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Why we don’t have double-decker bridges and other questions

MEMORIAL DAY SPEED ROUND: It’s a holiday, folks, so let’s rock and roll though some road questions so you can feel informed as you move on to spend time with friends and family and honor our nation’s fallen heroes.

WHY DON’T WE STACK OUR RIVER CROSSINGS? Richard emails, “I grew up in Albuquerque and (have) been driving since the mid ’60s. Watched the freeways being built and improved as well as every new bridge crossing the river, with traffic and road rage getting worse.

“My question is, ‘Why did or do our city planners not have the foresight to design and build double-deck bridges?’ Many cities with much wider rivers have them. Seems we have gone from the land of maybe mañana to we’re OK with yesterday.”

 (Albuquerque Journal)

It’s a question that pops up every so often, and planners have told me in the past that this ambitious concept has been mentioned, mostly at public meetings on various projects and transportation capacity-expansion efforts. Much of the reason for not pursuing them has come down to a few items, mainly:

• The exorbitant cost of construction (how much more do you want to pay?).

• A significant amount of associated additional right of way needed to add the ramps (you’re taking my neighborhood?).

• Weather and maintenance-related issues (icing of the upper roadway, repairs and the likely complete shutdown for any repairs).

• Visual impediment of such a tall structure (you can’t be blocking my view of the mountains!).

• Noise of double the traffic (now we need a really big sound wall!).

WHY DO WE HAVE TO SHOW ID FOR THE TRAIN? WR emails a request to “take up Rio Metro’s unusual handling of credit-card payment by requiring an ID for a signed credit card. After Rio Metro was unresponsive twice, I asked for help from my state representative and senator, with no response again!”

“It is my understanding that Visa and MasterCard require their signed credit cards be accepted without additional ID,” she says.

That’s true – Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says on its website, “Both have rules that limit stores from requiring you to show your ID as a condition of purpose. These rules also make them accept your card even if you refuse to show your ID. However, you may still be required to show ID for other reasons related to the sale, such as for buying alcohol/tobacco, using a card flagged as lost/stolen, suspected fraud, etc. If someone insists that you show your ID to use your credit card, you can show a copy of the Visa or MasterCard rules.”

However, asking for ID is policy for the Rail Runner. Spokeswoman Augusta Meyers says, “It is actually one of our rider policies that we require passengers show a valid photo ID if purchasing a ticket on board the train.” And the train’s website,, says, “If using a credit card for payment, passengers must show a valid photo ID.”

It’s just a guess, but the “suspected fraud” phrase stands out. Anyone who has lost their wallet or had a card stolen likely doesn’t think twice when a merchant asks for ID with a credit card.

But now you know you can hand them a copy of the rules instead of your ID.

WHAT’S WITH THE SEMIS ON PARADISE? R. Leland emails, “Do you have any idea why semis and huge dump trucks are all of the sudden allowed to travel up and down Paradise? It’s not just supply trucks for the local businesses anymore; I’ve seen them more often … than ever before.”

They have always been allowed, apparently.

Johnny Chandler with the city of Albuquerque says, “Unless a route is posted with a ‘No Trucks’ sign or a weight limit, that road is available for any vehicle to use. Paradise is classified as an urban minor arterial. Within the city limits, it is four- or five-lane sections that can accommodate trucks. Design for a minor arterial like Paradise usually assumes some truck use.”

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, NM, 87109.


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