When You Can Tell They Don’t Plan to Walk Here

hydrant and lightpole new york and central

The most interesting instances of walkability happen in places of new construction. Historic insensitivity to the needs and desires of those using sidewalks are one thing, but outcomes such as the above along Central just west of New York Avenue are another.

This is brand-new work, done as part of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit improvements. Those upgrades are generally wonderful throughout, and will lead to greater walking ease and safety for years to come. Then you have Central at New York.

While it’s true the above is technically up to ADA standards of sidewalk width, creating an unnecessary slalom course as above, instead of aligning the hydrant with the light pole, reflects planning and implementation by a bunch of folks who have zero intention of ever, ever, ever getting out of their SUVs, maybe opening the door to ease reaching down to grab the Arby’s at the drive-thru window, maybe.

As anyone who does walk ABQ can tell you, the number of hydrants that must be moved here to meet ADA compliance is nearly infinite (as will be the cost in moving them all), yet it’s these cases of poor hydrant placement in areas of new construction that are most maddening.

We can do better, and having planning and on-site oversight by people representing those who will be using sidewalks (e.g., ADA Coordinator, Active Transportation Coordinator) will be a big step in avoiding the need to step around mistakes such as above.

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