Albuquerque City Council unanimously adopted the Bikeways and Trails Facility Plan on May 18, 2015. This plan builds on many years of hard work and specifies next steps in the progression for increasing bicycling friendliness. The plan’s champion Councilor Isaac Benton said this was a long time coming and took a multi department effort that was boosted by advocacy from the entire community. Bicycling is generating an atmosphere of excitement in Albuquerque, NM.
I’m including a link to the actual City Council proceedings because it tells a tremendous story. This was a community moment where the long struggle to realize a vision of better bicycling was recognized. The prevailing sense is that bicycling connects people together, and better bicycling advances all of humanity. People really want this, and are doing the work to make it happen. There was a pause to take stock and celebrate all the hard work it has taken to get the plan this far. It hasn’t been easy, but challenges increase rewards, and people were feeling the joy in that. There is also a sense of focused excitement and obligation of duty–a sense of purpose–that there is more to come as we look toward the horizon. We can apply what we’ve learned and use the innovations happening in cycling transportation to carry momentum forward into the implementation process. We want to keep everyone involved and engage more people in sharing the enthusiasm for bicycling.
Four speakers provided public comment prior to the vote. Mike Trujillo recounted how safety has improved and new facilities have opened up access for bicycling. He uses the Gail Ryba bridge to reach the west side and the Coal, Lead, and MLK Blvd. improvements help connect downtown and the river to the university, the community college, Nob Hill, and the southeast neighborhoods. Stephen Verchinski urged everyone to keep pushing for elevating Albuquerque’s bicycle friendly status. Stephen advocated for ongoing leadership from Council. Channeling our care and energy, we can aim for silver, then gold level status for bicycling friendliness, and beyond. John Thomas provided community perspective on the importance of access for all kinds of users. John emphasized connectivity, and building up the engineering practices for bicycling and walking transportation. Julie Luna discussed achievements in consistency and coordination with long range planning efforts at the regional level, and the cooperative spirit developing between different agencies. Everyone sees our understanding of how to better accommodate people bicycling and walking is evolving.
The Council’s reflections on their own bicycling activites produced smiles. Councilor Sanchez recognized the effectiveness of Councilor Benton’s engagement with stewarding bicycling. The pay off is huge. We see what we’ve learned on this journey and channel our efforts to galvanize community and unite us as one team working for a common goal. The Council recognizes the affinity of Albuquerque’s relationship with health, wellness, and vibrant outdoor life. Council President Rey Garduño spoke of Albuquerque as a place that is mentioned in the same breath as world class bicycling. That is a vision worth working towards.
Thanks to continuous work on refining the bike and trails plan, we have a good roadmap for taking the next steps. It takes a whole team and the entire city staff should be commended. Planner Carrie Barkhurst and city council staff Andrew Webb were both recognized by City Council for providing a high level of leadership and keeping the different elements–elected officials, professional staff, community advisors and advocates–involved and moving forward. A particular note of accomplishment is the emphasis on user friendliness in the bikeways and trails system. The user experience is always placed at the center, and Carrie and Andrew led the way for keeping everyone in touch with that and working together.
In the video you can scroll down to the index and select the bike plan agenda item:
Video of City Council discussing and passing Albuquerque Bike Plan
Finally some photos I took yesterday on my lunch ride. Give the desert some rain and it blooms to purple. What a place to live, work, and bicycle. I love bicycling in Albuquerque.