A friend in Providence told me she visited Albuquerque once. Her deepest impression of the Duke City is “the streets are really wide.” Without a doubt, this was probably one of the oddest comment I’ve heard regarding any destination.
“Was it easier to drive?”
“No, it was just really … wide.” But I’ve grown to understand what she meant by it now.
Like most people these days, I simply took to YouTube and became an instant urban planner expert and civil engineer. In particular, the channel Not Just Bikes was especially enlightening.
Without repeating the content of the linked video above, it’s painfully obvious that Albuquerque was built without the pedestrian in mind. While there are sidewalks, the scale of the city is simply larger with huge, empty parking lots placed in front of businesses and crosswalks that cut through at least four lanes of traffic, some 60 feet. Let’s not talk about the zoning issues where the residential areas, with low density housing, are completely separate from businesses. It just never feel safe, nor fast to walk.
A prime example happened yesterday when I needed to buy some socks. There’s a Dick’s Sporting Good store in the mall right by the hotel I’m staying, approximately half a mile away. I knew the route since I drive past it to the climbing gym, so I know how unfriendly it is to pedestrians.
Shamefully, I drove.