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Worn roadside markers, noisy Westside and free train passes

SPRUCING UP ROADSIDE MARKERS: Alan Clarke asks in an email for contact information to report “defaced or otherwise damaged N.M. roadside historic information markers. I’m not sure of their official name, but I’m talking of the big historic markers, usually with the big logs at each side. Some are quite shabby and are not repaired for months or sometimes a year or so. These are deserving of proper attention.”

The contact person is New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Operations Engineer Andrew Gallegos.

Gallegos says, “As part of the State Maintenance Bureau, I have volunteered our services to install new markers along NMDOT roadways which have been approved by the Cultural Properties Review Committee (CPRC) as well as attempting to maintain all the existing markers along NMDOT roadways. It is a difficult task in that there are several hundred markers and they are spread out throughout the state, in mostly rural areas. We rely on the NMDOT patrols and traveling public to inform us of markers that are in need of maintenance as we do not have anyone dedicated to perform this task.”

That said, Gallegos says, “The task is not as simple as replacing the faces to the markers. Once we are informed of a faded marker in need of replacement, I will contact the CPRC representative so the committee has a chance to review the marker’s text and determine if it needs to be modified. Once I receive their approval, I will schedule replacement of the text plates.”

And so, to start and streamline the process, Gallegos asks that when you report a sign in need of repair/care, you include:

• Picture of marker – front and back.

• Location of marker – roadway and closest milepost.

To report a sign in need of a little TLC, email Gallegos at Andrew.Gallegos@state.nm.us.

WESTSIDE CONCERNS CONTINUE: As the city gets going on the $11 million widening Westside Boulevard between N.M. 528 and Golf Course Road, residents and the area homeowners association remain concerned about noise and vibrations that make it difficult to enjoy their backyards now, before an increase in traffic.

The Department of Municipal Development has said the final alignment includes four lanes for traffic, new medians, curb and gutter, bike lanes in each direction, sidewalk along the south side of the roadway, intersection improvements, striping, a multi-use path and retaining wall along the north side of the roadway, and irrigation with median landscaping.

And in response to resident concerns that noise studies show an increase that have been ignored, DMD adds City “Council President (Cynthia) Borrego is also working toward the installation of a sound wall on the north side of the roadway in the near future.”

Residents point out the issue is for homes on the south, not the north, side of the street, and shared that in a recent newsletter the councilor said “I dedicated $300,000 in District 5 set-aside funding to construct, if necessary, quality-of-life amenities adjacent to the Seven Bar Neighborhood on Westside Boulevard. Quality-of-life installations will be accessed once Westside Boulevard’s expansion is complete, when arising needs of the area can be accurately measured.”

It quite literally sounds like they could use them now.

FREE RAIL RUNNER PASSES: Rio Metro, which runs the commuter train between Belen and Santa Fe along with bus lines in Sandoval and Valencia counties, has announced free passes for “New Mexico residents living in households with income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.”

The news release says “free train and bus passes (are being issued) to social services agencies so that they can distribute free passes to their qualifying clients.”

In addition, anyone who wants to learn more about becoming a Rio Metro ACCESS pass distributor must submit a completed application and agreement form to cpmerlo@mrcog-nm.gov. For more details on Rio Metro ACCESS and to view the list of participating agencies that are distributing passes, visit www.riometro.org/ACCESSProgram. … Representatives are available at 866-795-7245 and 505-245-RAIL (7245) from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858 or dwestphal@abqjournal.com.

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