Last late afternoon, evening and night’s City Council meeting was truly one for the ages. At least five topics that could have “headlined” a typical meeting were all smashed together like the mosh pit at a Circle Jerks’ show.
The result was a “concert” longer than any Bruce Springsteen gig. Picking the greatest “hit” would be easy, discussion on the City’s new Comprehensive Plan, but that tune was so distorted by time and complexity (as well as a long discussion on whether Council could successfully stop the flood of floor amendments if it waited to finalize action) that the “band” just stopped mid-song on that one.
It was that kind of night. More like “Born to Stop” than “Born to Run.”
Running wasn’t the only casualty last night. Some folks in Councilor Pat Davis’ Nob Hill noticed that Albuquerque Rapid Transit actual construction plans didn’t include the promised wider sidewalks that made selling A.R.T. possible to many in that stretch of Central, many who might otherwise have opposed the project successfully to its death.
After making this discovery, Councilor Davis commissioned a quick survey confirming that not widening these sidewalks was unacceptable. His Council bill heard last night called not only for the wider sidewalks, but that Councilor Davis would put up $500,000 of his District “set-aside” (usually Councilors are given about $900,000 for all projects in a Councilor’s District over an entire fiscal year) to make sure this happened. This is remarkable.
The response from City of Albuquerque’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Riordan, lead on the A.R.T. Project, was about seventeen variations on “we can’t do that.”
Davis’ bill was deferred or “continued” or some version of put off until the next meeting, a common theme on a mosh pit late afternoon, evening and night. One wonders when A.R.T. will get to updating their drawings for the Project in Nob Hill. They still show the following between Tulane and Amherst:
Yeah, that drawing says “widened sidewalks.” On both sides. In Nob Hill. Notably, the driving lanes are both 13 feet, a fact brought up by the good Councilor Davis last night. The response from “we can’t do that” Riordan was: “We need wider lanes as a buffer for opening car doors in the parking lane.”
Yeah, as the Circle Jerks might have sung (personally, I never could make out their lyrics), “It’s all about fucking parking. Always.”
So when you talk about sidewalks, it’s really about parking. When you talk about why there aren’t bike lanes despite 13 foot driving lanes, it’s all about parking. A.R.T. really has just about nothing to do with riding the bus, walking or any modes of transport other than cars. It’s about fucking parking.
The Council meeting continued in this brain numbing while slamming head into concrete ala Circle Jerks’ show mode until around 11:00 p.m. last night. Then it was over, with only the spit, other bodily fluids and brain matter to clean up.
Kind of like a pedestrian fatality caused by inadequate roadway infrastructure, now that I think about it.