ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Meetings being held to review and get public comment on an ongoing study of travel to and from the area
Combine the students, faculty and staff who make up the University of New Mexico’s main campus area, including its hospital, with those from the nearby Central New Mexico Community College campus, and they equal a population nearly the size of Valencia County.
“You’re talking about an ‘activity center’ that’s about 75,000 strong, which makes it the largest activity center in the city — by far,” said Chris Blewett, staff member of the Mid-Region Council of Governments and director of the Rio Metro Regional Transit District.
The people traveling to and from that area account for some 5 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in the region on an average weekday.
Those are among findings planners will present to the public Wednesday during meetings about the ongoing “Travel Demand Management Study.”
The study examines transportation conditions in the UNM/CNM area and seeks ways “to make travel to and from the area more convenient, affordable and compatible with nearby neighborhoods.”
The meetings will review and seek public comment on the study’s research findings, which touch on such things as when UNM is at its busiest, where the people who use the campuses live and how they get to the area.
“We want people to think about this information,” Blewett said. “I think part of what we’re saying is, ‘OK, if you really want to do a better job of managing auto travel, particularly to and from these campuses, you’ve got to look at things in terms of packages, because of a lot of this stuff goes together …’ ”
“I think our findings generally won’t shock anybody,” he said. But some “surprising” things are showing up.
Among them is the number of people who use transit.
“We looked at distances from these campuses by mile intervals, and big percentages (of the campuses’ population) live beyond seven miles — over 50 percent for both UNM and CNM,” Blewett said. Even at the longer distances, he said, people’s “propensity to use transit was much higher than we thought it would be: 25, 26 percent.”
UNM/CNM travel study meetings
- Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday at the UNM Student Union Building, Fiesta Room.
- 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the United Methodist Church, Social Hall, 201 University NE.