City suddenly removes months-old protected bike lane measures

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Just months after they went up, the city of Albuquerque has dismantled protective posts for downtown bicyclists.

Last year, the Berry administration installed flexible posts and concrete curbs on Fourth Street between Central and Copper — the first of its kind for Albuquerque.

Scott Key, a member of the Greater Albuquerque Bicycling Advisory Council and the co-manager of roadway infrastructure blog “Better Burque,” says it was a step in the right direction for the city.

“They were put up in the previous administration because Mayor Berry, he was the one behind the 50-mile activity loop,” Key said.

Just months into new Mayor Tim Keller’s term and the protective measures have suddenly vanished.

Only filled-in spots of the asphalt indicate where the posts and curbs once stood.

“This doesn’t look good…to not have an announcement for why they were taken away and this being the very first protected bike lanes in Albuquerque. It just leaves one feeling a little disappointed,” Key said.

Taking to the blog they run, Key and John Fleck posted pictures showing one of the reasons why the protective measures were so appreciated — because so many drivers park in bike lanes around Albuquerque.

For example, a city worker did it in early March. Six drivers also did it in the same spot last summer. Both of those incidents occurred just one block north from where the posts were installed, also on Fourth Street.

Meanwhile, a city councilor is looking to pass an ordinance that specifically makes it illegal to park in a bike lane in Albuquerque.

“But there’s also the moving car problem, of them moving over into the bike lane. And everything we’re reading and seeing shows that ridership really, really increases, people feel so much more safe, when there’s actual physical separation,” Key said.

Key says he and fellow bicyclists were excited when the protected lanes were added, hoping the concept would take off and spread around town. However, it’s gone from one protected bike lane on Fourth Street to no protected bike lanes anywhere in Albuquerque.

A city spokesperson said the posts were removed for a recent “Better Call Saul” TV series shoot, and that “soon,” some, but not all, of the posts and bumpers will go back up.

The installation by an outside company last year cost the city nearly $9,000, but cost “nothing” to remove, because city workers did it.

Right now, there are no plans to put these same measures along other bike lanes in Albuquerque.

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