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Mid-Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
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Issue: 52
November 2015
MRMPO and MRCOG Transportation News

Vision Plan on Rio Metro Board Meeting Agenda
Over  the past year, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District (RMRTD) Board, staff members, and transit stakeholders have developed a Long-Term Strategic Vision. The document includes a bold, forward-thinking, consensus vision and establishes that the RMRTD will " provide safe, accessible, efficient, and innovative transportation services for the benefit of our diverse local communities and the regional economy ." Six core themes are included in the plan and will help guide future RMRTD activities to help achieve the mission.

Core Themes of the RMRTD Vision

  • Exceptional Customer Experience - Our customers come first in all we do
  • Transformative Regional Services - We provide a range of services to meet our region's diverse needs
  • Strong Transit-Centered Communities - Our services help shape our communities for the better
  • Sound Financial Stewardship - We are good stewards of the public resources entrusted to us
  • Innovative Programs and Partnerships - We think outside the box and seek collaboration always
  • Industry-Leading Knowledge and Practice - Our people take pride in leading the region forward
More than 100 public-sector and private-sector stakeholders representing the diverse constituencies in our region participated in the development of the Vision. The document that will be considered by the Board reflects the comments received through public meetings, board member and stakeholder review, and submitted electronically in the September 2015 public comment and review period.

Board Meeting Details

The RMRTD Board is scheduled to consider Long-Term Strategic Vision at their  November 20, 2015 board meeting. The public is encouraged to attend the board meeting. The meeting will take place at 12:00 p.m. in the board room at the Mid-Region Council of Governments building, 809 Copper Ave. NW, Albuquerque ( map). Meeting details can also be viewed on the Rio Metro calendar of events and meetings.  View Calendar >>

Contact Us

For additional information or to schedule a presentation for your group about the project, please contact Tony Sylvester at or 505-247-1750.
Rail Runner Program Moves out of Pilot Phase; Free Train Passes will Continue to be Offered to Vets
The Rail Runner's pilot program of offering free annual train passes to
veterans has had such a successful first year that the program will now  be continued.  

Since its debut on Veteran's Day in 2014, the  program has distributed over 4,800 passes which have been used on  over 24,000 Rail Runner trips.

For vets interested in getting a pass, they can be  picked up at the Rail Runner offices at the MRCOG building (809 Copper  Ave NW, ABQ, NM 87102). Passes are also distributed every first and third Wednesday at the Raymond G. Murphy  VA Medical Center. For more information, contact Michael Jiron at 505-724-3643  or .
Director of Planning Thaddeus Lucero's Time at MRCOG Coming to a Close
Thaddeus Lucero, who has served MRCOG for nearly five years as Director of Planning, will be retiring in November. Thaddeus has spent his entire career committed to planning and public service. His leadership, experience, and masterful communication and collaboration skills have been invaluable assets not only for MRCOG, but for the region as a whole. The staff at MRCOG will sincerely miss his friendship, humor and warmth. We wish Thaddeus all the best in his retirement!   
Intelligent Transportation Society of New Mexico Holds its 2015 Annual Conference and other ITS News             
The 7th annual meeting of the Intelligent Transportation Society of New Mexico took place on October 29th at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque. This year's theme, ITS, Moving to the Future, focused on the role that the wide range of advanced technologies play to support smooth traffic flow in real time. These include Bluetooth-enabled travel time data collection common in many vehicles on the road today; mobile travel apps that allow users to be alerted of travel conditions affecting their commutes; and the utilization of these technologies among the managers of the transportation system, including local and state agencies and the first responder community. Speakers at the event included Ms. Regina Hopper, CEO of ITS America, along with other distinguished representatives from national, state, and local transportation organizations. 
ITS New Mexico is the state chapter of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the nation's largest organization dedicated to the advancement of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies, which involves the coordination and application of advanced technologies of roadway sensors, data collection, and communications among transportation managers and operators to improve the flow and safety on the transportation system. MRCOG is a member of ITS America, and staff are officers at ITS New Mexico. 

