Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

Work starts on 50-mile bike loop

A bicyclist crosses the Interstate 40 pedestrian overpass near Winrock Town Center on Tuesday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

A bicyclist crosses the Interstate 40 pedestrian overpass near Winrock Town Center on Tuesday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal

With the turn of a shovelful of dirt along a bike trail behind Winrock Town Center, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry on Tuesday broke ground on the first phase of what eventually will be a 50-mile continuous loop through the city for bicyclists.

The so-called “Activity Loop” has been in the planning stages for three years, and about 80 percent of it is already in place. The remaining work, to be done in nine phases over several years as funding is made available, is intended to fill in the gaps and make safety and trail improvements, Berry said.

The idea was to take some of the 520 miles of existing bike lanes and trails and “connect them into a 50-mile loop that goes through our city, from the mountains to the river, from Uptown to Downtown, from historic Route 66 to urban areas to agrarian areas, and give people in our community an interesting way to stay fit, to enjoy time with their families, to create tourism opportunities,” the mayor said.

A00_jd_08apr_Activity-loopPhase one, which has a price tag of just under $1 million, is focused on the section from Uptown to Nob Hill and is expected to be completed by early September. The construction involves building a pedestrian/bicycle bridge just east of Pennsylvania.

It also will include signal improvements at San Pedro and Haines NE, striping improvements along Alvarado to Zuni SE, minor improvements at Central and Alvarado, and installation of an on-demand signal at Lomas and Alvarado NE that allows pedestrians and bicyclists to stop road traffic so they can cross safely.

The entire nine-phase project is estimated to cost about $20 million, Berry said.

The League of American Bicyclists, which rates cities for bicycle friendliness, currently gives Albuquerque a Bronze rating.

“We want to move up to Silver and someday Gold,” Berry said.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry talks about a 50-mile loop trail for bicyclists Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for phase one of the project, which makes improvements along a segment that runs from Uptown to Nob Hill. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry talks about a 50-mile loop trail for bicyclists Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for phase one of the project, which makes improvements along a segment that runs from Uptown to Nob Hill. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Sharing his vision, Berry told those gathered to “imagine coming into Albuquerque as a visitor and doing a four-day vacation or a four-day ‘staycation,’ and get on a bicycle, ride 15 miles and stay at a world class resort and spa; then get on your bike the next day and travel 15 miles and then stay at a world class bed and breakfast in an agrarian area; then do the same thing the next day and see our BioPark and zoo and spend time in a boutique hotel on historic Route 66.”

Diane Albert, an avid bicyclist who served on the Greater Albuquerque Bicycle Advisory Committee for nine years, was present on her bicycle for the groundbreaking.

“I think it’s fantastic,” the patent attorney said. “Bicyclists in Albuquerque know this route already, but what this will do is make crossing certain sections safer and fill in some of the gaps.”

Albert was particularly glad the section along Zuni, which she said is unsafe, finally would get some attention.

“We want the entire loop to be family friendly and we want parents to not be afraid to take their kids out on it,” she said.

Also astride bicycles were members of the Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office bike units.

“It makes it easier for the bike patrols to do their jobs,” said BCSO Sgt. A.J. Rodriguez.

More important, he said, it makes it safer for bicyclists to get around and it eases the tension between motorists and bicyclists “so that motorists don’t get impatient and think the bicyclists are holding them up.”

Subscribe now! Albuquerque Journal limited-time offer

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com or Contact the writer.
AlertMe
TOP |