ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A major overhaul is due, but just about, on a busy street on the west side of Albuquerque. It has been a split city council as some say the project shouldn’t be a priority for the city’s time and money. Plans to develop 118th Street are now in motion.
However, some councilors believe the resolution will need more time to discuss before voting. For years the city has discussed the development of 118th Street along the southwest mesa.
“This is really a feeder road for the city of Albuquerque and an important route,” said Councilor Klarissa Peña of District 3. “It must be completed for the future of growth in the city of Albuquerque.”
People who live in the area south of I-40 say there are only two routes in and out of the neighborhood, causing significant traffic delays. During Monday’s city council meeting, city councils debated a major overhaul of the road that runs through parts of the unincorporated Bernalillo district and would include a new intersection off I-40.
“The city ends somewhere,” said Alderman Brook Bassan with District 4. “But we still have a responsibility to the city’s residents who travel back and forth.”
Councilor Lan Sena changed the proposal and requested that the upgraded road also extend north of I-40 to Ladera near Atrisco Vista. For a city council, however, the new plans and urgency were not good.
“To say this is certainly a city-wide priority is debatable. We haven’t had any discussions about land use so I suggest we take this slowly for a while, ”said District 2 councilor Isaac Benton.“ If it’s just about building a two-lane road to help people shop to come, as we have already discussed, I am in favor of it, but a city-wide priority, and presenting it to the Regional Transportation Board is questionable. “
Benton wanted the entire vote to be postponed to another date in order to have more time to see how the expansion north of I-40 would affect plans and costs, but the postponement request failed with 4- 5 votes. Benton reiterated the question that the small affected area was a city-wide priority on the agenda and made his own changes.
“I would support a little street like the kind that Peña Councilor discussed with me, that we just have to get people here from one end to the other so they can get to some services. I’m all for it, but I can’t support the idea of this becoming a city-wide priority, ”said Benton. “I propose a change, if there is a second, that this is referred to as a priority for districts one and three, city council districts one and three wherever it is mentioned as a city-wide priority.”
This amendment also failed 4: 5 and sent the final resolution to the vote. Councilor Peña, who led the resolution, says it is better to do this now, when the city continues to evolve, rather than waiting for the problem to get worse.
“I look forward to our city growing and I look forward to developing an area that is underserved and has not really developed the way it should,” said Peña. “The west side of Albuquerque deserves a correct development on our side of the city as well.”
The motion was just accepted with 5 to 4 votes. The exact cost has not yet been determined, but Peña says funding for the project could come from multiple sources, including city tax revenues and federal grants. A timetable for the project has not yet been set, but Peña says it would move forward once funding is available.