ART is rolling, but more work remains - Albuquerque Journal

ART is rolling, but more work remains

I DON’T KNOW ART BUT I KNOW WHAT’S NOT DONE: Last week’s inaugural runs on the $126 million Albuquerque Rapid Transit system prompted EJG to email, “If the ART project is done, why is Central west of Rio Grande still a mess with lanes still closed?”

Joanie Griffin of Griffin & Associates, which is handling public information for the project, says that work “is ART and also El Vado (redevelopment construction). ART heavy construction won’t be done ’til year end.”

FYI, the partially operational ART is offering free service to and from the Albuquerque BioPark’s River of Lights on Friday and Saturday nights.

AND TURNS ARE LEFT OUT: Ruth Schultz called to ask if now that ART is here, can you turn left or make U-turns on Central in Nob Hill anywhere, or just at signals?

One driver found out the answer the hard way. On one of the first runs Nov. 25, an ART electric bus was hit by a car whose driver made an illegal left turn.

Griffin says drivers can make left turns and U-turns “at signals only. Drivers may not cross the ART Bus-Only lanes ever. They are for the ART buses and emergency vehicles only.

“The main thing is for drivers to pay attention. There are rumble strips to alert them if they’ve accidentally entered the ART Bus-Lane only. And at every signalized intersection, there is a left turn arrow – when that is illuminated they can turn left or make a legal U-Turn.”

WHY ARE VENDORS STILL ON TRAMWAY? Five years ago, Wallace E. Anderson sent that question in.

And five years later, he is again asking, “Why are the wood sellers, tree and shrub venders, and all other venders allowed to use the shoulder of Tramway from Lomas to Academy to sell their wares? We know this is illegal and dangerous, but apparently no one cares. The scraps of wood left behind by these venders can injure a cyclist like it has in the past – not to mention the danger of these vehicles and trailers pulling on to a fast moving highway. Why isn’t this addressed by our law enforcement?”

The New Mexico Department of Transportation says the rules haven’t changed:

In a January 2013 column, a spokesman explained, “The New Mexico Administrative Code states no vending on highway right-of-way shall be permitted and that it could be deemed as criminal trespass (NMSA 1978, Section 30-14-1). Article 14 Trespass states that whoever commits criminal trespass is guilty of a misdemeanor. The law enforcement authority having jurisdiction would be the Albuquerque Police Department or Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, depending on the location along N.M. 556 (Tramway).”

And NMDOT also provided a copy of the letter given to vendors. It cites the state administrative code, 18-NMAC 20.5.10, and says in part “vending/parking is not permitted in the highway right of way and must cease immediately. If the vending does not cease immediately, the department representative may file a complaint of criminal trespass with the law enforcement authority having jurisdiction.”

CAN’T SEE THE LINES ON N.M. 528: Mary Jo Hoak emails that “the striping on N.M. 528 from Westside Boulevard from Rio Rancho to Ellison Boulevard is almost impossible to see, especially with the glare of the sun as you come down the hill. It is a bit harrowing, and at the speed almost all of the cars are traveling down hill, I feel it is unsafe as cars get uncomfortably close to each other. Any chance the state highway department could re-stripe soon?”


NMDOT District 3 spokeswoman Kimberly Gallegos says, “This section of roadway is scheduled to be re-striped in the spring of 2018.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.

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