Issue 107 | September 2020
Experience the #OneAlbuquerque community later this month by biking around the region
This year’s annual Bike to Work Day was postponed due to COVID-19. The reimagined event, Bike Thru Burque, is now being hosted as a week-long virtual event, from September 20-26.
There will be many creative and interactive activities for Burquenos to enjoy--all for free! Instead of simply promoting commuting to work by bike, this year’s event goes beyond that usual purpose and encourages people to get out and about and experience their community by bike. 
You are welcome to explore the Bike Thru Burque website to find out about all the details and schedule of activities. We also hope you'll commit to ride!

Additionally, the Mid-Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MRMPO) is facilitating a survey that helps MRCOG and event organizers, including the City of Albuquerque, get a pulse on residents’ opinions about bike riding in our region and bike riding during the pandemic. We encourage you to take this survey, even if you are not yet sure if you can bike during the week. Please feel free to share it with your friends, family, and others in your networks! It takes about 8 minutes or less to complete. You can also find the survey on the Bike Thru Burque website. 
Save the Date for a Citywide CiQlovia in October
CiQlovía is re-envisioned this year as an interactive virtual and physical event that celebrates the many ways people use our streets, sidewalks, trails and parks to be physically active while strengthening their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, October 18 between 10:00AM and 3:00PM select streets, sidewalks, trails and parks in Albuquerque will be dedicated to safe, fun, connected walking and biking activities for all ages and abilities. Please see the CiQlovia facebook page for updates.
The City of Albuquerque Launches ARTx; Major Upgrade to Rapid Ride Service
Modern buses with more room for bikes, Wi-Fi service transforming Route #790-Rapid Ride/Blue Line – without major construction

Since 2009, the #790-Rapid Ride/Blue Line has provided a quick link for riders between Northwest Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico. Starting August 22, the City has relaunched the route and renaming it ARTx, a major upgrade to this last remaining Rapid Ride with the addition of ART-style buses. The new buses not only provide a more comfortable ride, but also have more room inside for bicycles, as well as Wi-Fi service. The project does not involve any major road construction along the route. Read more at the City's website...
The City of Rio Rancho is soliciting input on Water and Comprehensive Plans
The City of Rio Rancho has only one water source, the groundwater from the aquifer. Seventeen wells produce water from the ground for drinking water. The City's Water Resources Management Plan is currently in development and public input can help shape local priorities. Residents are encouraged to complete the survey online.

Rio Rancho is also soliciting feedback through a Comprehensive Plan questionnaire relating to local land-use priorities. Residents are encouraged to complete the questionnaire online.
Updates from the MRMPO Team
We are Wishing Dave Pennella a Very Happy Retirement!
Dave Pennella, MPO Administrator, retired at the end of July 2020, concluding his dynamic career spanning from education to transportation and land-use planning. His responsibilities are now shared by MPO senior staff. Dewey Cave, Executive Director of MRCOG, is serving as Director of the MPO.
"We are infinitely grateful for Dave's leadership," said Steve Montiel, Senior Transportation Analyst. "I, and so many others on our team, had the great fortune of learning from Dave who was extremely knowledgeable in transportation planning. Our MPO staff will carry on his legacy and continue operating as a high performing MPO in the State of New Mexico."

To recognize Dave Pennella's service to MRMPO since 2006, we are reprinting a March 2019 Travel Times interview with him. The text is available below.
TT (Travel Times): How long have you worked at MRMPO? Where did you work previously? What was your first paid job?

DP (Dave Pennella): I've worked at MRMPO since July 2006, originally as TIP Coordinator. Previously, I worked 17 years for the New York State Department of Transportation as a planner, civil engineer, project manager, area maintenance director, and local government representative. Prior to NYSDOT, I worked 2 years as assistant director of a county planning commission in Vermont, 4 years as a science and social studies teacher, 4 years as a planner at the Alaska Department of Transportation in Fairbanks, and a cartographer with BLM. My first job after being a paperboy was picking cherries at a fruit farm in my home town.
TT: What are your main professional interests? What are some of your personal interests?

DP: Professionally, I really enjoy transportation and land use planning. I would have loved to have been a guy like Pierre L'Enfant or Walter Griffin who actually designed cities like Washington DC and Canberra, Australia. I also enjoyed being a cartographer, which was before GIS or even CADD; maps were produced on a drafting table with mylar and ink. There is something very creative about drawing a map by hand and seeing your creation as you draw it. Personal interests are reading, hiking, biking, travel, hockey, lacrosse, and soccer. I used to be a FIFA certified soccer ref.

TT: What are some MRMPO-related accomplishments you’re proud of?

DP: By far the main accomplishment has been to assemble and maintain a top-notch MPO staff. Every other accomplishment stems from having a quality MPO staff.
TT: What potential do you see for the region in terms of transportation and/or growth and development? Or, what is your dream vision of transportation in our region? 

DP: The Albuquerque metro area has a lot to offer. Despite the setbacks with the ART project, I do believe it will have a positive impact on the city. Economic development and redevelopment along the Central corridor is already taking place. ART and future bus rapid transit (BRT) routes and the Rail Runner will provide an integrated transit network that will give Central New Mexico a high-level transit system offering real choices for residents and positive redevelopment in certain sections along those transit routes. Also exciting is the economic development occurring in Valencia County. Kudos to our member agencies there in securing these opportunities. The MPO needs to provide assistance in these types of efforts; economic development benefits that entire metro area not just the locale it is occurring in.

TT: What would you like people reading this newsletter to know about you or MRMPO that they might not already know?

DP: I am originally from western New York near Rochester, and grew up in a small Erie Canal town, Spencerport. I received my Bachelor's degree in geography and earth science from Trenton State College in New Jersey along with teaching certification in secondary education. While in Alaska, I did some graduate coursework at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. While my kids were in school, I was elected four times and served almost 12 years on our school district's Board of Education including 7 years as Board President.
TT: Best place to get a beer in the Albuquerque Metropolitan Planning Area?

DP: There is no one best place to go for beer. Just about all of the brew pubs are good.
TT: Favorite ice cream flavor?

DP: Pistachio and any "berry" flavor.
Upcoming Meetings and Events at MRMPO

  • Monday, September 7: MRCOG Offices Closed.
  • Friday, September 17 (10:00-11:30 AM): Metropolitan Transportation Board Meeting.
  • Monday, October 12: MRCOG Offices Closed.
  • Friday, October 16 (10:00-11:30 AM): Metropolitan Transportation Board Meeting.
  • Wednesday, November 11: MRCOG Offices Closed.
  • Friday, November 20 (10:00-11:30 AM): Metropolitan Transportation Board Meeting.
  • Thursday, November 26: MRCOG Offices Closed.
  • Friday, November 27: MRCOG Offices Closed.

Please see the Mid-Region Council of Governments website for details and the full calendar of meetings. To attend virtually or to arrange a special accomodation, please notify the MRCOG office by phone at (505) 247-1750 or email seven days prior to the meeting.