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If Sunport parking is full, why so many empty spaces?

THROWING SHADE AT SUNPORT PARKING: Kris Carrillo emails, “Recently we had reason to park at the ABQ airport for a long weekend. When we approached the close-by long-term parking lot, the gates said ‘full’ and we were required to park in the more expensive short-term lot. As we drove by the long-term lot, it was clear there were quite a number of available slots for parking in that less-expensive parking lot.

“Is this a ploy to get us to pay more for parking? It wasn’t even close to being full!”

The city says it was all about a different kind of green.

Stephanie Kitts, marketing and public relations coordinator for the Albuquerque International Sunport, says, “The solar panels that are on top of the covered parking in the long-term/economy parking lot are undergoing maintenance, which requires closure of small sections of the lot as they move through. My guess is that Ms. Carrillo may have seen open spots due to these closures.

“I realize that her need for airport parking has already passed, but this might also be a good time to inform the general public that we do offer a second long-term/economy lot – which we label the credit-card parking lot – that is just east of the terminal building. It can be accessed from the same level as the other parking options by following the signs pointing to the credit-card parking area.” More information can be found at the Sunport website:

SANDOVAL EMISSIONS CHECK REDUX: Last year Julia, who has lived in Corrales in Sandoval County for five years and always re-registered her vehicles online, got a notice that she needed an emissions check on one that was due – even though only Bernalillo County residents are required to go through that process.

Another year, another emissions notice in error.

Last year, Julia went to the city-run MVD in Rio Rancho that charged a fee; this year she emails she headed to the new state-run office on Eagle Ranch Road, which she writes “is a beautiful facility, by the way, and the wait times are not long.”

Another long visit with a clerk ended with Julia getting the addresses corrected for her three vehicles, but when she went online a few days later to do her renewal, “the system would not let me renew, still saying I needed an emissions certificate. I returned to the MVD office, and was told that, because some of Corrales is in Bernalillo County, when MVD upgraded the system last year it defaulted ALL of the Corrales addresses to Bernalillo County and therefore automatically demands an emission certificate. A ‘glitch,’ I was told. The woman at the Rio Rancho office (last year) had told me the same thing.”

And while Julia was able to again renew in person, she says, “I’ve had to take time off work to do it, and it prevents me from receiving the discount one gets when renewing online, which seems highly unfair for those of us who are pinching pennies. Further, many of these MVD employees seem to know about the ‘glitch,’ but no one seems interested in fixing it. Such a frustration.”

MVD spokesman Ben Cloutier explains, “The MVD relies on zip codes to send emission notices. Two Bernalillo County zip codes overlap into Sandoval County. We apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause some Sandoval County residents. The MVD is working to streamline this process.

“However, Sandoval County residents that drive into Bernalillo County at least 60 days in a year are required to pass the Bernalillo County emissions test.”

He adds that any state MVD office should do a change of address for free, saying “customers can distinguish between state-run MVD offices and those owned and operated by municipalities on our website (”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.



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