By Richard Barish, Bosque Issues Chair
The City of Albuquerque has begun its public process to obtain input on Phase III of its trail construction. This phase will extend the groomed trail for almost two miles, from Campbell Road to Montaño.
It appears that Mayor Richard Berry’s administration is continuing to attempt to limit broad-based public input on its project. The administration is again violating the procedures for robust public participation that it agreed to in March 2015. Instead, the city’s public process will consist of three walks, which have already happened, and a public meeting at 6 p.m. July 26 at Los Duranes Community Center, 2920 Leopoldo Road NW. You can send written comments to: ParksandRecreation@cabq.gov.
The administration again went out of its way to not inform the public of its process. It did not tell the Bosque Action Team and the Sierra Club of its initiation of the public process so that we could in turn inform the 1,100 people on our lists, who constitute most of the people who are most concerned about what happens in the Bosque. The administration gave only a few days notice to other partners.
A brief article did appear in the Albuquerque Journal, but only two days before the first walk. As a result of the late and limited notice, only 27 people total showed up for all three of the walks. There is absolutely no reason why the administration could not have provided more and better advance notice of its public process.
In addition, the city’s public meeting will be at the same location as the Phase II meeting, the Los Duranes Community Center, which was not big enough for the 200-plus people who showed up last time. There was also not enough time for everyone who wanted to comment in a single meeting.
No specific alternatives are yet available. The March 2015 agreement provided that alternatives would include different trail designs, but the administration did not comply with this agreement in Phase II and decided, with no public input, that the trail would be a 6-foot-wide crusher-fine trail, a design that is not consistent with the natural character of the Bosque.
The mayor needs to be told once again that improvement of Bosque habitat and preservation of the experience of nature in the Bosque should be the priorities of any project in the Bosque. The thing that makes the Bosque unique and wonderful is that it is a great place to experience nature in the middle of Albuquerque! A 6-foot-wide crusher-fine trail is not necessary to provide access. Any trail improvements should blend in with the natural surroundings of the Bosque.
How to get involved
Please attend the July 26 meeting, and please submit written comments to ParksandRecreation@cabq.gov. To be added to our listserv and kept abreast of the latest developments, email firstname.lastname@example.org.