Some Nob Hill business owners and residents have raised concerns about how the city’s plans for a rapid transit bus system on Central Avenue will affect parking. They say the neighborhood is already crowded, and while the latest tallies from the city show that current designs for Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) would add 18 parking spaces in the corridor, Nob Hill’s new representative on the City Council says a parking garage should still be considered.
“We can do this a lot more quickly now because we already have a study done showing we need it,” said Pat Davis, the District 6 Albuquerque City Councilor who recently was elected to the seat formerly filled by Rey Garduño.
Davis said when he took over for Garduño, who represented Nob Hill for about eight years, he came across a 2010 planning study showing that parking in Nob Hill fills to 80 percent capacity on normal days, and is overfull during festivals and special events. Davis said it means that a motorist must pass about 12 parking spaces before finding an available one.
“Business people have said this is turning customers away,” he said. “As the ART discussions progressed, the need for more parking kept coming up, and it reminded me of language in this study.”
Davis dusted the cobwebs off the report and set aside money from his district’s discretionary fund to start implementing some of its findings. About $10,000 so far are being deployed for an appraiser to check out two potential properties the city could purchase for the project, which would either be a lot or a garage. To preserve Nob Hill’s aesthetic character, Davis said he naturally favors a structure instead of a half-acre lake of asphalt. He said plans are too preliminary to know how many spaces a structure or lot would add to the area.
Davis said he’s hopeful the appraiser’s findings will be ready in about 60 days, before construction on the ART line is set to begin. That’s also his preferred timeline for an additional ART station stop he’s having designers study near the intersection of Central and San Pedro Drive.
“So that when all this is done, we’ll have all the pieces in place to make Nob Hill and the International District as vibrant as possible, so we don’t have to keep coming back and disrupting businesses to do everything we want the first time,” he said.
Davis said his discretionary funds are also funding the study for the additional ART station — which would raise the number of stops on the line to 21, and that while the station’s construction would also raise ART’s $119 million bottom line, the extra budget item can be paid for with bond money already issued for street improvements.
By: Blake Driver (Albuquerque Business First)
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