Where are the Bike Infrastructure Gaps in Burque? An Interactive Brainstorm

currentbikemap

Sidenote: Am I the only one left who still prefers the hard-copy bike map? 

 

As bike infrastructure evolves in Albuquerque, a trend which probably constitutes more Better Burque content than any other, the rising need, more than ever, becomes overcoming the safety gaps between new/safer/greater infrastructure projects. While some cyclists only ride very short distances and don’t need connections (and, let’s face it, many of these riders are still preferring the sidewalk to the bike lane), the system is becoming more and more welcoming to longer rides, and the system needs to correct these gaps.

The gaps are sometimes jarring in the whipsaw of relatively safe/very unsafe/relatively safe. BB readers who are cyclists can list these gaps, reminisces that include involuntary winces and bad memories associated with these dangerous stretches. One of the big issues in getting these gaps fixed is that you really have to ride in the area to fully understand the winces and bad memories, and, in percentage terms, very few people ride bicycles on city streets here.

Using just one set of numbers, roughly 1.7% of our citizens commute to work via bike.  Therefore, less than one out of 50 have the mixed joy/struggle often experienced putting together a personal bicycle commuting route. I am 100% certain that if this commuting percentage was inverted, and 98.3% of Burqueans were forced/allowed to create such routes, that the bike infrastructure system here would look NOTHING like it does now.

But that’s hyperbole. Still, to grow the percentage of cyclists/bike commuters, we obviously need to fix these gaps and lower the number of potential “interested but concerned” cyclists who study the Bike Map and come to the rational, logical conclusion that “I shouldn’t ride to work. It’s just too dangerous.”

From a personal perspective, this is exactly what happened in my case back in the early 2000s, before Isleta Blvd. got bike lanes. Yeah, the bike lanes on Isleta are too narrow, but, before the road diet/bike lane improvements, there was no way I was going to ride even the mile or so to Rio Bravo on Isleta. Again, that’s a personal decision; plenty of folks rode Isleta before the bike lanes and overall road diet happened.

But here we’re talking adding to the numbers of riders, and to do that we have to get past the increasingly small percentage of “vehicular cyclists,” who ride the lane almost anywhere, to the “interested but concerned” folks who aren’t riding yet due to safety concerns. Fixing these gaps, particularly now with wider and wider bike lanes and buffers becoming more prevalent, is what will get the current 1.7% of bike commuters closer to the 5% in other U.S. cities (and which is my personal public policy goal).

So where are these gaps? That’s where you come in BB readers. Below I’ve started a list of gaps with plenty of numbers left to fill in. Unfortunately, Burque has plenty of gaps, and I know you can add to the list, winces and bad memories included. We won’t rate the winces, and rank the danger of each gap now. This is just a wince-filled brainstorm. That said, as humans (and public policy officials) love to argue over who/what is #1, we’ll most certainly dive into a Burque Gap Hall of Fame (BGHoF) debate soon.

Bike Infrastructure Gaps in Albuquerque, October 2014:

  1. Alameda east of Balloon Fiesta Park to I-25. Perhaps the City’s greatest example of Cadillac bike lane meets Edsel. But, again, we’re not ranking here.
  2. The Menaul Wall. Burque’s bike Berlin Wall (one of a few here). I’ll pinpoint Alvarado as a place where the Menaul Wall impedes existing infrastructure most, but, again, we’re not ranking here.
  3. Coors Blvd. and the on-again, off-again developer’s bike lanes near Rio Bravo. The saving grace here is that the lanes are of such short distance nobody is dumb enough to use them. That is also the problem. Coors is the most checkerboard lane/no-lane road in town.
  4. 12th from Mountain to the Menaul Wall. Going North/South from downtown to the North Valley is a big problem. Again, we’re not ranking but, really, it’s a big problem. 12th offers promise, but the gap here, particularly at I-40 is a particularly nasty one.

I’ve cherry-picked a few, still leaving plenty of slots for your observations. Maybe we could get a Top 20 list developed first through this brainstorm and then through what is sure to be an acrimonious argument over ranking them. No, it won’t be acrimonious. We cyclists are never acrimonious, right?

Have a great weekend, everybody. Hope to see you tomorrow at CiQlovia. It’s always lovely when bikes/peds take over a downtown. Combined with Sunday’s Duke City Marathon, it’s a multi-modal extravaganza weekend!

 

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Where are the Bike Infrastructure Gaps in Burque? An Interactive Brainstorm

  1. Thanks for the input, JR. In thinking about both the Menaul and I-40 “walls” involved, your is one more argument for a much better crossing at Menaul and Alvarado. The I-40 bike/ped bridge at Alvarado is so underutilized compared with the Pennsylvania one, and it’s because getting to that Alvarado bridge is too difficult/dangerous in the eyes of many potential cyclists.

    I still gotta get that HAWK on Isleta v. Lomas piece written; the learning curve of those two should guide installation of a very effective one at Menaul/Alvarado.

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  2. Scott (or John). You know the bike path that follows the North Diversion Channel under Carlisle just north of I-40? Currently the path dumps into Cutler Ave near a hotel. This area has an increased traffic and activity in large part due to the Green Jeans container ‘mall’. Do you know if there is a plan to extend the path along the channel to Washington, which has striped bike lanes? (I can’t post a map here, but this link will take you to one https://binged.it/2dVYMa6 ). peace, mjh

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  3. I really dislike Osuna/Seagull to get from the bridge over 25 to Academy and McKinney. A bit of restriping there would make this connection feel reasonable, but I usually feel like I’m getting run off the road.

