The above graphic was one of many interesting observations and ideas expressed at the #Moveequity Tweetchat held this past Wednesday. Issues of environmental and health justice are important everywhere, Burque included. One can’t help but see the figures on sidewalks and street lighting above and tie it into our discussion this week on the intersection of Coors and Blake.
Addressing such disparities is a tough job, made even more difficult by the funds required to significantly revamp roadway infrastructure in poor areas. But making roads safer for non-motorized users doesn’t have to cost outrageous amounts of money, or necessarily involve tearing up streets and starting over.
Take the recent restriping of Zuni Rd. S.E., for example. Data collected by the Mid-Region Council of Governments on bike/ped activity and behavior along Zuni show a significant change in riding in the bike lane versus the sidewalk:
Those are big, important changes, and it’s important to remember the 2016 data was collected almost immediately after the restriping was done. Time should see even bigger changes.
Going through one of the poorest parts of town, the restriping on Zuni was scheduled to be only the first phase toward making cycling/walking safer. Unfortunately, funding for needed right-of-way expenditures and other aspects of scheduled Zuni pedestrian improvements have been endangered, or lost forever, due to cuts at the last NM Legislative Special Session.
While the NM budget crisis is very real, and seemingly getting worse on a daily basis, it is easy to imagine that the cuts to Zuni might not have happened if the road in question was Spain or Ventura in the far Northeast Heights. Issues of equity might make us uncomfortable here in a city that tends to feel its multicultural status obviates such discrepancies, but the sidewalk and street lighting figures, for example, do currently resemble those seen in the graphic atop this blog post.
And whether cheap like the work to this point on Zuni, or expensive, #moveequity is a subject the Duke City very much needs to acknowledge and better address.