Smash the State: Tactical Urbanism Spreads on the Chavez Loop

smash the state 2
Better Burque Tactical Urbanism Team (BBTUT) had nothing to do with this sign blowing over this bollard. Honest.

The gathering winds of Autumn led BBTUT south this past weekend, on what proved to be the good idea that we’d go against the wind early and benefit heavily coming back toward town.

Our eventual route first followed the full and flowing Barr Canal, that bit of man-made waterway the mouth of which many users of the Bosque Path south of Bridge Blvd. see.  In layperson ABQ parlance it’s the ditch that comes off the main ditch alongside the softball fields near the Bueno Foods plant.

barr bridge
Barr Canal almost fully engorged (see the previous water line?) from the little spur bridge from Bosque Path to 2nd Street

Our investigation of the Barr Canal had us riding road bikes on patches of ditchbank road bikes probably shouldn’t go, and a few hazily owned patches of federal and private land that decidedly non-federal, non-private cyclists might not be allowed to go.

Hence, an adventure.

And the adventuring was thoroughly pleasant down to Valle del Oro where we saw sandhill cranes, chalking their extremely early appearance down to climate change until we research later and discovered it is a perfectly “normal” time for them to appear, whatever “normal” now is.

Sauntering generally south we also came across this sign on the Chavez Loop (think Bosque Path extension south of Rio Bravo) at 2nd Street:

chavez loop closed
The sunlight and cloud experts in the BB readership will note that this photo wasn’t taken the same day. I first ran across this sign a little over a week ago.

Just as in the photo above, there was sufficient gap to traverse the “road closed” and go under 2nd Street to see if the sign was related to work being done to put a multi-use path bridge over the arroyo connecting the already in-place stretches done for the Valle de Oro project.

No work appeared to be happening, weekday or weekend. A call into the County yesterday revealed that no work has yet been done. A one-night job installing such a bridge is, according to the County, planned for October 25th. As that’s a couple of weeks away, the reported plan is to remove the above “road closed” signs until that day. Readers are encouraged to report whether this plan has been put into motion.

Riding further east Sunday to see if another sign was up on the other side of 2nd, we came across the aforementioned sign strewn along the gravel. Here’s a closer look:

smash the state
Nope. No bullet holes. Cyclists aren’t into carrying guns quite as much as some folks, I reckon.

No big deal, but evidently some Chavez Loop users felt the sign better placed in the manner above. BBTUT can report both that it had nothing to do with such a placement and that its removal certainly did make riding easier on the Loop.

So from a news perspective, keep that October 25th date in mind if you’re a regular user of the Chavez Loop. From a BBTUT perspective, the only news is that the riding was great, if hazily legal. To be honest, its greatness was notably enhanced by the haziness of its legality.

A route map of our ride, one that gets you to Valle de Oro and other wonderful spots, is available upon request.


Update, 1:58 p.m., 10.9.18: Road Closed sign still up on the westside of the construction:

chavez loop closed


And here’s why:

bridge prep 2nd street and vdo

Guess the construction folks are worried some dirt will fall from their excavation work toward/over the Chavez Loop. Hard to tell from photo, but there a significant grade down to what appears to be new bridge level. I would have asked the construction guys, but they were busy.

More info as BB gets it…



5 thoughts on “Smash the State: Tactical Urbanism Spreads on the Chavez Loop

  1. Huh. Cool. I was wondering how it came to be. There was someone sitting very still in a snag in the middle of the field, communing with the cracked past or something. Thought it prudent not to disturb him, as he was likely already disturbed enough. Also, rubber tubes and glass shards don’t mix.

    Bummer the link in the link promising more history was dead. Maybe way back captured it.


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