A proposed train spur to take the New Mexico Rail Runner to Balloon Fiesta Park as a way to help alleviate traffic congestion during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been called a “dumb idea” by residents living in and around the north Edith area, who would be most directly affected.
The spur line and accompanying infrastructure to support it would be prohibitively expensive, an undue burden on the neighborhood, and wouldn’t resolve the overall problem of traffic and access into the park, said Leslie Linthicum. Her north Edith home is adjacent to a parking lot just purchased by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and just downhill from the North Diversion Channel, which the spur would follow.
But Dave Simon, director of Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the rail spur options are just proposals at this point “to attack traffic problems and improve access,” as is a related proposal to construct a “slip ramp” to connect traffic on southbound Interstate 25 to Balloon Fiesta Park.
A request by the city for $7.5 million in state funding recently approved by the Legislature “is to explore all manner of potential solutions for traffic access” and not specifically for the rail spurs or the slip ramp.