Back in November BB wrote about the “dark” light signal at Coors Boulevard and Las Estancias in the far South Valley, a intersection signal that has been installed for years now, but was still not in operation. In the parlance, the light had not been officially shown to be “warranted” through traffic study, as actual/potential usage of users coming from the ever-expanding number of strip malls storefronts and such was deemed not yet sufficient.
So now, at the end of January, 2018, the light (at least the last time I drove through only a few days ago) still looks like this:
Today we read, in an Albuquerque Journal piece of unabashed rah-rah strip mall capitalism, that the number of shops in “Las Estancias” continues to rapidly expand:
Brokers say they’ve already reached 40 percent of a projected 550,000 square-foot buildout and are equally interested to draw marquee names as well as small business owners looking to set up shop.
Near future tenants will include Hobby Lobby and the day-car provider “123 Child Development,” which will sit next to a brand-new Lovelace clinic.
As an aside, it’s interesting how such an antiquated and car-centric form of economic development is so exciting and new out here in the hinterlands (full disclosure: I live about .5 mile from this strip mall “heaven” as the crane flies), while in other parts of town/country it would be seen/protested as horrible in-fill.
Take for instance, the photo used in the Journal story today:
Photo: Adolph Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal
Note the parent and child walking across part of a haphazard sea of strip mall parking lots glowingly described thus:
For many South Valley residents, visiting the doctor’s office, knocking out grocery lists, hitting the gym at Planet Fitness and making a coffee run can now be done in nearly one fell swoop at the $70 million mixed-use development at Rio Bravo and Coors boulevards.
Yeah, that “one fell swoop” is a real doozy to drive, and even more so to walk through. The story also notes a brewpub might be going in soon, as well, a VERY notable thing in an area that basically de facto outlawed drinking establishments twenty years ago.
All of which gets us back to this light:
Turning left/southbound from Las Estancias to Coors has been an ever-increasing scary proposition for years now. Having some “dead” light fixture in place has only raised irony, certainly not safety. Now we’re talking brewpubs.
When is that light gonna get “warranted”? When will it go “live”?
In the bigger picture, when will sprawl end and the boom/bust of strip mall, car-centric thinking die off, everywhere, including the hinterlands? Urban planning might be evolving dramatically in the downtowns, but out here in the sticks we’re trying our damnedest to emulate Juan Tabo Blvd., circa 1977.
Why integrate non-motorized users into economic development when you can look like snazzy “Philadelphia Freedom” era Elton John Juan Tabo Boulevard? Bring on the giant spectacles and huge platform shoes, South Valley folks, we’re gonna get into the Chevy Vega and do some shopping…