While I Was Gone Everything Got Fixed

You might have, at some point in the last month, wondered “What the Hell happened to Scot/Better Burque?” If so, thanks and I hope such wondering distracted you pleasantly from the daily slog of living.

I’d love to tell you that I’ve been gone for a month on a grant-funded research excursion to study transportation systems across Europe, or even that I had a legal entanglement after having to cut somebody up who was talking shit about bike lanes at a dive bar in Brooklyn, but the real reason for my absence is so overbearingly boring that my simply relating it to you would cause instant catatonia.

Suffice it to say it paid pretty well and did not involve the use of switchblades, at least not literal ones.

Having done a bit of catch-up research on the state of long-festering local transportation issues missed during my absence, I have arrived at an incontrovertible and powerful truth:

The absolute best thing Better Burque can do for transportation in this city is to go away.

Evidence of this fact seems everywhere. After writing, whining, whinging, and caterwauling over and over and over again on the following, with zero results, the mere power of my absence has evidently made these things happen:

Let’s blow that photo from the tweet up, as it offers Presidential-level professional use of Sharpie (in this case rendered in a very Presidential orange)

padillas sharpie

  • Elsewhere in the South Valley, I heard only yesterday that sections of Foothill SW and La Vega SW are now officially “bike routes,” as long-advocated by your humble blogger, with official “bike route” signs going up as early as next week.
foothill blake to atrisco
The Foothill SW route from Blake north all the way to Atrisco Drive. The street parallels deadly Coors Blvd. north/south with a 99.5% lower chance of being killed.
  • It looks like City o’ ABQ’s Department of Municipal Development (DMD) waited on all its 2019 re-striping jobs until I went away, as now the striping is just about done at several places, including Lead/Coal from 2nd to 8th (which I wrote about only, let’s see…three years ago). I can’t say the finished products are universally wonderful for not not using big-ass pickup trucks to get everywhere, but the results could certainly be worse.
Initial DMD drawings for Lead/Coal back from 2016. Or maybe this was iteration #11. I forget. There’s been about 23 iterations.
  • There are now ADA-compliant curb ramps at the mouth of the apartment complex driveway near Columbia SE and Santa Clara SE. BB wrote last year about the case of a wheelchair user who was struck at this location in 2012, resulting in zero citation for the driver involved, absolutely no admission of ADA non-compliance from the City, and huge sums of victim-blaming in the police report. Nary a word has been heard from anybody about this, but a ride past the location a week or two ago shows the following before/after (apologies that the two photos below seem to be in some sort of “worst sidewalk photos ever” contest):
santa clara columbia driveway 1
Before: Note (i.e., squint hard) the way to wheelchair across was to scale an AMAFCA arroyo level grade incline, going significantly out of the way in doing so.
santa clara after
After: Again squinting hard you can just make out the improvement, here looking east directly into the Sun.

Seriously, the above are only a few of the issues addressed since Scot wishes he had been in that bar fight over bike lanes in Brooklyn. I’m thinking that if I stayed away long enough, ABQ Ride might go back to electric buses for A.R.T. and that bike/ped bridge over I-25 at Silver and the train tracks downtown might get built.

silver and I-25
Only 373 feet needed, as shown above. Maybe if I stay away for a whole year, this will happen.


Naturally, I’d volunteer to get lost for as long as needed, but somehow I mistakenly have this hugely egocentric sense that Better Burque somehow helped cause these things to happen. And it is for this painfully inaccurate reason that I’m back now to keep you informed about things that will probably never get fixed, until I get that grant-funded transpo research gig gallivanting across Europe.

Yes, this is a formal application for such a grant. Thank you for your consideration.

3 thoughts on “While I Was Gone Everything Got Fixed

  1. Welcome back Scot and thanks for the all the news. As promised, here’s the update on Lead-Coal, as of our August 27 neighborhood meeting with the Department of Municipal Development.

    1) DMD’s mitigation strategy for Lead-Coal will focus on driver behavior (especially speeding) and not on the several dangerous conditions of the roadway. Specifically, they will wrap up their ongoing six month trial of signal timing adjustment, evaluate its impact on speed, and if it is not effective consider other interventions.

    2) DMD will not recommend conversion to two-way traffic. Too expensive and too inefficient. In their analysis.

    3) DMD is explicit that their priority number one for Lead-Coal is to move vehicles along the Central Avenue corridor. Not, apparently, the safety of residents, pedestrians, or bicyclists.

    4) We have heard before, and we heard at the meeting, that the needs of other neighborhoods (downtown, Central Avenue) matter more than ours. Maybe that’s just politics. But it sounds like bias. Which we all hope doesn’t get in the way of decisions about how to keep families and neighborhoods safe.

    DMD’s full, written task force recommendations go to Mayor Keller by September 15. The Mayor is to announce his plan for Lead-Coal by September 30. We’re told we’ll meet with him to discuss Lead-Coal sometime after he receives the task force report. But, no date yet.

    All in all, CABQ’s response to the Lead-Coal situation remains disproportionate to its severity. FIVE rollover crashes on Lead-Coal between Washington and Carlisle since May 2017. THREE rollovers since June 16. TWO rollovers into one home.

    We’re not done pushing for a more comprehensive and proportionate response. And, despite the limitations of the current process, we’ve received significantly more serious attention to Lead-Coal from Mayor Keller and his team than under the last administration. Berry, et al shut us out. Worse, they propagated the reckless assertion that diverting traffic from Central to Lead-Coal would help our crash situation! Crazy!


    1. Joseph: Thanks so much for this report. Several interesting responses, particularly the “other neighborhoods” piece, particularly as the same speed problems on Lead/Coal certainly extend into Downtown…from the very same drivers. Will look forward to the Mayor’s late September plan; keep us posted if you hear of anything earlier than that. – Scot


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