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Issue: 44
March 2015
MRMPO and MRCOG Transportation News

Final Draft Futures 2040 MTP Public Comment Period Open Now Through April 2nd
The Final Draft Futures 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) has been released for final public review and comment. Comments must be received no later than 5 pm on Thursday, April 2, 2015 and can be sent by mail to MRCOG (809 Copper Ave. NW ABQ, NM 87102) or email (mtpcomments@mrcog-nm.gov). 

Public comment can also be made at a final public meeting for the plan being held on Tuesday, March 24 at 5:30 pm in the MRCOG Board Room. 

Final action on the Futures 2040 MTP will be taken at the Metropolitan Transportation Board meeting on Friday, April 17 at 10 am in the MRCOG Board Room. 

The Futures 2040 document is available for review at the MRCOG office, on the MRCOG website, and at the Main Albuquerque Public Library, the Main Rio Rancho Public Library and the Belen and Los Lunas public libraries. 

Additional information on the plan can be found here.
Public Open House and Meeting for Final Draft Futures 2040 MTP and FFY 2016-2021 TIP
There will be a final public meeting in conjunction with the MRCOG Public Involvement Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 5:30 pm  in the MRCOG Board Room to present Futures 2040 and the FFY 2016-2021 TIP. Public comment can be made at this meeting.  

Additionally, there will be an o pen house from 1:00 pm until 5:30 pm  for review of the documents.

Final action on the MTP and TIP will be taken at the Metropolitan Transportation Board meeting on Friday, April 17, 2015 at 10:00 am in the MRCOG Board Room.

 

Anyone requiring special accommodations for either of these meetings should notify MRCOG at 505-724-3616 or bthomas@mrcog-nm.gov.

Bike Share Pilot Program to Debut in ABQ this May

Residents of Albuquerque will see the city's first bike share program by May 15, 2015 thanks to collective efforts of a DowntownABQ MainStreet Initiative, the Mid-Region Council of Governments, and the City of Albuquerque. Albuquerque Bike Share, or BICI (pronounced "BEE-see"), is working with the bike sharing leader, Zagster, to provide 35-50 bicycles that can be shared by residents and visitors - initially within the downtown area. Plans are currently underway on station site selection for the pilot program, which is being funded through a hybrid approach by a PNM grant, local private sponsorship, and support from the City of Albuquerque. The BICI pilot program will run for one year but has the potential to continue and expand because the City/County recently applied for grant funding for a city-wide bike share. Although BICI is in the initial stages of planning, an official launch is planned for May 15 (this year's date for the annual Bike to Work Day). For additional information, please visit here and here.

Transportation News

City of Albuquerque Joining Secretary Foxx's Mayor's Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx is challenging mayors and local elected officials to take significant action to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities over the next year. The City of Albuquerque has recently signed on for this challenge that is based on the 2010 U.S. DOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation.

 

The official kick-off date for the challenge is March 12, 2015. This challenge involves mayors and other elected city officials leading a call to action and helping their cities take on the activities outlined below.

Call to Action

  • Issue a public statement about the importance of bicycle and pedestrian safety
  • Form a local action team to advance safety and accessibility goals
  • Take local action through the Challenge Activities (listed below)

Mayors' Challenge Activities

Downtown Albuquerque Walkability Analysis Now Adopted

The City of Albuquerque has adopted the Downtown Walkability Analysis report as city policy for prioritizing multi-modal improvements in downtown Albuquerque. The Downtown Walkability Analysis also includes a list of recommended projects for short term and longer-term implementation. Downtown Albuquerque is expecting many new improvements with the adoption of this policy and with the UNM Regents' approval of the master plan for Innovate ABQ.

National Research Group Identifies Top NM Road Concerns

The national research group TRIP has identified a top-25 list of New Mexico's transportation improvement needs, including four projects in Bernalillo County. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the organization "warned that failure to pay for the projects will hinder the state's economy and worsen safety for travelers." Of the four projects called out in TRIP's top ten needs for the state, two are Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) studies: the proposed Paseo del Norte and Central Avenue BRT alignments.

 

Four elements set BRT apart from other transit services: off-board fare collection, station platforms, signal priority, and dedicated lanes. These elements speed up the boarding and alighting process and allow the buses to avoid traffic in order to achieve consistent speeds. More information on Albuquerque Rapid Transit, or ART, can be found here.

 

To read the entire Albuquerque Journal article, click here. 

Rio Metro Featured in Mass Transit Magazine

The March 2015 issue of Mass Transit Magazine will prominently feature the Rio Metro Regional Transit District, both inside the magazine and on the front cover. Mass Transit Magazine is the only magazine exclusively dedicated to public transportation. A representative from the magazine visited Rio Metro in February to discuss several current and upcoming projects, including service improvements, bus rapid transit, the veterans train pass pilot project, and our unique advertising program. Several of the Rio Metro staff are featured on the front cover of the magazine posing in front of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express.


