The UNM/CNM/Sunport corridor is the state’s biggest activity center. It is home to the UNM campuses, the UNM Hospital, CNM, the region’s major sports facilities, and the Sunport, as well as numerous nearby homes and businesses. More than 75,000 people come here every day, and another 20,000 live nearby. Lots of new development is planned in the area, including a new hospital, educational buildings, restaurants, and stores.
Why the Study is Necessary
In 2010, MRCOG began to study the transportation needs of the UNM/CNM area. The report found that:
Many of the area’s roads are congested - UNM and CNM generate at least 1.3 million vehicle miles of traffic every day – 5% of all trips in the region. This results in traffic congestion and slow commutes.
Many people already use transit - Almost 45% of UNM students, faculty, and staff use alternative modes of transportation, much higher than anywhere else in the city. UNM also operates shuttles that carry about 10,000 riders per day during the school year.
North-south transit is limited - While east-west bus service on Central and Lomas is excellent, there are few buses traveling north-south, and it is difficult for many people north of Lomas and south of Central to access transit.
A significant amount of new development is expected in the area - UNM, CNM, and UNMH are expanding their facilities, and other new residential and commercial development is expected as well. This will bring even more people to the area and increase the strain on local roads.
Among other things, the report recommended an Alternatives Analysis – this study – to identify a new north-south transit service. The report also recommended parking and land use strategies to support the use of alternative transportation, which will also be addressed by the current study.