News Sidebar: Urbanist Advocate Speaks His Mind On Art

Urbanist Advocate Speaks His Mind

August March
4 min read
ART is Good
ART in operation (Courtesy HDR)
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If you really wanna know, David Dabney, one of the brains behind the PR engine driving the ART project forward, is a long-time associate of folks that work at Weekly Alibi. Why, we can remember playing poker with that dude and his pal, associate editor Os Davis, back in the early aughts, when we were all stationed at the corner of Wellesley Street and Silver in Nob Hill.

Dabney works for Griffith and Associates, the prime contractor for public information for ART. But his views are his own. Trust me; this cat says it better and with more clarity than many of the folks in city government itself.

So without further ado, here is what David Dabney said and here is why you should support the thing called ART.

How will ART improve the lives of citizens of Albuquerque?

It’ll improve access to the Central corridor and its bordering neighborhoods and developments. It will tie together the corridor in a way that isn’t possible with regular bus service and auto access. Walking along Central used to be awful. The car noise alone was enough to make me avoid it, not to mention the speed of traffic. It’s much more pleasant now!

Why is the success of ART an important part of advancing Albuquerque into the future of urban transportation?

We need to understand that without systems like this we will end up with center city gridlock and even more edge sprawl. People want to live in denser neighborhoods. If we don’t make these transportation options available, we will end up with unsustainable traffic patterns in the center of Burque.

How should drivers approach the changes that ART will make to their daily routines?

If you believe what everyone is saying, no one drives on Central anymore so that doesn’t matter. As a practical issue, Albuquerque is nothing if not a city of huge streets that go two ways everywhere. If Central was part of your daily commute across town, you’re already doing it wrong. As somebody who lives and works in and next to Nob Hill, I’m willing to spend a few extra minutes, and five seconds more thought, thinking about a possible route to have the benefits of ART. Frankly, the largest issues I’ve seen are people who aren’t obeying the street markings and signs causing confusion and danger for pedestrians and other drivers.

Why are so many citizens seemingly against ART?

I believe the main cause of this was the absence of on-the-ground leadership of Mayor Berry. Press conferences and appearances on KOB-AM weren’t enough. Into that leadership vacuum stepped opposing forces who used the general feeling of resentment, fostered by our current political climate, to spread misinformation and cynicism. They were aided by those on the right who oppose any public expenditure for projects like this and by those on the left who opposed anything a Republican might promote.

What is the single most important thing advocates of ART want the public to know?

That public transportation is for everybody. One of the biggest reactionary complaints I hear is that it’ll "just be a taxi service for drug addicts and drunks." Yet hundreds of millions of people all over the world use public transportation to take their kids to school, do their daily shopping, visit their family and just go to lunch across town. This is an important first step to make public transportation a more important part of our great life here in Burque.

Why do you support ART?

It’s the first step to tying Albuquerque together in a way that gives opportunity to those that don’t want or can’t afford a car for whatever reason. For those who want to live in denser, more connected neighborhoods. It’s the first step to showing Albuquerque that public transportation is an important part of this city’s future growth and prosperity.
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