• ART canopy project delayed until fall
  • Just in time for free fares, ART ticket machines show some modest improvement
  • How the dumb luck of power line placement helped Thundercloud Café survive 2020
  • Election for conservancy board concludes today
ART station canopies delayed
An artist's rendering of the canopy slated to be built at the Old Town station. More pictures are here.
As of last fall, ABQ Ride planned to have new canopies up at the EDo, West Downtown, and Old Town ART stations in time for this summer (DAN, 10/6/20). But the project has fallen behind and now manufacturing of the new shade structures is not set to begin until July, city spokeswoman Ava Montoya told DAN.

Installation is set to begin at the end of September, with EDo going first, followed by Old Town and West Downtown. Each canopy takes four to five weeks to install, Montoya said.

The design for the $2.25 million project, however, has not changed. Because of complications with state historic preservation regulators, the canopies at the three stations were left out of the initial construction. The new installations will use a more subdued design compared to the larger swooping structures at the BioPark or Nob Hill, and the color is slated to be a softer white or tan.
Where exactly are the new red lanes?
Crews have been out painting some ART lanes red as part of a safety measure. The new lanes are in four sections in greater Downtown. All told, the project covers just under one mile.
ART ticket machines show modest improvement, just in time for free fares
Between vandalism, software bugs, and techs who have a hard time getting into the country (DAN, 10/13/21), ART ticket machines in greater Downtown have at times been out of commission more often than not, with the transit agency struggling to keep up.

Case in point: We surveyed all eight machines in greater Downtown last August and found only two of them that would produce a $1 one-ride ticket.

Things had changed for the better last week, albeit modestly: Five of the eight produced a ticket on June 1, but the stations at EDo and the Main Library were dark and the one at the BioPark was dark with a busted screen.

The improved performance, however, may soon be a moot point, since it comes as the City Council has allocated money to zero-out fares on the entire system. 

"The ticket machines will be covered for the duration of the free-fare period," ABQ Ride spokeswoman Ava Montoya said. "A more long-term decision will be made when, or if, free fares become permanent."

"The proposal from council is still under review," she added. "While it appears the intention is to fund free fares for one year, it is still to be determined how far the funding can actually go."
How the random placement of power lines helped Thundercloud Café survive 2020
The café and coffee shop's owner James Ruiz at a suddenly-very-handy walk-up window.
The Sterling Downtown apartment complex, a 107-unit affair on Silver between 8th and 9th, opened its doors in 2018, but long before that, the building's design team found themselves in a fix.

"The site is surrounded by power lines on every side," said Miriam Hicks, who was then a project manager for Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, an architecture firm, and now works for the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, which administers the complex. "When we found out what the clearance was we had to shrink the building."

Plans already called for a ground-floor space to house the leasing office and retail area, but with the smaller size "it seemed like it would get too crowded," Hicks said. So as a supplement to inside retail traffic, "we made a walk-up window."

The mundane judgment calls of architects don't get much more fortuitous than that.

James Ruiz opened Thundercloud Café in that very space in January of 2020. The pandemic literally shut his door, but like in the old saying, it also opened a window.

"If it wasn't for the window then I wouldn't have been able to do anything," he said.

The café operated exclusively out of the window for about nine months. April and May were tough, but things soon picked up: June was better than pre-pandemic February, and July better still. If 2021 continues apace, he'll do twice as much business as in 2020 and is contemplating expanding the shop's hours because of it.

These days, many people walk up to the inside counter to order, but whether for the sake of convenience, habit, or nostalgia, the window is still an option.
Voting concludes tonight in MRGCD election
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and include Washington Middle School and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District offices at 1931 Second Street (Near the National Hispanic Cultural Center). More information here. Read our candidate profile edition here.
DAN wants to know: How noisy was your weekend?
APD's special push against street racing, noisy driving, and other problems along Central and in the Downtown core (DAN, 5/24/21) has concluded its second weekend. So we're curious: Do you think it's working? Fill out our very short survey here and the results may inform a future article and/or a discussion we'll be having soon with APD's Valley Area Commander Josh Brown.
Downtown Albuquerque News covers greater Downtown, which we generally define as the area created by I-40, the Rio Grande, and the railroad tracks. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. If someone forwarded DAN to you, please consider subscribing. To subscribe, contact us, submit a letter to the editor, or learn more about what we do, click here. If you ever run into technical trouble receiving DAN, click here.
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