Improving government transparency is an important topic across all issues, including roadway engineering and projects. Knowing more, earlier, about pending road work, improvements, and such equals improved opportunities for public input and guidance before the work is done.
It is for that reason that BB is pretty stoked about finding something that’s probably been around quite a long time (we’re not always quick on the uptake, so to speak, here). City of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development (DMD) has an online “interactive” (that means you can click on stuff) map of pending projects under its purview.
Here’s an example of the map in interactive “action”:
The brown dashed lines refer to projects, one of which we’ve “clicked” upon for information on the “University Boulevard Bikeways-Phase II” project.
In addition to the project description, we get a “comment” that this project is “moving to 90% design plans….” If you’re like most folks, including me two years ago, who don’t know much about all this, there’s a multi-step process from road project design to construction that includes three important stages stated as percent: 30%, 60%, and 90%.
As you might presume, “90%” means were getting close to moving from design to reality, and you can also see fairly quick-arriving dates for starting and finishing the work (5.8.18 and 11.23.18). Two caveats about these and other dates on this map: 1. The dates often get moved, usually back; 2. Some of the dates on the online map are just plain wrong (one project shows it to be completed in “1799,” which would be WAY cool, if accurate, but…isn’t).
Caveats aside, and with a few tweaks and improvements, this online map augers well with regard both to better informing citizens and offering the chance for input. Included in the pop-up information is project manager information, both name and phone number. As such, your humble blogger already likes this map far more than that most traditional form of government/public interaction: ye olde public meeting.
I’ll spare you my thoughts about public meetings, for now, and instead simply reiterate that this DMD map, while not yet perfect, offers much promise as a useful governmental transparency tool. As contrast, let us ponder the last seven years of the Susana Martinez Administration as we head into her last legislative session as governor.
With that pondering in mind, I think we can safely invoke “Romper Room” here, for we can make the following statement regarding governmental transparency:
DMD Map = Do Bee
Martinez Administration = Don’t Bee
Have a great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday, everybody!