How YOU Can Help Implement Burque’s Active Streets Initiative

Back on June 8th, going on 50 days ago, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signed the “Active Streets Initiative,” making it possible to close some streets to thru motor traffic. The Initiative sponsored by City Councilor Isaac Benton follows measures in other cities, such as Seattle, seeking to encourage safe, socially-distant walking and rolling in these pandemic times by closing selected neighborhood streets to all but local driving traffic.

As it’s approaching 50 days since Mayor Keller signed the Initiative, how’s implementation going with regards to closing some streets to thru traffic here?

For comparison, let’s look first at how things have progressed in Seattle, which began its program as a pilot in April, roughly 100 days ago:

seattle safe streets

And here’s how things are going in Albuquerque:

burque map

Okay, it’s a “trick map.” This is just a map copy/pasted from “Visit Albuquerque.” Unlike Seattle’s miles and miles of already closed(ish) streets, Burque ain’t got any. Zero. Nada. Heck, Seattle already has data/graphs showing how such closures have impacted non-motorized usage (here for a pilot of closing its Lake Washington Blvd.):

lake wash numbers
Yeah, these are pre/post bike counts (imagine that!) first shown on the Seattle Department of Transportation blog. (yes, SDOT has a blog…imagine that!)

Meanwhile, while City of Albuquerque has gotten to the point of collecting ideas from the public on which streets would be best for such closure, it has not gotten to the point of actually closing any recommended streets.

That’s not good.

“Fortunately,” the pandemic is very much turning out to be a marathon and not a sprint, allowing much more time for CABQ to get around to closing some streets.

Which it hasn’t done.


Some 50 days since passage of the Initiative.

A very common local reaction to anyone bringing up comparison between Burque and places like Seattle is “Well, we’re not Seattle.” True, but Albuquerque, like Seattle, is a city. It has a city government, and, arguably, has a department of transportation, which for many strange and confusing reasons is called the “Department of Municipal Development” (“DMD” in the parlance).

It’s is DMD’s responsibility to implement the Active Streets Initiative. So far that implementation has consisted of…nothing. Nothing has been implemented. Notably, neither has DMD corresponded any word on a timeline for such implementation. Perhaps DMD should start a blog, even if its blogposts would be on subjects such as “Nope, we still haven’t done anything regarding Active Streets Initiative and we have zero idea on when we might start doing anything.”

Strangely, that would be markedly better than how the process has gone so far.

Hence, maybe DMD needs some help getting this initiative implemented, and I don’t mean help starting a blog. Anybody can do that. Maybe they just need help “on the ground.”

For instance, a big consideration in helping DMD implement such street closures would be the purchase and placement of signs such as shown here:

seattle closure
Photo: Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times

Let’s see, so we’re talking some:

  • Orange cones
  • “Street Closed” signs
  • Mini sawhorse “barricades” as they are called.

Did you know you don’t have a be a bona fide Department of Transportation to buy such signs? Let’s check some prices online:

Orange Cones:

orange cone

More specifically, as we’re gonna be professional about this, how about we go with: 28″ PVC Traffic Cone High Reflective Black Base 14.2″ x 14.2″ 7 lbs. These are on sale for ten bucks a piece. And they have reflectors. We want reflectors.


Street Closed Signs: 

local traffic only

I’m gonna make an executive decision here and go with my preferred “Local Traffic Only” over “Street Closed.” If DMD doesn’t like it, they can get their own blog.

As you probably already know this is your “3M Engineer Grade Reflective Aluminum Traffic Sign: Local Traffic Only Sign (K-7207)” and it’s going for $32.21 per over at (you probably already have an account there).


Sawhorse Style “Barricades”:


Our good friends at call this an “Economy Plastic & Steel Barricade,” and while we’d save quite a bit by buying in bulk, we’ll just go with the listed price of $37.95 per. They come with one reflector on each side, and as you come to know from years of experience, you want a reflector on each side.

Having looked up prices, let’s take another look at that photo above and see how much we’re spending:

seattle closure

Okay, per block above, it looks to come out to:

$30: 3 Orange cones at $10 a piece
$64.42: 2 “Local Traffic Only” signs
$75.90: 2 sawhorses
Total: $170.32

Given this ain’t Amazon and won’t come with free shipping, we’ll need ~$50 for that (we don’t pay tax, we’re a government..we can scrounge up a tax-free ID one way or the other), keeping in mind we’d save a bunch by shipping in bulk as well.

That’s a total of: $220.32 per block. While not an insignificant expenditure, think of it as a variation on the “Adopt-a-Highway” program where you and your dental hygienist friends get together and clean up a stretch of highway each year so you can have a roadway sign that says: “Adopt-a-Highway Litter Control Next 1 Mile ABQ Society of Dental Hygienists”

Shall we start a GoFundMe or would you prefer to just send me/DMD the money via Paypal?

Meanwhile, I’ve got a good connection with the owner of a large pick-up truck and think I can score that for free. It helps to have a wife who loves horses (sometimes). You and your dental hygienist friends buy and I’ll “fly” us around as we implement such closures, wearing either DMD or Better Burque Tactical Urbanism Team (BBTUT) apparel (whatever that is in both cases).

Which reminds me, we need a BBTUT logo. Maybe like “Space Force” but with traffic cones.

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