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Downed line warning fell on deaf ears at PNM

WHAT TO DO ABOUT A DOWNED LINE? Beth A. Mohr emails that she recently found “a downed electrical wire of some kind at 2001 Carlisle NE, and calling PNM result(ed) in 15 minutes on hold where I got hung up on because I didn’t have an account number. I called 311, and they said I had to call PNM. Seriously? I have to do the utility and the city’s work for them?”

Beth says she then “tried PNM again, and got the same thing. Does PNM really not have a phone number for electrical emergencies? What if the line was causing actual danger?”

Beth then “took a broom and coiled the wire out of the way, and I sent an email to PNM. Maybe someday they’ll come fix it. Or maybe the pole will fall down without what appears to be a support wire, or maybe it’s a grounding wire, and now the entire grid is unsafe – who knows? In the meantime, it’s absolutely shameful that PNM doesn’t have an emergency number or when you call in the recording doesn’t say ‘for downed lines or an electrical emergency press 9’ or something like that. It’s absurd.”

Beth says she “never heard back” after her email.

Dan Ware, who handles media for PNM, explains, “Our safety page is going to be updated soon. … We’re telling customers to always call 911 first in an emergency situation like a downed line.”

IS LIBRARY WORK JUST PORK? DLR emails, “The library I go to regularly at Lomas and Tramway has begun a construction project that won’t be completed until June. The front entrance area is being torn up, quite functional stairs and ramps are being replaced with – wait for it – stairs and ramps. No one I have spoken with, customers or employees, really gets it.

“In the meantime there is a back entrance we use while the front area and parking lot has workers and heavy machinery. Looks like pork to me. What do you think? And the city is in the midst of a financial crisis.”

Johnny Chandler, public information coordinator for Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, says, “The safety of citizens visiting the library is very important to the city of Albuquerque.” He adds that the Lomas and Tramway library is over 30 years old, and the concrete on both the plaza and the steps was uneven, deteriorating with cracks and chips, and not up to current code.

“The stairs and all concrete on the plaza, which leads to the front door, are being replaced,” Chandler says. “The temporary entrance is on the side of the building adjacent to the handicap parking spaces. The project is scheduled to be completed in June.”

ARE UNSER UPGRADES IN THE WORKS? Peter A. Sanchez asks “what the city plans to do about roadwork improvements and landscaping the median area on Unser between Interstate 40 and Central?”

He emails: “Unser has been re-worked as a boulevard including median landscaping from Dennis Chavez in the South Valley all the way to the northwest areas near Volcano Vista High School. The project and work done has been excellent, making West Side communities more beautiful than is already present with Albuquerque’s natural beauty. Great job by the city and all who have put work into this West Side area.”

But.

“But what stands out to me is a forgotten stretch of Unser,” Peter says. “The stretch between I-40 and Central has an extremely undeveloped look. The roads and the medians are disjointed and lacking an aesthetic touch. Why? Is there a plan for this area? What is that time frame, if so?”

Chandler says “the Department of Municipal Development has landscaped over 100 miles of medians since 2003. We have approximately 30 miles of median left to landscape in the city of Albuquerque. We are going to start construction at the intersection of Central and Unser to enhance ADA compliance and traffic flow. Construction will start within the next month and will be completed toward the end of 2019.”

As for aesthetics, “at this time, there are no plans to landscape these medians until construction at that intersection is completed and money is available.”

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

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