Montaño Doesn’t Need a Wal-Mart
The city’s Environmental Planning Commission will decide on Jan. 19 if Albuquerque gets a new Wal-Mart. It should not grant the requested building permit. For guidance, it only needs to look at its Comprehensive City Zoning Code and earlier studies related to traffic congestion on Montaño Road.
In 2006, the City Council passed the Large Retail Facility Ordinance, aka the zoning rules for “big box” stores. The written zoning code is clear and does not require any interpretation. Per the code, large retail facilities containing 90,001 to 124,999 square feet are “required to be located adjacent to and have primary and full access to a street designated as at least a collector in the Mid-Region Council of Governments’ Metropolitan Transportation Plan and having at least four through traffic lanes.”
The New Mexico Department of Transportation owns and manages Coors Boulevard, and it granted a permit for a site driveway on the thoroughfare. But it is a limited access driveway. Other roads adjacent to the proposed Wal-Mart are not collector roads.
It is clear the site does not have primary and full access to a collector street.
Another driveway on Montaño Road is requested, but should be denied. MRCOG’s Congestion Management Process Committee says Montaño has a corridor score (ranking No. 8 in 2010, up from No. 10 in 2008) that makes it one of the most congested arterials in the region. The EPC should decide to nix the requested changes, and reserve the right to make decisions related to roadway congestion management in the future that are effective and well-reasoned.
In 2005, the city commissioned a study of the Montaño Road corridor (Wilson & Company, 2005) when it considered options to mitigate traffic congestion crossing the river. That study provides relevant guidance for this decision now. It seemed clear to the city at that time, the solution is to reduce obstacles to the flow of traffic. All the study’s recommendations point in that direction, and it never occurred to anyone then to consider adding new impediments to the free flow of traffic.
Occupy the Roundhouse
Dear Alibi ,
Jan. 17 is the opening day of the new legislative session and I intend to occupy the Roundhouse. Why? Because it's the people's house, my house. I'm going to reclaim it from the special interests who regularly prowl the halls and corridors of the State Capitol like they own the place. They do not!
I'm joining together with the statewide New Mexico Occupy/(un)Occupy groups and allies in Santa Fe at the New Mexico State Capitol on the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta at 11:30 a.m. A march will also start at the Railyard Station (north) and make its way to the Roundhouse. This march is for people traveling on the train that arrives at 11:15 a.m. from Albuquerque, plus everyone else from Santa Fe and statewide who would like to join. We will then converge together at the Roundhouse—OUR HOUSE! More details are available at occupynewmexico.org and on Facebook, too.
Make your voice count on Jan. 17 and throughout the session. Together we can send a powerful message that "business-as-usual" will no longer control and we expect our elected officials to listen to the 99 percent.
A Medical Breakthrough
[Re: Letters, “Sweet Dreams,” Jan. 5-11] Lack of sleep causes AIDS—I always suspected a link between the two, but never had enough evidence to present it to the board. Looks like Dr. Schrader beat me to it. Good for him!
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