Four out of five of 396 respondents to our Aug. 22-Sept. 2 online poll said they oppose or strongly oppose the planned bus system
Fewer than 24 percent said they heard about the ART project in 2012, 2013, or 2014
BY DAN VUKELICH
As the clang of bulldozer blades along broken concrete rings out over stalled Central Avenue traffic, Albuquerque remains firmly opposed to the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, according to a new ABQ Free Press opinion poll.
Four out of five of 396 respondents to our Aug. 22-Sept. 2 online poll said they oppose or strongly oppose the planned bus system that will run on dedicated lanes along a 10-mile stretch of Central. Only 19.4 percent of respondents support or strongly support the project.
Two of three respondents said they disagree with Mayor Richard Berry’s contention that ART will attract millennials and economic development to the Central Avenue corridor.
Three of four respondents said City Hall did a poor or extremely poor job of including them in the public discussion about ART.
On that point, 75 percent of the respondents said they first learned about ART in 2015 or 2016 – which would be about the time of or after the date that the City of Albuquerque applied for a Federal Transit Administration grant for ART. Fewer than 24 percent said they heard about the ART project in 2012, 2013, or 2014 – the window of time that City Hall told the Federal Transit Administration it had engaged in public outreach that generated no significant opposition.
Sixty-five percent of the respondents said their city councilor did an ineffective or extremely ineffective job of representing their interests in the ART debate.
Three of four respondents said they neither ride Central Avenue buses now nor do they plan to ride the ART once it’s built. About 39 percent of all respondents said they live in ZIP codes through which Central Avenue runs. About 58 percent of all respondents said they are between 21 and 59 years old.
The Vox Populi
Here are some representative answers to the question, “Sound off. What would you like to tell Mayor Richard Berry or opponents of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project?”
“If we wanted a crazy project like this, we would have voted for Mayor Chavez.” – Cherise, age 45-59.
“Stupid idea. What city official’s relative is going to profit from this idea?” – Frank, 65-plus.
“To the opponents: Growing pains hurt, but they get better.” – Mike, age 45-59.
“I ride on buses full of millennials daily. The current Rapid Ride routes are overcrowded and dirty. Ridership continues to go up. … I can’t wait for faster, cleaner and more efficient service.” – Charlie, age 35-44.
“Destroying what makes Albuquerque Albuquerque by ruining businesses on Central and replacing them with Starbucks every block serves no one but the developers who are making money to tear down history and put up drywall boxes that are exactly the same as the drywall boxes in every other city in the West. You’re seeking to destroy Albuquerque’s identity for your pocketbook, and that makes you an ignorant fool.” – Aya, age 45-59.
“It’s a funding scam and will need to be ripped out in four years because it will wreck traffic patterns for every cross street.” – Morgan, age 21-34.
“Stop telling opponents of your project that we ‘have no vision’ and platitudes that ‘change is always hard.’ We’re not Luddites, and we’re not stupid. Some of us value our historic Route 66 and our great neighborhoods. Current service is more than adequate. Why waste all the money and disruption for such a small gain in riders?” – Jaime, age 21-34.
“I am a millennial, and I will never ride rapid transit.” – Elizabeth, age 35-44.
“ABQ is at least a decade behind other mid-sized cities on expanding public transportation options. GO, GO, GO!” – Emilie, age 35-44.
“It’s top-down planning that’s being led by elitist liberals, progressives and the right. They are perfectly reflecting our current national politics – top-down and elitist with no real connection to community-based solutions.” – Bianca, age 35-44.
“Mayor Berry: Listen to and support local businesses during the construction. This is your one chance to redeem your disastrous legacy. Opponents: Chill out and try to support/help progress instead of kneejerk NIMBY nostalgic BS.” – Anonymous, age 35-44.
“Mayor Berry is a feckless shill for the Chamber of Commerce/McCleskey pimps that purchased his office. Their GOP machinations of quid pro quo as they rape and pillage the public’s resources are business as usual from a political party that can best described as a terrorist cabal. If there was an iota of moral fiber or merely kindergarten-level accountability among this group of thugs, Albuquerque wouldn’t be in this current state of emergency and suffering in crisis….” – Ernie, age 45-59.
Dan Vukelich is editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at email@example.com.