 

Learn More About Mass Transit Magazine

Car-to-Car Communications Technology Making Strides

Car-to-Car communication (also known as vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, technology), which can help reduce the number of car crashes and congestion, has been improving and has been noted as one of the top 10 "Breakthrough Technologies for 2015" by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's global independent media organization. Transportation officials at MRMPO member agencies are anticipating the positive safety and operations effects that these vehicles will have for travelers within the AMPA.

 

Read more

Development Corner

Welcome to the Development Corner!
The Development Corner  is a new Travel Times segment that will keep you up to date on the region's major land use news and events. Transportation does not exist in a bubble; it is heavily impacted by land use decisions and zoning regulations. For this reason, MRMPO provides input on development cases in order to better coordinate transportation and land use planning in the region. We'll include some highlights from the goings-on in the four county area here.


 

 

Rio Rancho to Get New Bridge

 

The expansion of Westside Boulevard and replacement of leaky water service lines are moving forward. Westside Blvd will be expanded from two lanes to four at a narrow section just west of Golf Course Road. A second bridge will be constructed over the Black Arroyo East Branch Channel for eastbound traffic and the final layer of asphalt will be put down from the bridge to Unser Boulevard.

 

The project is expected to start this month and finish by October, according to the City.

 

Read the Observer article here .
  

Santolina Hearing Rescheduled to March 25 and 26

 

The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will consider the request for approval of the Santolina Level A Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning  o n March 25, 2015 from 1:30-6:30 pm  and continuing on  March 26, 2015 at 9 am , as necessary, in the Vincent E. Griego Chambers, Level 2, One Civic Plaza NW.

 

During this hearing, the Board will also hear five appeals of the County Planning Commission's recommendation of approval with conditions of the Santolina requests. Read more information on the case here.   

 

Edgewood Cleaning Up Property Zoning Records

 

According to Edgewood Mayor Brad Hill, historically, applicants who had applied for a zoning change may have thought the process was complete, but the zoning map was not always updated to reflect the zoning decision. Some of the 16 suggested map corrections identified by town staff to resolve these inconsistencies were recently approved.  While some of the zoning discrepancies necessitated simply updating the designation on the map, other cases revealed added complexities. For example, "One case which was tabled involved Valley View Christian Church. The zoning on the property is R-1 (Residential) but the map shows R-S (Residential and Services.) Abrams said it appeared that council approved the zoning before planning and zoning ever heard it." According to the mayor, staff and procedures are now in place to prevent these issues from happening in the future. Read the original article in the March 11-17 issue of The Independent
Calendar

March Calendar

Metropolitan Transportation Board Meeting
Fri., Mar. 20, 
10-11:30am
MRCOG Board Room
Rio Metro Board Meeting
Fri., Mar. 20, noon 

MRCOG Board Room
Final Draft Futures 2040 MTP and Final Draft FFY 2016-2021 TIP Open House 
Tues., Mar. 24,
1pm-5:30pm
MRCOG Board Room
Public Involvement Committee Meeting and General Public Meeting on Final Draft Futures 2040 MTP and Final Draft FFY 2016-2021 TIP
Tues., Mar. 24, 5:30pm
MRCOG Board Room
ITS Subcommittee Meeting Wed., Mar. 25, 1:30pm MRCOG offices
 

MRMPO Staff Contact Information

 

Aaron Sussman, Senior Planner                              

asussman@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Andrew Gingerich, GIS Analyst

agingerich@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Barbara Thomas, Program Support Coordinator   

bthomas@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Caeri Thomas, Transportation Planner and GIS Coordinator                                      

cthomas@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Chowdhury Siddiqui, Travel Demand Modeler/Land Use Modeler                                 

csiddiqui@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Dave Pennella , Transportation Program Manager    

dpennella@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

James Foty, Transportation Intern

jfoty@mrcog-nm.gov  

 

Julie Luna, Transportation Planner                                                 

jluna@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Kendra Watkins, Socioeconomic Program Manager            

kwatkins@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Maida Rubin, Planner

mrubin@mrcog-nm.gov

 

Nathan Masek, Transportation Planner                                

nmasek@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Shohreh Day, GIS/Systems Analyst                                          

sday@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Steven Montiel, Transportation Planner                               

smontiel@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Tara Cok, Transportation Planner                                          

tcok@mrcog-nm.gov 

 

Thaddeus Lucero , Director of Planning                                  

tlucero@mrcog-nm.gov