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City crews are busy making ABQ clean – and bright

CLEANUP ON AISLE BALLOON FIESTA: The city of Albuquerque and New Mexico Department of Transportation crews have been busy getting our roadways, medians, shoulders and parking lots ready for all the visitors flowing in for Balloon Fiesta 2019.

Matt Ross of Mayor Tim Keller’s Office says, “Our Clean City crews have been working for the past six weeks to cut weeds and pick up litter in and around Balloon Fiesta Park. This includes parking lots, medians and walkways.”

Specifically, Ross says there’s been a focus on:

• Cleaning along I-25 from Tramway to the Big I, both north- and southbound shoulders and frontage roads.

• Conducting routine maintenance on major thoroughfares in the I-25 and I-40 corridors.

• Making sure that local tourist attractions such as Downtown and Old Town are clean.

And this cleanup is a multiteam effort. There was a huge volunteer effort around the park last Saturday – the annual “Company’s Comin’ Balloon Fiesta Clean Up.” And Kimberly Gallegos at the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s District 3 Office says crews in districts 2 and 5 have been busy for weeks “picking up all the trash we can” with a focus on I-25 near the Sunport, I-25 from Paseo del Norte to Santa Fe, I-40 from Eubank east to the canyon, and Paseo del Norte.

The city and state are also collaborating on removing and cleaning up homeless encampments. Ross says, “We have a common goal to keep the city of Albuquerque clean and beautiful, which includes a coordinated response with other city departments to address homeless camps. We consider it a priority to quickly address reports of homeless camps, and our crews respond within 24-48 hours of receiving a report.”

When camps have been vacated along the interstates, Gallegos says NMDOT crews handle the cleanup.

NEW AND IMPROVED STREETLIGHT REPORTING: Recently, Bart Fletcher emailed that his neighborhood near Eubank and Candelaria had “been without a streetlight for over a year. We have contacted PNM, (city light contractor) Citelum and the Mayor’s Office. All we have received is the run-around. This is a very frustrating situation and I believe the darkness promotes crime, graffiti, etc. Is there anything you can do to help?”

PNM has taken care of it.

Meaghan Cavanaugh, who handles corporate communications for electric utility PNM, couldn’t find “any record of the customer reporting the streetlight in question (but) we did identify it as a PNM-owned light and have placed an order to get it fixed.”

In fact, Bart emailed soon after the light was back on.

And Cavanaugh has some good news for everyone who wants a brighter city.

PNM, which owns more than 11,000 streetlights in Albuquerque and maintains around 50,000 streetlights statewide, has been busy converting all its Albuquerque lights to LED. The project started in April with contractor Bixby Electric, Cavanaugh says, and crews have converted more than 65% of the lights and moved into the final two phases, which are in the Northeast Heights.

For lights that are out, “customers can now report a streetlight out by visiting:,” she says. “They will be asked to complete a short form, including contact information – just in case we have a question about their submittal – and the location of the streetlight they are reporting out.” Specificity helps locate the lightpole in question.

“Once they enter the address in the form, the map will show them if the light is PNM-owned or city-owned. PNM lights appear as orange dots, city lights are blue dots,” Cavanaugh says. “Regardless, once they have completed the form and hit ‘submit,’ the form goes to our customer service department so they can coordinate getting a work order to have the light fixed” by whomever owns it.

She adds that folks can also report a streetlight outage “by calling 888-DIAL-PNM (1-888-342-5766), or they can chat live with a customer service representative on during customer service hours, weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.”

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


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