible.

Nov. 9, 2011. Journal publishes article, “City Using Federal Funds for BRT Study.”

Nov. 20, 2012. City says it holds its first ART meeting at Mesa Verde Community Center. The city holds five more meetings at different locations in the next three weeks, although no minutes of these meetings appear to exist.

Feb. 14, 2014. Transit department planner Andrew DeGarmo emails his superiors to say he was wrong about a crucial issue regarding ART: The project did not need dedicated lanes in order to qualify for an FTA Small Starts grant.

March 21, 2014. Rio Metro Regional Transit District votes to support ART as the area’s first BRT project over the MRCOG’s proposed University/Sunport route. The agency’s board says ART is more likely to quickly get federal funding.

June 6, 2015. Journal publishes article, “Envisioning ART.”

July 29, 2015. ABQ Free Press, which published its first issue on April 23, 2014, runs its first article quoting people questioning the need for ART.

Aug. 3, 2015. City submits its completed funding application to the FTA.

Aug. 12, 2015. A group of 30 to 40 Central Avenue business owners meets with city officials to talk about ART’s design. For many, it is the first they have heard of the project. Most are angry about the design. By now, the project is basically fully formed.

February-March 2016. ART officials hold six public meetings, many of them contentious and overflowing with vocal ART opponents. By now, the city’s ART federal funding request is already in the hands of the FTA bureaucracy.

Feb. 9, 2016. ART gets FTA approval and is included in President Obama’s budget for $69 million.

March 21, 2016. City Council votes 7-2 to accept federal funding for ART.

April 4, 2016. ART opponents file two lawsuits that seek to halt the project.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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