An important, yet less well-known improvement in multi-modal equity is closer to happening in the historically transportation-trapped East San Jose and adjacent neighborhoods of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County.
After years of environmental assessments, operational analyses, air/noise quality studies, public meetings, public hearings, and a revised (again) environmental assessment, the Sunport Boulevard Extension & Interchange Project looks to be a go, with Phase I construction starting Fall of this year. Opposition over the year from some in the neighborhoods has centered on environmental justice concerns, including anticipated, by some, increases in truck traffic.
Those concerns understood and put somewhat aside, there is the substantial Project benefit of making access to/from these neighborhoods, access hindered by the Rio Grande and BNSF train tracks to the west and I-25’s bifurcation of the neighborhoods in the early 1960s to the east.
In addition to access across I-25 at the newly extended Sunport Boulevard, the Project will include much better cycling/walking access from the neighborhoods south to Woodward Rd. SE (Sunport Blvd. as it name changes going west toward 2nd St. and the River):
Specifically, the new Woodward will include multi-use path access from newly designated bike route William Street (immediately east of the train tracks illustrated below) to 2nd Street and a currently little-used spur to the hugely-used Bosque multi-use Path. Here’s a short explanation of the improvements from Bernalillo County Project staffers:
It might take a few seconds/minutes for the ramifications of the above improvements to sink in. Think about it…we’re enabling generally low-stress bike/walk access to the Bosque Path from a huge, and hugely important, part of town which historically has had basically NO such access. As one who rides from William Street along today’s Woodward to the Bosque Path, I can report that the connection is best described as “high-stress” or “only for semi-to-fully crazy people.”
One big aspect of the current stress is the intersection of Woodward and 2nd Street, and the planned forced Copenhagen Turn across Woodward to get in position for a crossing of 2nd is an understandable and necessary solution. Sure, some of the semi/fully crazy folks can and will just take the driving lanes, but the treatment illustrated above invites use by a much greater percentage of potential users.
We advocates of roadway use by those not driving vehicles tend to focus on the negative when it comes to planned/implemented projects, and BB admits it too often does the same. Here’s a well-considered and greatly appreciated improvement, and the folks at County and anyone else involved in making it happen are roundly commended.
The Woodward work (called Sunport Extension Project here) is scheduled as Phase 2, with an estimated construction start date of Spring 2020. Patience is another admitted BB shortcoming, but given the number of years that have gone into the fight over this project, another year or so seems like tomorrow.
Hope to be taking photos of the East San Jose and adjacent neighborhood families using this route to get to the Bosque Path in the near future. I’ll be sure to post them here.