ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – March marks 15 months since Albuquerque Rapid Transit service first hit the pavement with passengers. While the $133-million project is “done” by most accounts, the city continues paying for new ART-related projects all along Central.
Over the past year, the city has added new curbs, signs, and traffic signals to include a new “no right-turn” sign at Central and San Pasquale. Now, a big piece of the signature station lighting is being replaced while the city’s hoping to build out a half-finished ART stop in the International District.
“The longer we live with ART, we’re finding places we need to make tweaks,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, speaking of the new ART projects on the horizon. “The great thing is our legislators have stepped up this year and said that they would like to help us fast track some of those projects.”
Davis is talking about the San Pedro ART station between San Mateo and Louisiana. The station, which was a late addition to the project, has remained an unfinished and unused concrete deck for about three years. While contractors originally laid the foundation for the project, at the time, the city didn’t have the funds to complete a station at San Pedro.
Tuesday, Davis says the city is getting closer toward finally building out the San Pedro station. He says the city has some road funds set aside for the project’s construction. However, the city is also asking the New Mexico Legislature to pitch in a couple million dollars to finish the project.
The capital outlay funding request for the San Pedro ART station has not been approved. Lawmakers are still hashing out the project they’ll fund.
Alongside a possible new station, the city’s spent at least $500,000 on adding pin curbs and medians along Central in Nob Hill, Old Town and in the Atrisco and West Central areas. Those curbs are supposed to keep drivers from turning left across the ART lanes.
Meanwhile, the city’s also paying $33,500 to repair the landmark “lollipop” style ART signs at every major ART station. Installed around 2017, the ART signs originally featured an LED rope-lighting circling around the “A” “R” and “T” letters of each sign.
Tuesday, most of the rope lights have shorted-out. A spokesman for the Albuquerque Transit Department (ABQ RIDE,) Rick DeReyes told KRQE News 13, “We are replacing the lights outside the signs with lights inside the signs. This is so weather won’t have an effect on them, as it has on these lights.”
In an interview with Councilor Davis, KRQE News 13 asked if he thought ART’s continued costs are too much. Davis said, “the good news is, the city’s listening.”
“The fight about ART, I think, is past,” David said. “The new question is, ‘How do we use it in a smart way and will we continue to invest in making it better?’ I would be more concerned if the city said we’re done, we’re just going to walk away and leave it as it is, there’s always something bigger and better to do.”
Another ART addition on the horizon includes a planned HAWK signal and crosswalk at Tulane Street in Nob Hill. That project is expected to be done by summer 2021. Davis says the project will cost around $1-million and is being paid for with city money, including voter-approved bond funds.
As for the ART lighting project, the city says it will be done by April. DeReyes says that’s being paid for with “remaining ART funds.”