    I too dislike the southern end of the north diversion trail for connecting to nowhere I want to be, the only two options being the middle of UNM, or taking Edith south.

    I’d also vote Bridge Blvd from Unser to the river, I haven’t found a good east-west connector across south valley.

    My most humorous is University SE *almost* connecting through Kirkland Park but only if you jump a fence. At least the trail behind Target on Paseo doesn’t dead end into the frontage road anymore.

    My dream is a bike path to connect Copper through Expo NM, but Zuni helps.

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  4. MJH: Sorry about the WordPress comment function. I can only offer that I had nothing to do with its creation. Maybe I shouldn’t have switched from Blogger a few years back (although that one bothered me in different ways that I can no longer remember).

    As for the Cutler spillway, bike-wise, you’re absolutely dead-on that it’s both a gap and one seemingly easy to remedy. The only tidbit I can offer is that the City changed the parking legality coming East of Green Jeans, improving the cyclist’s sight lines a bit. As for a bike lane on Cutler to/from Washington, that’s a great idea that should have already happened. As it is now, going up that hill to Washington is only helped by the generally low traffic count. If one is unlucky enough to have a call wishing to turn right behind them…uncomfortable.

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  5. JVZ: Good (as in bad) choices/gaps. A thought or two on those observations. NDC could end with a wide bike lane/connection to Girard (yes, there’s a hill, but), especially as Girard is due to get some definite cycling improvements. Having it currently end with Lomas is quite a bit less than ideal.

    As for Bridge, a major improvement project is supposed to start soon from 8th to Coors. If implemented, and the last I’ve heard is that it’s getting slowed down a bit, it would make Bridge a far better east/west option. Truth is, there are so few roads of any safety level going east/west in the SV that plenty of cyclists choose Rio Bravo, very large warts and all.

    Thanks for the nominations and observations, folks! Keep ’em coming!

    -Scot

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  6. Paseo del Norte has a rather incomplete bike path. If it went down all the way to the diversion channel, that would be awesome. Near I-25 is a mess.

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  7. jscotkey: Wow, I had no idea so much was planned for Bridge! I could do without the wide median encouraging speeding, and I’m unsure of whether a Five Points Circle would go over well, but it looks like the project will be a welcome improvement.

    klkuhlm: I avoid paseo/25 but noticed on maps satellite view that you can connect from the East via bikepath/headline/lang/bikepath/pueblo to diversion channel, which doesn’t even show up on google maps yet. Is that the part you’re saying is a mess? It looks slow and annoying, but less death-defying than I’d remembered.

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  8. […] Nevertheless, allowing the initial jealously, resentment and other negative human emotions to pass along, we can look at the bullets above as a “things to do” list engendering a very helpful process for Burque’s governmental/private/non-profit entities to undergo. What if we did connect all these bureaucratic and advocacy dots toward a low-stress bicycle network in Albuquerque? What if we started toward that with a single, targeted project that connected one of the gaps mentioned in the BB post/comments from last week? […]

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  9. Getting around the fairgrounds, east-west. It’s basically a disused park, with a horribly managed casino in the middle. Why isn’t there a bike super highway through there instead of forcing you on Lomas or central?

    I second klkulms mentions. Someone should work with Sandia tribe to connect Louisiana to tramway with a multiuse trail. Anyone know the history here?

    Central between tramway and Juan tabo. Vicious when attempting to get too and from the canyon. Unless you have a strong urge to cross 40 twice (which, at tramway, is another gap).

    Carlisle over i40. There should also be a bike path letting you get down to the trail instead of gravel and a locked gate.

    Side note on the fairgrounds – I dare you to try to ride a bike to the casino. It’s hilarious! I tried to stop and use the bathroom there once, and the guard threatened to cut my ulock and throw my bike over the Wall! What? For all he knew I was about to blow a grand at his employers casino. You can only drink and drive if you want to do that apparently.

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  10. For context, I lived for a year or two at Cardenas and Copper, close enough to hear the oohs and aahs (and blood-curdling screams) of those on the amusement park rides at the Fair. I also ran into the veritable Berlin Wall that is Louisiana/Fairgrounds coming back from measuring lanes between Lomas and Central the other day.

    Personally, I think moving the Fairgrounds to another part of BernCo would be just about the single best economic development idea Albuquerque could implement. Cycling aside, having the Fairgrounds at its current location is just plain dumb. On countless levels.

    And if its to stay, 100% agreement that it simply MUST have both a park and bike/ped greenway running east/west through it. That this hasn’t already been done is embarrassingly laughable. That it’s not going forward due to the equally laughable fact there is a horsetrack, a sport dying faster than boxing, physically blocking such an idea is absurd.

    The Fairgrounds are some twisted form of antique shop/museum, one 99% of the population only goes to once, maybe twice, two weeks out of the year. It’s beyond time to move the oohs and aahs to Mesa del Sol or somewhere significantly away from its present site.

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  11. I dunno. If done right, it could certainly stay. I’m thinking something like the old World’s fair site in Seattle, which is now Seattle Center. It hosts a dozen festivals each year, has a ton of greenspace, a participatory fountain, massive, artsy playground, museums, theater, eateries, sports arena – the works. It has something for everyone, year round. In it’s current state, the fairgrounds here is a massive fail, but it doesn’t need to stay that way.

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