Albuquerque Bike Advocates’ April Fools Prank Could Turn Prophetic

This doctored photo shows Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry announcing a new network of buffered bike lanes. That actually never happened. Image: Urban ABQ
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry announces a new network of buffered bike lanes in this very clever Photoshop job. Image: Urban ABQ

Every April Fools Day, we’ll see several dream scenarios announced on different sites in the Streetsblog Network — you can call them pranks, but they’re also exercises in imagining a better future. This one from Albuquerque yesterday really hit its mark.

The team at Network blog Urban ABQ created a post showing Mayor Richard Berry announcing a buffered bike lane system for the city’s downtown. The post went viral and even led to a local news segment, where the mayor was forced to admit there were no such plans. But Berry did offer some encouragement, telling KRQE News, “It’s something that ironically has been in… discussions at top levels.”

Here’s the vision Urban ABQ laid out in the original post, complete with one very convincing doctored picture:

Mayor Richard J. Berry announced that the City of Albuquerque will be developing turquoise-colored buffered bike lanes on several Downtown streets.

The project is part of the Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, an initiative of the Federal Highway Administration to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety across the country.

“Improving our bicycling infrastructure is critical to maintaining the excellent quality of life in our great city. Visitors and residents are attracted to our active and unique lifestyle and I believe this project will attract more businesses and millennials to Albuquerque,” Mayor Berry said. “These new bike lanes will lay the groundwork for Albuquerque to be the most bike friendly city in the United States and will create economic opportunities and jobs throughout Albuquerque.” The plan was endorsed by Mi ABQ, a group of millennials actively working to improve Downtown Albuquerque.

The $4.7 million project identifies 13 miles of on-street bikeways that will be completed by early 2016 and will serve to connect areas such as the Rail Yards, Innovate ABQ, and UNM. The streets slated for these improvements include Broadway Boulevard, 4th Street, Tijeras Avenue, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and Lead and Coal Avenues.

Sounds like a solid imaginary plan — how will the ideas under discussion at City Hall compare?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban Adonia questions whether bike-share is a good use of public funds. Urban Milwaukee interviews six experts on the fairest and smartest way to prioritize transportation dollars in the region. And Greater City Providence says the state is discussing the possibility of consolidating a handful of Rhode Island transit providers.