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?
It is extremely important that we not only act on our commitment to Vision Zero, it is vital that we implement it in District 6, home to one of the state's deadliest stretches of roadway when it comes to pedestrian fatalities. I am appalled that this administration has allowed Route 66/Central Avenue to languish when it comes to Vision Zero funding thus far; the Albuquerque Journal did a story on the oversight of Central in which they quoted one official's dismissal of the area as being too rough to tackle. This is unacceptable! We have seen Vision Zero dollars being spent in more affluent, less-dangerous areas with one roadway's traffic lighting system being overhauled three times. This is not to say that those areas are undeserving of funding; on the contrary, they clearly need assistance as well. But to leave one stretch un-funded for years due to the perceived character of the community is not at all okay. Regardless of where wealth lies, we need to address dangerous traffic areas and prioritize those where the risk is greatest.
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?
As an avid walker, runner, and cyclist myself, I personally feel that the biggest barriers to getting people to choose walking, biking, and public transit is safety. People do not feel safe in our city. Crime is out of control, and many areas of the city- such as my district- are inundated with encampments, open drug markets, and a general sense of disenfranchisement. It is my intention to begin correcting these issues as soon as I get into office, and once public safety is in hand, we can begin to address issues such as unsafe bike lanes, severely out-of-date or unsafe sidewalks, and unreliable transportation as addressed below. I would also propose a campaign to get people off the couch, away from their phones, and out into their communities. It is undeniable that getting people out into their neighborhoods fosters heathy communities while organically bringing down crime under proven eyes-on-the-street involvement. Reimagining our neighborhoods, getting away from bedroom communities and their attendant strip malls, and designing walkable communities where necessities and amenities are close at hand will naturally foster an outdoor and active lifestyle. Placing importance on community and personal health will go a long way toward realizing these goals as well.
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?
Everyone keeps saying "No one wants to work anymore" post-pandemic. I say that this is untrue. Having time away from work and with family has shown a huge swath of our workforce that killing themselves in jobs that do not offer fulfillment, good wages, benefits, or respect from middle management or business owners is just not worth it. By offering competitive wages and good benefits, we can attract new workers. By providing safety on our transit lines, we can make those jobs feel secure while showing our transit workers that we as a city care about their safety. By offering raises to combat the effects of out-of-control inflation and providing robust benefits packages, we can retain that workforce. And by overhauling middle management and ending the toxic culture of "you're on my dime," showing actual respect to our working class, and implementing ideas such as stakeholder options, we can provide a work environment where the staff feels that they have a real stake in the day-to-day operations in the city. People want to work in a field where they feel valued, and so we should be examining ways to make that a reality.
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?
One severely underrepresented idea to increase housing in Albuquerque is the estimated 1300-1800 empty or abandoned houses in the city. We should be incentivizing the procurement and revitalization of these homes, restoring them, and utilizing one of the many options we have such as grants, first-time homebuyer programs, etc. to sell these homes at affordable rates to our residents. I advocate the building of new housing, particularly models that feature mixed-income levels over single- or dual-income models as the healthiest neighborhoods are not economically segregated as my district- District 6- has been. In conversations with developers and homeowners looking to build ADUs to increase housing supply, one of the most constant complaints is the permitting process. Streamlining and expediting the process will help many looking to build, and grants or other financial incentives to build ADUs will help homeowners realize their plans for building generational or income units much faster. Additionally, we must include new language in the IDO that mandates against utilizing these reclaimed or new ADU properties as short term rentals (such as AirBnBs) so that these housing options go directly toward the housing stock needed to shelter our residents.
When it comes to housing that does not require a car, this speaks to one of the points I've been making long before the run for City Council- we need to rethink community development and start building walkable, sustainable communities overall. I have been advocating for small businesses such as we once had before Walmart wiped them out; bakeries, cafes, coffee shops, barber/salons, entertainment, and utilitarian businesses, all within walking or biking distance, or a short auto commute in the case of those who prefer one trip out for large runs such as groceries and shopping on a scale not practical for cycling. Building large bedroom communities that require commutes to amenities is outdated and impractical. I look at the closure of businesses and the swaths of empty and abandoned spaces in District 6 as a blank slate by which we can reimagine and redevelop with walkability, safety, and community involvement in mind.
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. Public Transportation
2. Walking & devices that aid people with a disability
3. Bicycles and Scooters
4. Personal Automobiles
6. Freight and Delivery
7. Ride Hailing Services (Taxi, Uber, Lyft)