Since Albuquerque Rapid Transit (A.R.T.) construction on Central Avenue began last year, I’ve been checking the news rather intently for stories on pedestrians being killed on this historically murderous stretch of roadway, specifically along the A.R.T. construction route.
I could have missed one, or more, but I tried to be pretty vigilant about it. Hence, I’m pretty sure there have been zero pedestrian deaths along the route, until this incident a week ago at Central and San Mateo. It is perhaps highly correlative that such incidents are returning as A.R.T. construction ends, as the orange barrels and other accouterments of road construction are removed, and drivers (and pedestrians) return to their typical roadway behaviors.
One way of postulating this: A.R.T. Construction saved lives.
Of course this postulation goes fully against the A.R.T. construction narrative, a seemingly never-ending tale of motorist frustration, business collapse and construction mishaps. Instead, one might argue that A.R.T. construction should go on forever, full bore, turning Central Avenue into a permanently slowed driving experience, so slow that many motorists choose other routes, or, as has been the general opinion expressed by many in the business community, to not drive at all.
Underlying this “friction” caused by construction is a question that seems most pertinent now that A.R.T. construction is finishing up:
What is more important to you: A human life or getting somewhere on time?
I’d hazard to guess many respondents to such a question would, after laughing the question off, perhaps ask for clarification: “Whose human life? Mine? Someone I know?” The more astute may very well inquire “Does this include humans who run out into the road, not using the crosswalk?”
We’ll leave such clarifying questions unanswered, and just repeat the one question: