Proposed development has neighbors worried about traffic

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new proposal could bring a grocery store and local businesses to an area that’s been undeveloped for decades, but some neighbors worry about what else that development would bring.

Neighbors are concerned about a traffic nightmare at an already busy intersection if the project moves forward.

The Garcia family of Garcia Cars owns land on the northeast corner of I-40 and Rio Grande.

Aside from the Range Cafe, it’s largely a huge empty lot in a mainly residential area.

However, it could soon be known as “Rio Grande Crossing,” a development that could include a hotel, retailers and a grocery store.

“There’s no real grocery store that’s close that serves this area of town,” said Tomas Sanchez, a resident in the area.

The plan is to connect the development to local trails.

“The good thing is a lot of people will be able to walk and bike and access it without a car,” Sanchez said.

Not everyone’s convinced that will happen though.

“We don’t want to see any more traffic. It’s already bad. We want to make sure that all the appropriate traffic studies have been completed before the zone change,” said Alex Allen.

Allen said his family has been in the neighborhood for 150 years. They have a house overlooking the vacant lot that is in question.

The landowners applied with the city of Albuquerque to change the land to a community commercial zone.

A traffic study would come later, when the owners have decided specifically which businesses they will be working with.

Residents are hoping for small, local businesses over large national chains.

“I believe Mr. Garcia has been clear that it’s his intent to find something that’s consistent with the character of the community,” said Kurt Culbertson, CEO of Design Workshop, Inc.

In response to some neighbors concerned that a Walmart or Walmart Neighborhood Market had been suggested, Culbertson said that is nothing more than a rumor.

In the meantime, neighbors are organizing to attend the zone change hearing next week.

“We want to make sure the needs of our community are met,” Allen said.

The hearing for the zoning change is at the City’s Planning Department building at 600 Second NW, Albuquerque on Thurs., June 8 at 8:30 a.m.

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