ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque (CABQ) has been working to keep Downtown safe for years using barricades. However, local businesses in the area said the city’s efforts are impacting their profits.
It’s the first thing you are greeted by when you come Downtown at night: orange barricades.
“It really looks horrible. It’s just nasty,” stated Jake Ralphs, owner of Echoes Albuquerque.
The barricades have been going up around Downtown Albuquerque for years, even before the pandemic. Local businesses said, because they are set up at inconsistent times, it makes it hard for customers to find parking and to reach them. Now, some of these shops are suffering.
“Yes, it stops our business. So, we don’t get traffic flow. People are already, like, scared and confused with down here because of all the roads and all that,” said Brittany Muller, an owner, along with Alejandra Leal, at Wing It Up.
“The other issue is the basic logistics. Where do they go into the park? How do they get anyplace? I get phone calls and messages all the time,” said Ralphs.
The city said the barricades were placed there to help protect people along the Central corridor, specifically at night. The barricades are placed in Downtown along Central from 2nd to 8th Street.
According to the city, they’re supposed to go up at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, but because they are contracted with an outside company, that schedule is inconsistent. It costs the city around $600,000 a year for this contract.
However, the city said, even with the barricades up, they are trying to work with businesses to make it easier for customers to get to them.
“We do have a decent amount of parking Downtown. I think people need to sometimes look just a little further than parking right on Central. There are a lot of metered spaces a block beyond, and we have parking garages that are not always full,” said CABQ Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency Director Terry Brunner.
They also said they’re working to meet with those business owners to talk about possible solutions. In the meantime, businesses are just stuck waiting for their customers to navigate downtown.
The city explained they are working to purchase their own barricades to be placed by city workers instead, and a final purchase decision should be made by the end of 2023. Once that happens, they said it should be more consistent.