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Dangerous sidewalks force pedestrians to walk the streets

WHY I WALK IN THE ROAD: After a recent column (Aug. 5) included a cyclist concerned about hitting pedestrians walking in bike lanes, and the traffic ordinance that says you have to walk on the sidewalk if there is one, Jo Martin had to sound off.

Because she has no car, is disabled and risks very serious injury if she falls, Jo says, “I pay a lot of attention to the surfaces on which I walk. One of the both most annoying and most dangerous aspects of walking, especially here in the NE Heights, is the deplorable condition of the sidewalks and driveway ramps – both residential and commercial. And don’t even get me started on the even more deplorable condition of most parking lots. Shudder.”

Jo explains that the alternatives as she takes her wheeled cart on errands are no better. “Often the curb areas, or the bike lanes, aren’t in that much better condition – most all our streets are in serious need of repaving/regrading. But, they are safer for walking than the alternative.”

And she says she’s not alone. “Most people I talk with whether walking for exercise, for their dogs, or simply transiting from one point to another, when asked, all agree: The streets are safer. … One friend who’s in a motorized chair has tried to use the sidewalks and has twice been thrown into the street and oncoming traffic by ‘bad’ sidewalks/driveway ramps. One such resulted in a broken elbow. Now? She always uses the street.”

Jo adds she and her friends all try to be good pedestrians: “We pay attention to oncoming traffic, both vehicle and bike, and give right-of-way to them. We know we’re breaking the law. But the alternative is the risk of being injured or killed because of the deplorable sidewalks/driveway ramps.”

RUMBLING ON INTERSTATE 25: Earlier this year Carole emailed, “What on earth is wrong with that new exit lane for Montgomery? There is a whole stretch that feels like driving on cobblestones. My husband regularly moves over to get a wheel on the shoulder and avoid the rumbling.”

Specifically, she says it’s southbound from Paseo south to Montgomery. “Happily, the additional lane allows us to stay over to the right all the way to Montgomery. However in the second-to-last stretch the pavement is bumpy and very rough. I wondered how this could be since it was a newly added lane.”

It’s supposed to be a temporary problem that will be fixed in the next phase of rehabbing the highway.

Kimberly Gallegos, who handles information for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, explains the rough ride “will be addressed in the next segment of the I-25 upcoming Construction of the Montgomery interchange. During the last project from San Antonio to Jefferson, there was barrier wall added up to Montgomery, and the Jefferson on-ramp was extended to accommodate the next project. The NMDOT is aware of this issue and will continue to monitor for safety of the traveling public.”

BUY ONE, GET ONE MOTORCYCLE PARKING: And DR called to ask if motorcycles can park in metered spaces for free, as he has heard yes and no.

Johnny Chandler, public information coordinator for Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, says it’s a clear “no.”

“Motorcycles are required to pay for metered parking spaces,” he says. But he adds “the city ordinance does say that more than one motorcycle can be parked in a metered parking spot. Two motorcycles are allowed to park in one metered parking space provided that both vehicles are within the parking stall.”

WHAT’S SO MODERN ABOUT THOSE STATIONS? Kent Argubright emails, “I’m hoping you can answer a confusing issue. In New Mexico, the blue interstate services signs that inform about lodging, food, etc., use the term ‘modern stations.’ My family and friends believe it refers to everything from running water and flush toilets to powered, not gravity fed, gas pumps. When I Google the term, all I get are references to stations of the cross and modern rock radio stations.

“I’ve never seen this term used in any other state.”

Gallegos says she “received some clarification from our sign crew supervisor. He said that the modern station signs are only around Tucumcari and mean just that – a station with all resources.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87109.

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