Lewis: New Look at ART

Lewis: New Look at ART

'The people who live and work along this corridor and will be impacted most by the project were not adequately consulted during the design process' - Councilor Dan Lewis

City Councilor Wants Third-party Evaluation

Move Comes After Trump Reveals ART Isn’t in His Proposed Budget

City Councilor Dan Lewis says he will introduce a resolution on Monday that would revert Central Avenue to four lanes of auto traffic if the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project creates more traffic congestion and has an adverse impact on businesses along the nine-mile route.

Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis   The resolution calls for a third-party evaluation of ART’s impacts once it is completed and in operation. The measure calls for an evaluation of traffic volume on Central and residential streets along the ART route, ART ridership, pedestrian traffic on Central, truck traffic on residential streets, and the impact the project has on businesses.

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The studies would begin after ART has been operational for 60 days and would compare its impact to pre-project conditions.

Lewis said that the narrowing of Central Avenue to two lanes during ART construction has significantly increased traffic congestion, vehicle noise and exhaust, and that those conditions will become permanent in some of the most congested parts of the City once the project is completed.

“The people who live and work along this corridor and will be impacted most by the project were not adequately consulted during the design process,” Lewis said. “We need to make sure that people are protected and that the project will perform as promised. And if it doesn’t, we need to have a way to fix it.”

Lewis voted against the ART project.

The $126 million ART project is expected to be completed by later this year.

   But the project is currently facing a $69 million deficit because the Federal Transit Administration has yet to approve the Small Starts grant that the city is relying on to complete ART. And, the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018 doesn’t include any money for ART.

The FTA did recommend that ART be funded at $69 million for the current fiscal year, but Congress has yet to approve that budget. And, last year, the appropriations committees of both the U.S. House and Senate recommended cuts in the FTA programs that would fund ART.

Mayor Richard Berry has said that he’s confident that Congress will pass a budget for this year and that it will fully fund ART.

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

  • Thomas salazar
    March 18, 2017, 8:30 am

    The City exempted themselves from a Traffic Impact Study which is required even for a five acre project. This project has more impact than any project in the history of this city, But Berry did not want to know what the effects would be as they data would show it just does not work for us but it makes Berry’s friends rich and that is all B thinks about.
    I love Alb Free Press!

    REPLY
  • Thomas salazar
    March 18, 2017, 8:30 am

    The City exempted themselves from a Traffic Impact Study which is required even for a five acre project. This project has more impact than any project in the history of this city, But Berry did not want to know what the effects would be as they data would show it just does not work for us but it makes Berry’s friends rich and that is all B thinks about.
    I love Alb Free Press!

    REPLY
  • Elena
    March 18, 2017, 12:50 pm

    All of the problems, should have thoughrly been ironed out before all of it took place……Especially financially……Now there is no guarantee that it will be funded, as Trump is definitely not Obama, and he lies alot, etc., What I can say is it is a complete mess!!!

    REPLY
  • Elena
    March 18, 2017, 12:50 pm

    All of the problems, should have thoughrly been ironed out before all of it took place……Especially financially……Now there is no guarantee that it will be funded, as Trump is definitely not Obama, and he lies alot, etc., What I can say is it is a complete mess!!!

    REPLY
  • Pete Dinelli
    March 18, 2017, 4:26 pm

    This is what you call political grandstanding and pandering for votes by someone who is really part of the problem of failed leadership. The ART bus project has been pending now for four years and there were two federal lawsuits with numerous court hearings as well as five very well attended public hearings but City Councilor Dan Lewis was nowhere to be found during any of those hearings.
    Lewis thinks that just because he voted against the federal grant funding of ART, that is good enough, but it’s not. Lewis never pushed for nor did he advocate that the ART bus project be placed on the ballot for voter approval. Six months before the project is set to be completed, Lewis is now calling for a “good hard evaluation” of the impact ART is having on traffic, businesses and the environment now that the federal grant is in jeopardy. Why now?
    Had Lewis attended the federal court hearings on the injunction and the public hearings to listen to citizen’s complaints, he would know that businesses and citizens were demanding traffic evaluations along central and residential areas, environmental impact studies and an evaluation of the effects on central businesses ART would have all before construction even started.
    Dan Lewis had no problems being present to vote on the $60 million dollars in revenue bonds used to fund the building of "pickle ball courts" and baseball fields and other pet projects of city counselors. What was included in the revenue bonds Lewis voted for was $13 million for the ART Bus project.
    One vote against ART funding does not hide the fact Lewis is part of the problem of failed leadership on the City Council and giving Berry a pass for seven years. Lewis is now running for Mayor so now he calls for a "study" after the damage has been done to Route 66.

    REPLY

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