During a well-attended community presentation in the Lee Belle Johnson Center last week, the landscape architectural design team of MRWM described their approach and gave community members an opportunity to view some of the potential redesign options for Foch Street downtown.
The redesign is happening because of the state “Great Blocks” grant recently awarded to MainStreet Truth or Consequences.
Robert Loftis, the lead architect on the project, reported that they had received robust citizen feedback since the last public meeting in December, and so the community’s priorities were much clearer. Shade and stormwater mitigation topped the list, with pedestrian amenities like traffic calming, benches, and general beautification also making the short list. The community wants Foch to look great, be safe and inviting, and provide spaces for art installations and small performances.
To achieve these goals, Mr. Loftis presented three redesign options, labeled A, B, and C, arranged in order of the significance of the alterations, increase in pedestrian amenities, and traffic-calming effects.
Option A is most like the current street, with two-way traffic, widened 8’6″ sidewalks, and 14 parallel parking spaces.
Option B provides 9′ sidewalks, two-way traffic, more landscaping, and 21 angle parking spaces.
Option C offers 12’6″ sidewalks, additional shade, landscaping and pedestrian amenities, one-way southbound traffic, and 21 angle parking spaces.
The intersections at Foch and both Main and Broadway present specific challenges. For northbound (uphill) drivers, the two intersections are unsafe, and the firm explained that those safety issues will not be completely resolved through this redesign.
If the current two-way traffic on Foch is maintained, as depicted in Options A and B, very little improvement is possible.
Making Foch one-way (downhill), as depicted in Option C, would go a long way towards making these dangerous intersections safer.
However, there are downsides to one-way. It will temporarily frustrate some local drivers and could increase traffic on adjoining side streets. And, because Foch has been two-way for a long time, the State Historic Preservation Office may object to the change.
In the coming weeks, the project’s steering committee will make a recommendation to city commission as to the preferred alternative, based on the community’s feedback and study of the technical issues.
The final construction documents are due to be completed by mid-June, whereupon the city, New Mexico MainStreet, and MainStreet Truth or Consequences will begin seeking funding for implementation in the next few years.
Download the MRWM presentation and review the design options at: https://www.sierracounty.biz/t-or-c-schematic-design-boards/
Anyone with ideas, concerns, or suggestions for redesigning Foch Street may contact the lead architect directly:
Robert Loftis, MRWM Landscape Architects, 1102 Mountain Rd NW, Suite 201, Albuquerque, NM, 87102, 505-268-2266, fax 505-2659637 or firstname.lastname@example.org