I remember back in the early to mid 1990s when Marty was pushing through the Paseo "Freeway" to the westside. I was in middle school and so incredibly excited that our city would have another freeway. That nearly made us like a big city!
15 years later, that freeway has fed into the sprawl machine that has pushed most new growth to the northwest mesa and Rio Rancho. I say sprawl as though it were a vile word but I have to admit that I don't truly see it being the devil, per se. However, in this day and age, feeding this 20th century "solution" to growth and traffic management seems a bit naive.
The biggest cheerleader is wanna-be mayor Cadigan whose constituents, obviously, want to cross the river much quicker and dislike sitting in idling traffic. Who doesn't? Here lies my inner communist planner: these people made the decision to move to this area with limited routes into "the City" (that makes it sound cool when you say it like that), they should not be bailed out of their poor decision. Cadigan, being the enlightened individual that he wants to be, balks at the mayors attempts at investing in the stagnant downtown (see: arena, streetcar) because of budget constraints. Yet, he is aggressively pushing for a short term solution that puts us further in the hole, financially, than this "boondoggle" choo choo. I want to qualify my "short term solution" statement by forecasting an increasingly growing westside and increased commuter traffic into "the City." This growth will put us right back to our current situation but only on a larger scale. Therefore, this $250 million dollar solution is not, in fact, a solution, but a very expensive, parasitic, band aid.
When will people wake up to the world around them? Albuquerque is already tip-toeing the line of excessive bad air quality days. We're using far more water than we planned. And our educated youth are leaving in droves.
I was recently given a presentation by a Chinese planning firm that stated what everyone seems to acknowledge (even in rural, northwestern China!) - that educated young adults are swarming to cities that exhibit smart growth practices and provide rich, urban environments. These places, in turn, attract employers looking for such talent. How do our city leaders not recognize this?
Screw quality of life, we need more roads, says Michael Cadigan!
Sorry, I can't help it.