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Joaquín Baca

Candidate Survey


Idalia Lechuga-Tena

1. Albuquerque has the second deadliest streets of any city in the US, with approximately 110 people killed by vehicles each year while walking, biking, or driving, and another 6,500 people injured. How important is it to you that Albuquerque maintain and act on its commitment to the Vision Zero goal of zero fatalities from traffic violence? 

Maintaining and acting on the commitment to the Vision Zero goal of zero fatalities from traffic violence in Albuquerque is of paramount importance. The statistics are staggering. Behind every number you referenced is a Mother, a Father, a brother, a sister, a family member or a friend. Safety on the streets will be a priority for me when I am elected and it should be for everyone on the Council.

2. In 2019 Albuquerque updated its Complete Streets Ordinance to support safe and efficient street design for all users. What are the biggest remaining barriers to getting people to choose walking, biking, or public transit instead of personal vehicles, and what would you do to address these impediments? 

The biggest barriers often revolve around issues of safety, convenience, accessibility, and infrastructure. To address these impediments, I would focus on several key strategies.
1. Safety: door knocking, people tell me they do not feel safe using public transportation as they witness attacks and drug usage from transient people. My plan to bring a Diversion and Treatment Program that will address unmet needs, will reduce recidivism rate, and save us millions. It will be a one-stop shop for addiction, psychiatric services for unhoused people with acute mental illnesses who are in the criminal justice system or at risk of entering it.
2. Convenience: Investing in expanding and enhancing public transit options, such as improving routes, frequency, and giving those that need it, a free bus fare card.
3. Accessibility: Looking at density issues in all areas around the city to make sure transportation resources mentioned in the question are adequate and that densities are encouraged in areas generally to better insure their actual use.
4. Infrastructure: prioritizing improvements like bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly
sidewalks, and safe crosswalks to create a more inviting environment for non-motorized transportation. Implementing policies that promote mixed-use development, reducing the need for long commutes and fostering walkable neighborhoods.

Additionally, launch public awareness campaigns to educate citizens on the environmental and health benefits of choosing sustainable modes of transportation.

3. ABQRide remains severely understaffed, with motorcoach operator vacancies more than double their pre-pandemic numbers despite severe reductions in service. Other facets of our transit system, including mechanics and stop maintenance, are also understaffed. What is your plan for filling the staffing shortage at ABQRide?  

Addressing the staffing shortage at ABQRide is critical to ensuring a reliable and efficient transit system in Albuquerque. To tackle this issue, my plan would include several key steps.
1. Because the Mayor is in charge of hiring, I will work with the Mayor and work with the unions to hire and improve recruitment efforts by offering competitive compensation packages, including benefits and career growth opportunities, to attract skilled motorcoach operators and mechanics.
2. Explore partnerships with local schools, CNM/UNM, and training programs to develop a pipeline of qualified transit workers.
3. Streamlining the hiring process and providing incentives for current employees to refer potential candidates can help expedite the staffing replenishment.
4. Focus on workplace satisfaction and safety measures can aid in staff retention, ultimately reducing vacancies over the long term.

4. What is your plan for increasing housing supply in Albuquerque, particularly along useful transit corridors and near popular amenities? How do you plan to increase housing availability without requiring the occupants of those houses to own a car to participate in most aspects of city life? 

My plan revolves around a comprehensive strategy.
1. Work with public, private, and the non-profit sector.
2. Advocate for zoning reforms and incentives to encourage mixed-use and higher-density developments, making efficient use of available land.
3. Prioritize investments in public transit infrastructure, expanding routes and improving frequency to enhance access to amenities and services without the need for a car.
4. Promote affordable housing initiatives, policies and partnerships with developers and nonprofits to ensure a range of housing options.
5. Implement pedestrian and cyclist-friendly infrastructure along these corridors would encourage active transportation and reduce reliance on automobiles. By combining these measures, we can increase housing availability while fostering a more sustainable, accessible, and inclusive urban environment in Albuquerque.

5. Albuquerque’s urban areas have limited space on streets. In order to increase safety and improve mobility, some modes of transportation must be prioritized over others to make the most of this limited space. Please rank how you would prioritize different modes of transportation on city streets, using numbers 1 through 7:

1. Walking & devices that aid people with a disability
2. Bicycles and Scooters
3. Public Transportation
4. Ride Hailing Services (Taxi, Uber, Lyft)
5. Personal Automobiles
6. Parking
7. Freight and Delivery

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