Route 66 News

Albuquerque closes in on Route 66 revitalization plan

KOB-TV reports that the city of Albuquerque is “one step closer” to implementing a proposal revitalization plan for Route 66.

Here’s the station’s report:

A key excerpt from the report:

An in-depth draft of the plan details what’s ahead, including preservation of historic motels and milestones, financial perks for developers who build homes and shops to fill in gaps that dilute Route 66, a Route 66 visitor’s center and improvements to solve a problem that hurts residents as much as visitors.

“Traffic is probably the worst thing,” one resident said.

They’re changes meant to make Route 66 a destination, not just a thoroughfare.

I’ve probably been to Albuquerque at least a dozen times, and I don’t regard traffic as much as an issue. Traffic in the Duke City certainly is better than the two major cities on each end of Route 66 — Chicago and Los Angeles — and no worse than the good-sized towns between such as St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Springfield, Missouri.

The lack of a Route 66 visitors center in New Mexico’s largest city remains an issue. But the biggest problem remains the oversupply of cheap motels along Albuquerque’s Central Avenue (aka Route 66). Many of these motels are historic, but the sheer glut of them has led operators to rent them as cheaply as possible. Subsequently, many of these motels have become incubators of crime. And there simply aren’t enough Route 66 tourists to keep more than a handful of those motels solvent. Adaptation of many of these motels into other businesses will have to be part of the city’s efforts.

An early draft of the proposed plan is here (eight-page Acrobat file).

(Image of downtown Albuquerque by Sean Ringey via Flickr)

2 thoughts on “Albuquerque closes in on Route 66 revitalization plan

  1. salparadise

    Noticed the use of Route 66 pics on their promotion folder of the road near Amboy, California. Wonder if they knew that or just assumed it was in New Mexico somewhere.

  2. salparadise

    It’s great that the city is asking for public comments and what appears to be an honest chance for people to help with the future use of Central Ave. So many of these ‘public input’ requests are nothing more than ‘fait accompli’ where everything has already been decided and is run by the public in more of an ‘accept this plan’ format where input is discouraged.

    If I lived in the city or nearby I’d recommend installing a trolley based line running on Central Ave and terminating at the cities main railroad station where it can link to the line running between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The benefits are obvious as tourists can ‘enter’ Central (Route 66) in keys points, get on the trolley and take it in at their own pace. Key stops can be installed along the way to focus certain areas and allow for tourists, etc, to have some sort of a directed visit. I think Route 66 in town would be a perfect fit for trolley service, both to provide access for visitors and for practice public use as a method of transit.

    Right now here in Arlington, VA the county has approved installing a trolley line but the actual implementation of it is tied for several reasons, mostly due to the public wondering why a trolley line is needed for an area already well served by public bus service. Most people think adding a trolley to that is a waste of money. The county board did a great job of running it through public input sessions as a ‘completed plan’. When done they said the public approved of their plan and they went ahead with it. However, once the public actually had a chance to study it they objected to it and the heavy handed way the Board rushed it through the public approval process. Today its tied up over public funding and may actually end up being cancelled.

    Albuquerque could probably use a trolley as the area has only normal bus service. A trolley would augment that service as well as attract visitors to Route 66. Sounds like something they may want to at least take a look at.

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