Monday, December 12, 2005

Speaking Out to the MRCOG

The Metropolitan Transportation Board (MTB) of the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) will hold a public meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 16, 2005 at MRGC's office (809 Copper Avenue, N.W. in Albuquerque). On the agenda will be the MTB's decision on whether to allow the City of Albuquerque to amend the 2025 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) to provide for four general purpose lanes of traffic on the non-bridge portion of Montaño Road between Coors Boulevard and 4th Street.

Readers of this blog are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions on whether the MTB should approve the City's amendment request to the MTP during the public comment period of the MTB meeting. If you cannot attend the MTB meeting, please forward your comments to Mr. Mark Sprick, MRCOG Transportation Planning Services Manager, via email at msprick@mrcog-nm.gov or via U.S. Mail at 809 Copper, N.W., Albuquerque, NM 87102. You may also wish to carbon copy City Councilor Debbie O'Malley at domalley@cabq.gov and Mayor Chavez at mayor@cabq.gov.

The Los Alamos Addition Neighborhood Association has weighed in on the subject. Below, reprinted with LAANA's permission, is a letter to the MRCOG from Ron Gedrim, LAANA's President:

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Dear Mid-Region Council of Governments,

After all the public effort to find reasonable solutions to the Montaño corridor, we are back to where the Chavez administration wanted to be in the first place: headed in the direction of four general purpose lanes, without serious consideration of past precedent, existing plans, public input, or of the Council funded Hall engineering study; without thought given to the long-range consequences of moving people and not just cars; without due concern for the public's safety and welfare. Favoring unbridled development and the single occupant automobile cannot be sustained in our region. A majority of voters opted for an alternative to the Chavez administration; the mayor was elected without a mandate. And now, because of the continuing disregard for public input and due process, the mayor has jeopardized federal transportation dollars and brought the embarrassment of possible administrative, civil, and criminal penalties to our city.

The Mayor's actions on the Montaño corridor have made a mockery of the 2025 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. He does as he wants and, when stopped, rationalizes with weak explanations. How can the city say that it had planned to ask for a change in the transportation plan but was waiting for a City Council study to be released in the fall, when it acted in total defiance of the City Council and the Council's taxpayer funded studies? How can it restripe in defiance of MRCOG and now say that the restriping wasn't "significant to the transportation plan?" What this administration can't achieve by arm-twisting and fiat, it tries by spin. To capitulate to the Mayor's shameless and underhanded tactics is to be complicit in them. Please don't fall into that political trap.

Our neighborhood asks that MRCOG take a reasoned stand that looks beyond development-motivated politics, that places the health, safety, and welfare of the Albuquerque region above all else. We need a forward seeking Montaño corridor that emphasizes the needs of citizens of both sides of the Rio Grande either in honoring previous two-lane agreements, or at most a corridor that includes a transit lane or single reversible HOV lane that connects to a rational, expanding regional system to move people and not just cars. We need a Montaño corridor that achieves walkability, pedestrian safety, and pollution mitigation; a Montaño corridor that intersects with a revitalized and historic Fourth Street corridor.

Please help us to regain a democratic, rational, and forward-looking approach to the Montaño corridor that will truly meet our citizen's future needs. Do not amend the 2025 Metropolitan Transportation Plan to allow the re-striping of Montaño Road from two lanes to four lanes.

Thank you,

Ronald J. Gedrim, President
PS: Our neighborhood is located immediately northeast of the Montaño/4th Street intersection.