Low Hanging Gravel: Let’s Fix the Walmart Truck Strip

About once every other month I ride up the Gail Ryba Bridge from the Bosque Trail to get west of the River and out into some points on the Westside. When I do, I try to remember to take a picture of this:

IMG_3703

I could make this a photo contest in which you have to guess where this is, but it would such an easy contest. So many of us ride this sidewalk, and besides you might read Better Burque and remember a photo of this same location back in September:

IMG_3292

Different truck, different sky, same gravel.

The first photo above was taken this past weekend, as John and I donned metaphorical explorer’s attire and discovered Burque’s “Northwest Passage.” Both photos show a generally representative amount of gravel on the sidewalk that, somewhat embarrassingly from a regional bike network standpoint, serves as “multi-use path” to get folks from the very nice Gail Ryba Bridge (bumpiness notwithstanding) to the equally embarrassing, but very frequently used, Coors Blvd. frontage road, underpass, frontage road combo of unfriendly non-motorized human transport.

For those unfamiliar with the area, here’s what it looks like:

walmart gravel

The very nice looking red “pin” is the frontage roads/Ouray underpass; the ugly red splotch is the general location of the gravel next to the Walmart.

While we as a community should really fix the entire stretch of Gail Ryba west through Coors to the I-40 Trail (the whole thing should have been fixed way back when the Coors/I-40 job was done in 2004, via a tunnel under Coors, or bike/ped bridge over it), we can certainly, and easily/inexpensively address this gravel problem next to the Walmart.

Except that we haven’t addressed this gravel problem next to the Walmart.

Having heard and talked with several folks about it in recent months, one big reason it’s still there is an overlap of public and private jurisdictions. Is this bit of gravelly sidewalk/faux multi-use path owned/maintained by:

  1. The State of New Mexico? (Coors Boulevard/NM-45 is a State road)
  2. The City of Albuquerque?
  3. Bernalillo County? (see below)
  4. Walmart?

There’s also the question of who actually would sweep the gravel is it is owned by the City. Would it be Parks & Recreation because it’s a de facto multi-use path? Or would it be Department of Municipal Development? Or is it some other City department that we don’t even know about?

To further illustrate the situation, here’s a screenshot of the CABQ ArcGIS parcel map (which is really cool, by the way) upon which I have tried to click precisely at the gravel spot:

walmart parcel

Unfortunately, you can’t tell precisely where I clicked to have the parcel info box appear to the left, but it was, quite polycentrically, right on that red line between Coors Blvd. and the Walmart (north of Miami Road NW).

We’re right on that red line, leaving us to once again invoke a concept/term we’ve been referring to quite at BB recently, as what we most certainly have here is a classic “polycentric governance” issue.

We also have a rather insignificant, yet seemingly so damn easy to fix gravel problem. So, to inexplicably quote Vladimir Lenin, “what is to be done?” BB proposes the following solution:

Make Walmart pave the strip of gravel from the existing parking lot pavement to the faux multi-use path.

Before we start dusting off our hands to celebrate a job well done, however, there is the simple matter of HOW we will make Walmart do this. Many options exists when dealing with a private enterprise in the retail industry, but things like boycotting Walmart seem a bit much, and, besides, many folks have been boycotting Walmart for decades without too much discernible impact.

No, I think we should just ask them, perhaps while holding bags of items purchased in easily identifiable Walmart grocery bags. BB volunteers to do the asking (sans bags, as I don’t really like shopping at Walmart much), but if any readers out there have already established contact with folks at Walmart, either at Coors/Ouray or Bentonville, Arkansas, feel free to beat me to the “ask.”

If you get a chance to do so, please pass along how it went and any time frames for having the paving work done (I’m optimistic). If interested, we at BB will proudly, loudly and prominently display your name and ebulliently espouse your eternal greatness for having achieved this monumental de-graveling.

Again inexplicably (mis)quoting communists, “we have nothing to lose but our gravel.”

 

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