Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Albuquerque Journal Agrees: Fix the Intersections First

In an editorial in the December 14, 2004 edition of the Albuquerque Journal, the paper's editorial board takes the position that the City should not consider re-striping the Montaño corridor until the intersections at Fourth Street and at Second Street have been rebuilt to handle additional traffic flow.

Our Coalition has never taken an official position on whether or not Montaño should be widened to four lanes. However, we agree with the Journal that, even with current traffic flows along a two-lane Montaño corridor, the intersections at Fourth and at Second Streets cannot handle the load and need to be completely reengineered. We disagree strongly with the current position taken by the City that the $700,000 that was included in the recently-passed road bond election is sufficient for the overhaul required at Fourth and Montaño. Moreover, the City's current plans for that intersection are only designed to alleviate current traffic flows (i.e., 2 lanes of traffic on Montaño). It would be a complete waste of taxpayer money to use these superficial improvements to justify opening Montaño to four lanes, as the proposed improvements are not sufficient to handle 4 lanes of traffic moving through that intersection.

We recently presented the Coalition's Community Visioning Report to the City Council (http://www.cabq.gov/council/communityvisioningreport.html). That Report, developed by over 100 concerned citizens, provides the basis for a constructive dialogue between affected residents, business owners, commuters and City officials on how best to relieve traffic congestion in our Area while at the same time introducing improvements that will enhance the economic vitality of the Fourth Street corridor. The Mayor's ill-timed and insulting press conference of last Friday notwithstanding, we again call on the Mayor and the City Council to view our work to date as an opportunity to set aside the politics of division (a real challenge in an election year, we recognize) and to do something positive for the entire City in the Fourth Street and Montaño corridors. Mr. Mayor, if you truly want to build a "world class city," merely re-striping Montaño and making superficial changes to the Fourth Street intersection are not the way to do it.

We ask the news media and other citizens to take the Mayor and the City Council to task on this issue. The Mayor and the Council need to call for and conduct an independent, comprehensive study of the Fourth Street and Montaño corridors to determine how to make meaningful improvements that are consistent with the ideas expressed in our Community Visioning Report. The Mayor's laughable "fixes" to the intersections at Second Street and at Fourth Street, together with his ridiculous proposal to create an "hourglass" along Montaño (4 lanes at Coors and Montaño, immediately down to 2 lanes at the bridge, then back to 4 lanes immediately after the bridge - just think of the merging antics!!!) fall far short of doing anything meaningful or positive either for commuters or for the taxpayers who would foot the bill.

You may view the Journal's editorial at http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/1OP12-14.HTM.