City Council Unanimously Passes Complete Streets Update

Deliberating past midnight this morning through a lengthy agenda, Albuquerque City Council got around to Councilor Ike Benton’s proposed overhaul of the City’s 2015 Complete Streets Ordinance about 11:30 p.m., six and one-half hours after the meeting began and beginning right at 5 Hours and 48 minutes into this videotaping of the session.

As part of a shorter agenda, one not jammed with election ballot question proposals and debate over controversial real estate developments along the Rio Grande, debate and conflict over Benton’s proposal might have quite more pronounced. In the context of 11:30 last night, there was nary a peep about the proposal’s equity language and really only one question from a fellow Councilor about the legislation at all: Council President Klarissa Peña asked, as she often does now when transportation legislation is under consideration, if ADA requirements and improvements were included.

So while the proposal received only a “without recommendation” from the Council’s Land Use, Planning, and Zoning Committee (LUPZ) in mid-June, with plenty of Councilor questions about its equity language, last night going into this morning was a quick study into both the ability of Councilor Benton to work with colleagues over the past six weeks and that time and other factors, including having reached a point of near-exhaustion, are part of how the legislation sausage is ground, too.

PoD 6.12.19
Councilor Benton’s Complete Streets proposal being heard at June’s LUPZ meeting

The cherry and sprinkles to this unanimously passed banana split is undoubtedly passage of a floor amendment by Councilor Benton including “consideration” that the City hire an Active Transportation Coordinator and that it “consider” establishing a Complete Streets Advisory Committee (this floor amendment is not yet online; Councilor Benton reads this and another floor amendment 5 hours and 55 minutes into the session streaming/videotaping).

As readers may recall, BB has brought up the very strong need for both Coordinator and Committee both here and in a Journal Op/Ed. Councilor Benton, Council Staff, and all who navigated the proposal and this floor amendment are heartily commended for their work.

Of course, in the language of legislation “consider” is not as strong as “must,” and is arguably not even as strong as “should.” There is still much work and political will needed to turn “consider” into Coordinator/Committee reality, and advocates very much need to set their advocacy phasers and Google Calendars to “Remind” over the nine months Mayor Keller’s Administration has been given by the legislation to create a Complete Streets plan, one very importantly including performance measures along with the Coordinator/Committee language.

The results of last night’s late-night were very promising. Now more days and late-nights must go into the following through.

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