ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Rapid Transit buses aren’t running yet, but that hasn’t stopped the city from giving new names to a few of its signature stops.
Over the last few months, the city has renamed several of the ART bus stations along the Central Avenue corridor to represent several of the neighborhoods and areas along or near the bus line.
“We heard a lot of feedback from communities and neighborhoods about actually bringing folks to their areas,” said Alicia Manzano, an ART spokeswoman and Mayor Tim Keller’s liaison for strategic partnerships. “I think it’s appropriate that we identify those stops within our own communities the way they identify themselves.”
The city has renamed six stations along the route on both sides of the city. On the west side, the Coors Blvd Station has been named “West Central,” the Yucca Avenue station has been renamed “The Bluffs,” and the Atrisco Drive station has been renamed “Town of Atrisco” after the historic land grant site.
“This is one small way that the city can honor that feedback from the neighborhood and communities,” Manzano said.
On the east side of the city, the Louisiana Boulevard station is now known as the “International District” station.
“There have been some name changes along the corridor, mostly to reflect a sense of place of where those stops are, they are in communities, they are in neighborhoods, it’s not just a single street name,” said Manzano.
In the Downtown-area, two stations were renamed. At First and Central, the formally named “Civic Plaza” station is now labeled “Downtown.” The second station to receive a name change is at Sixth Street and Gold Avenue.
The Gold Avenue station, which used to be called “Downtown,” is now called “Barelas,” a change that has some wondering if the city “got it right,” so to speak.
“I don’t think it’s Barelas, I think it’s downtown, actually,” a downtown worker named Ismael told KRQE News 13 on Wednesday, reacting to the change.
While the station sign may say Barelas, technically, the Barelas Neighborhood Association’s boundary is still a few blocks south of the Sixth and Gold intersection. The Barela’s neighborhood’s northern boundary begins along Coal Avenue.
Boese Brothers Brewery sits across the street from the newly named Barelas station. Brewer Josh Hammond saw crews installing the sign recently.
“I’ve lived in Barelas for five years, and I know that it’s about four blocks away from here,” said Hammond. “It’s been around for forever, and it’s awesome, I love that place but this is downtown.”
KRQE News 13 asked the city its response to the fact that the station named “Barelas” isn’t technically in Barelas.
“It’s super close to Barelas though,” said Manzano. “If you’re trying to commute through the city and you’re trying to get to that area, it makes sense to get to the Barelas neighborhood through that stop, and why not Barelas to honor that neighborhood?”
The city says it spent about $21,000 to replace the signs. Manzano tells KRQE News 13 that funding came from the original $75-million dollar federal grant that the city received to help build the ART project.
“There’s no additional money pumped into the project at this point,” said Manzano.
The city says it hopes to launch full ART services this winter, but hasn’t said if that will before of after the new year.