Albuquerque rapid transit for Sierra Club article on Healthy Communities initiative

Ken Hughes, Sierra Club Building Healthy Communities Team Leader

Sierra Club chapters from Maine to Hawai’i are jumping on board campaigns to give folks lots more transportation options and opposing freeway expansions that often go through wildlife habitat.

With a boost from the Board of Directors’ approval of dedicated staff and funding, 24 chapters aim to promote affordable and diverse housing along an urban rail line; increased use of transit, cycling and walking; sustainable developments near new transit lines, extension of Amtrak service, shift of funding from more freeways to more transit service and placement of new and repaired sidewalks, and many other cool projects.

We at the Building Healthy Communities Team have some wonderfully hard choices to make on which applications to fund.

Here in cities where many Rio Grande Chapter members live or work, exciting projects are also in the works:

  • Las Cruces has a new bus station that anchors service within the city and to New Mexico State University as well as service to places such as Silver City.
  • El Paso’s proposed streetcar would connect downtown with the university and shopping/entertainment stops.
  • Santa Fe, with the state’s first bike corral offering 12 parking spaces converted from a parking spot for one car, plans to transform St. Michael’s Drive from a ’70s-era six-lane street into a four-lane boulevard with plenty of room for cyclists, pedestrians, transit rides and motorists.
  • Finally, the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit, or ART, will be like a subway with a view. ART will not only offer fast and efficient travel, it will maximize land uses at Central Avenue stops for new businesses and apartments that no longer need to devote land to vast swaths of parking.

With service from the West Side through downtown and over to University of New Mexico, and service to Central New Mexico Community College, Kirtland Air Force Base and the Sunport, ART could literally transform the old Route 66 into a true 21st-century corridor.

Funding awards by the Building Healthy Communities Team will be announced soon. Stay tuned!

Smarter transportation for climate, wildlife