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No warning for lost lane on Alameda

LOSING A LANE ON ALAMEDA: A Rio Rancho resident emails that “driving east on Alameda, all of a sudden and with no signage, the right lane ends.

“It is hazardous to switch into the left lane to continue on Alameda; or to turn right onto Barstow and find a turn around place to get back on Alameda is a bit dicey also.”

Our reader adds that “for this situation intersections, there usually are signs, for example: Right Lane Ends, Right Turn Only, Merge Left, or something! Since I don’t go to that area often, I usually get caught in the incorrect lane. So far I have been lucky not to cause or be in an accident.”

Meanwhile, “going west on Alameda the signs seem to be appropriate at this intersection.”

Johnny Chandler, public information coordinator for the city’s Department of Municipal Development, says the department “has looked at the intersection of Alameda and Barstow and we agree that a sign is necessary. The ‘right turn only’ sign is scheduled to be installed by the middle of October. We are also looking at adding some striping in the future.”

AND LOOKING FOR THE PUPPY TRACKS: Meanwhile, Sarah emails that “several major intersections in town – Montgomery at Wyoming, Second at Montaño, San Mateo at Academy are ones I am familiar with – have had their puppy tracks worn off for quite a while now. Is the city ever going to repaint them? I fear for my car every time I turn left.”

FYI, puppy tracks refers to the dotted white lines that help drivers maintain their lane through an intersection.

Chandler explains “the city of Albuquerque this year has striped nearly all major arteries with long lines. Long lines refer to the yellow and white lines along the roadway. Next striping season, the Department of Municipal Development will start installing symbols. Symbols include the arrow markings on the street as well as puppy tracks. Striping roadways must be done when the average temperature is over 50 degrees. Most striping is done overnight and can only be done during the late spring, summer and early fall.”

WHY DOES AN MVD OFFICE TAKE ONLY CASH FOR ITS FEE? Katy asks this after visiting the locally run Motor Vehicle Division office in Bernalillo. She says that while the clerk would accept plastic to pay for the transaction, only cash was accepted to cover the office’s $5 fee.

Kevin Kelley, who handles information for Taxation and Revenue, MVD’s parent agency, says “Some municipal and county offices have local ordinances that enable them to assess a convenience fee on the transactions they process on behalf of MVD. Those fees generally are between $5 and $100, and are collected outside the MVD system and separately from MVD fees.”

And while each office can do business as it sees fit, Kelley offers up that cash does not entail “cumbersome agreements with credit card processors or deal(ing) with credit card chargebacks and NSF checks.”

A DIP FROM A DRIP ON PROSPECT NE: Roscoe L. Champion emails that “several weeks ago, I called 311 to report a pothole (on Prospect Ave NE about 40 yards east of Juan Tabo) that I thought had notable hazard, because it appeared to be getting deeper due to cars running over it.

“There is no break in the pavement,” he says. “It just dips – significantly. It is right in front of a fire hydrant where the pavement has been patched in an area 2½ yards by 2½ yards. In the past three weeks there has been water present in the dip 24/7. We have had many days in a row with NO rain, so it could not be from rainfall. Runoff does not stay in a dip (without) being replenished enough to have water in it 24/7 for weeks.”

Roscoe explains he stuck with it and “called 311 a second time, about 10 days ago, arguing my case again that I believe that this dip is because of an underground water leak of some kind that is eroding the dirt underground and allowing the dip to occur with water seeping up into the dip from below.”

The real concern is “this is a severe accident waiting to happen when someone drives across this dip and one wheel goes in it with enough force to collapse it. If that happens, the undercarriage of the wheel will be totally torn up. Can you encourage someone to do something about this before the accident occurs?”

Crews from the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority jumped on the case. Patti Watson explained the day after she received Roscoe’s concern, Sept. 18, that “Water Authority crews went out and investigated the area this morning, and there is a settlement. They are digging it up to see what the problem is. If it’s a Water Authority issue – i.e., water or sewer line – crews will fix it (within the week). It the issue is a storm drainage line, crews will turn it over to the city of Albuquerque. Either way, it will get addressed.”

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.