Riding Through NIMBY Dreamland

The Better Burque Tactical Urbanism Team (BBTUT) rode to the far east side of Burque through Singing Arrow Community Center yesterday on our way to the corner of Tramway and Wenowah:


The visit brought to memory a fairly recent news story about the Community Center and a question about Tramway and Wenowah, location of the turn-around/eastern terminus of both ABQRide routes #66 and #777 (Green Line Rapid Ride).

First the Community Center. Remember this KOB quote and story regarding “controversial” plans to renovate/expand Singing Arrow?


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Judy Young was excited about moving to her Four Hills neighborhood a decade ago. “If you bought a home in this area 10 years ago, you could see that this area was going to be revitalized, and man we were going to go,” she said.

She voted to spend more tax dollars to revitalize the area.

Proposed community center faces opposition in SE Albuquerque

“When I looked at that bond issue, I said, ‘great, this is a good thing for this community,'” Young said.

However, she now feels bamboozled. Young and a group of neighbors are opposing a $5.5 million community center.”We also don’t understand why, when we vote for something, how our votes can be turned into something that we do not want,” Young said. “We are concerned that the location of where they want to build the new building will attract transients into the area.”

The new community center would sit about 600 feet from the current Singing Arrow Community Center. City Councilor Don Harris says the new community center will offer much more than the current one, including benefiting lower-income children and refugees with after-school programs.

“One of the reasons why some people don’t like the project is because there’s been a lot of misrepresentation,” Councilor Harris said.

The planning commission tabled the issue. Councilor Harris said he will be recusing himself when and if the new center comes to a vote.


BB reprints the story in full from the KOB site, as it so cogently captures the sheer immensity of NIMBYism,  shameless capitalism, and not very well-veiled class/racism. The “transients” reference from Ms. Young is particularly fraught with juicy NIMBY code. Because who isn’t against “transients”?  It’s not like they are human or anything…

Which gets us to the corner of Tramway and Wenowah, site of a recent death to someone trying to walk. Apologies for BB not taking its own photo, but this Google Streetview screengrab captures the safety issues at this intersection quite well.

tram and wen

You got…

  • Two bus stops, the 777 on Tramway and the 66 around the corner on Wenowah.
  • No marked crossing of Wenowah; just a stop-bar for drivers, because…it all about drivers, although one might want to cross this to get the bus. It could happen…
  • A curve through which many drivers zoom (the Google screengrab doesn’t capture this; MRCOG traffic counts indicate about 9,000 drivers on an average day (roughly what Coal Avenue experiences downtown to I-25).
  • Keep in mind your ABQ typical turn-signal usage rate as you debate when to walk across Wenowah. Is that driver zooming around that curve gonna use his/her/their turn-signal when flying around the 777 bus before/when turning right? Or are they just gonna turn right?
  • A Smith’s Grocery across the street from the 777 on Tramway. There is what looks to be a marked, yet unsigned pedestrian crossing right just beyond the upper right edge of this screengrab, so let’s “reverse the shot” and see that apparent crossing closer up:

tram and crossing

Oh, it’s not a bona fide pedestrian crossing at all. It’s merely a strip of concrete instead of pavement, and a notch in the median. You know, KINDA like a pedestrian crossing, but without signs or crosswalk striping.

BB observed this “crossing” intersection for a number of minutes waiting for the 777, and compliance by drivers, understandably, was mixed as several walkers crossing, many with groceries, chanced making it from the Smith’s. Not to be trite, but this is all an accident (#crashnotaccident) waiting to happen.

Given the lack of a marked crossing at Wenowah, the only option for walkers other than this not-really-a-crossing-but-it-kinda-is to walk to Tramway and Central a few hundred feet away, and, as anyone who likes to bicycle out in this area can tell you, intersections don’t get much less friendly than Tramway at Central.

Oh, and did we mention that the 777 and 66 bus stops are nearby?

All of this leads to many questions and observations, but we’ll just close for now with a simple question?

Why the Hell isn’t there a full “Eastern Transit Center” at/near the corner of Tramway and Wenowah?

Looking at the ABQRide system map, we have the:

  1. Alvardo Tranportation Center downtown;
  2. Central & Unser Transit Center
  3. Northwest Transit Center
  4. Montano Transit Center
  5. Uptown Transit Center

transit centers

But no Eastern Transit Center, even though eastern terminus of two of the most popular routes in the entire system is located at Central and Wenowah.

Why is that?

Better Burque stands fully ready to be corrected for its possibly erroneous assumption, but we would guess, very strongly, that a/the primary reason for this goes back to the comments of Ms. Young about remodel/expansion of the Singing Arrow Community Center.

In short, if “we” make taking the bus easier/more survivable, “we’re” encouraging “them” to be in “our” neighborhood. If “we” don’t build it, “they” won’t come. 

Better Burque rather hopes it is wrong in this assumption, yet, seeing, in just a few short minutes waiting for the 777 bus yesterday, the sizable number of walkers trying to navigate the very real dangers along Tramway south of Central, and noting a complete lack of roadway infrastructure one would expect given this level of pedestrian traffic and bus stop location, we will just reiterate our question:

Why the Hell isn’t there a full “Eastern Transit Center” at/near the corner of Tramway and Wenowah?



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