Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Journal Reaffirms Its Support for Independent Study

For the second time in the past several weeks, The Albuquerque Journal today reaffirmed its endorsement of Councilor O'Malley's call for an independent study of the Fourth Street and Montaño intersection (http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/2OP1-19.HTM). Mayor Chavez has vetoed the City Council's resolution calling for an independent study, saying that the city should conduct the study "in-house."

Mayor Chavez has made abundantly clear that he wants to separate the issue of Fourth and Montaño from the other corridor study that he has said he wants to conduct for Fourth Street. His actions also affirm that he is willing to defy the City Council in order to open the corridor up to four lanes as early as possible, without regard to the elements of our Community Visioning Report (see link in the right hand column of this blog). Municipal Development Director Ed Adams has repeatedly suggested that there is only a minimal relationship between what happens at the intersection of Fourth and Montaño and the economic impacts to the surrounding area.

The Mayor's desire to control the Fourth and Montaño intersection study comes not from his purported desire to save the city money, but rather from his need to control what happens at the intersection (i.e., create a four lane corridor regardless of any other considerations from our Community Visioning Report) and to control the timing of when those "improvements" occur (i.e., prior to the mayoral election this fall in order to appease his West Side political base).

A study is only as good as the scope given to the entity that conducts the study. If the Mayor controls the study, he will direct the person(s) responsible to come up with a four lane option that can be implemented prior to the mayoral election (or at least substantially completed by then). This completely defeats the work done by hundreds of Albuquerqueans on both sides of the river who are attempting to craft solutions for the Fourth Street and Montaño Area that are consistent with our published Community Visioning Report. The Mayor and the City Council need to exercise the political courage to do what's right for the long-term best interests of our city: conduct an independent study that includes in its scope the key elements of our Visioning Report. Only then will Albuquerqueans have faith in the options recommended by the study. Only then will we have a better idea of what's truly possible. Only then will we see options that include better traffic flow AND the opportunity for meaningful revitalization of Fourth Street (the oldest commercial road in North America).

We encourage you to tell the Mayor and the City Council what The Albuquerque Journal (on two separate occasions), The Albuquerque Tribune, and several state legislators have already stated publicly: let's conduct an independent evaluation of this intersection so that we can make intelligent, long-term, visionary decisions for our community. Let's seize the opportunity to have the Fourth Street and Montaño corridors unite, not divide, our city.