On a related note, the ITS Subcommittee along with the NMDOT ITS Bureau and FHWA, has initiated the update of the Regional ITS Architecture for the AMPA.  This document provides the framework for all member-agency ITS developments to ensure compatibility in support of regional mobility goals. 
Meeting to Discuss Expanding Bici Bikeshare to Santa Fe
The Downtown Bici bikes are catching on and there is growing interest in expanding the system to Santa Fe. MPO staff in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe believe there is an interesting and innovative opportunity to create an integrated system across multiple cities that could be linked by the Rail Runner and allow for expanded travel options for tourists and residents alike. The Santa Fe MPO is hosting a panel and public discussion in the evening on Thursday, November 19 to consider the idea.
Other News

ABC to Z Project Progresses with Continued Opportunities to be Involved

The update of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan and creation of a new Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) for the City of Albuquerque continues. In October, the first of three parts, or modules, of the Integrated Development Ordinance was presented in a series of meetings to the public and various stakeholders. Module 1 covered proposed zones, uses and use-specific standards. Comments for Module 1 are due November 20. Future modules will cover design standards and the review and approval processes for development. 

The next round of public meetings will be held in the end of November through early December and will convene focus groups to work on the different elements/chapters of the Comprehensive Plan (for example, transportation, urban design, economic development, etc.). The Draft Comprehensive Plan will be presented in early December. 

For more information on the project, check out the ABC to Z project page
Magic of the Bugg Lights

Thousands of holiday lights, music, decorations, a street festival and more will greet visitors during the opening night of the Bugg Lights display at the Belen Harvey House Museum. The New Mexico Rail Runner Express has partnered with the Harvey House to host this special event on Saturday, November 28, 2015. Take the train south and exit at the Belen Station; the family friendly festivities are just a short walk or bus ride away. Mark your calendar for this uniquely New Mexican holiday tradition!

Event Details

Bugg Lights Opening Night
Date: Saturday, November 28, 2015
Time: 5-10 p.m.
Location: Belen Harvey House Museum, 104 N. 1st St., Belen (map)
Cost: Admission is Free, but donations welcome*
Take the Train: Two southbound trains will accommodate visitors to the event. From the Belen Station, passengers can take a short walk or catch a free bus to the event.

Jeff Speck Interviewed on KUNM's New Mexico People Places and Ideas 
In case you missed it, Steven Spitz, host of the KUNM program New Mexico People Places and Ideas recently interviewed urban designer Jeff Speck. Speck, who performed an analysis on walkability in downtown Albuquerque, offers several relatively inexpensive recommendations to improve conditions for pedestrians in Albuquerque's downtown. You can listen to the interview here

November Calendar

Transportation Coordinating Committee Meeting 
Fri., Nov. 13, 2015

MRCOG Board Room
MRCOG Offic es Closed
(Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving Holiday)
Wed., Nov. 11, 2015 and Thurs.-Fri., 
Nov. 26 and 27
ITS Subcommittee Meeting
Wed., Nov. 18, 1:30pm

MRCOG offices
Metropolitan Transportation Board Meeting 

Fri., Nov. 22, 2015

MRCOG Board Room
Rio Metro Regional Transit District Board

Fri., Nov. 22, 2015
MRCOG Board Room

MRMPO Staff Contact Information


Aaron Sussman, Senior Planner                       


Andrew Gingerich, GIS Analyst


Barbara Thomas, Office Manager 


Caeri Thomas, Transportation Planner/GIS Coordinator                                      

Chowdhury Siddiqui, Travel Demand Modeler/Land Use Modeler                            

Dave Pennella , Transportation Program Manager


Julie Luna, Transportation Planner                                         


Kendra Watkins, Socioeconomic Program Manager    


Maida Rubin, Regional Planner


Nathan Masek, Senior Transportation Planner                        


Shohreh Day, GIS/Systems Analyst                                   


Steven Montiel, Transportation Planner/TIP Coordinator                       


Tara Cok, Transportation Planner                                   


Thaddeus Lucero , Director of Planning                           


Valerie Hermanson , Regional Planner