Albuquerque Councilor Diane Gibson will be having a press conference today Tuesday November 18 at 3:15 pm in front of Christy Mae’s Restaurant to officially announce the creation of the Mile-Hi District. This signals a refocusing trend from building forever outward in search of the elusive tranquillo western lifestyle to realigning resources for taking better care of and optimizing the cityscapes we’ve already got. After all, we live here! The creation of the Mile-Hi District includes a redesign of San Pedro Road, which currently “doesn’t take advantage of strengths and unique characteristics” of the neighborhood according to Patrick Scott, the President of the Fair Heights Neighborhood Association, in this article from Bizjournal . The redevelopment of the road will change it from being an attractor of speeding commuter traffic to a streetscape that feels comfortable and safe to walk in, bike on, stroll through, shop and socialize in. Creating nice places to spend time in and recreate and enjoy while providing for good mobility and opportunity for breathing in fresh mile high air coincides with attracting more people visiting and spending money in the local economy, and more people wanting to live there. An all around win.
I’m excited about the energy around this. We have the grass roots support of local citizens striving to create lifestyles that celebrate the here and now. The Mayor is routing his 50-mile activity loop through the neighborhood affirming the active mobility aspirations of residents. The local city representative is aligning the political support and spreading the word. The planning department is allocating resources and prioritizing the redevelopment of San Pedro road by improving bikeability (it is listed as a “critical link” in the bikeways plan but doesn’t make it in the “current projects” map, although in my printed version the San Pedro rd. is listed under current projects on page 85 in the redline version under high priority projects). Local planning experts from the community have invested their care and input and forwarded excellent ideas such as this envisioning sketch by urbanabq.com, helping us imagine what San Pedro might look like as a more comfortable biking and walking space. This multifaceted collaborative effort is a working example of the “it takes all kinds” approach. As each neighborhood comes together to manifest its character and we weave them together with excellent transit, biking, and walking connectivity to better integrate with the transportation network we have developed for cars, it will be exciting to see what kind of unique city we can create and share with the world. There is certainly tons of character here! The natural setting and the multicultural beauty is unmatched. Thanks to everybody involved in bringing the Mile-Hi District together. I’m looking forward to biking and walking around San Pedro road in the Mile-Hi and exploring the character of the neighborhood more, and working up an appetite for a bowl of Christy Mae’s famous chicken green chile soup, while making friends with new neighbors.
Update (11/18/2014 4:28pm): I was able to swing by the press conference on my bicycle ride home. Here are some photos: