ABQ DRIVERS LIKE IT FAST: If there was any doubt drivers speed in Albuquerque, the recent test run of the city’s Mobile Speed Enforcement should dispel it.
The City Council and Mayor Tim Keller approved bringing back speed vans this fall.
Rebecca Atkins of the Albuquerque Police Department, says that over six days (Oct. 4-10), 233,070 vehicles drove past camera systems on eastbound and westbound Gibson and on westbound Montgomery.
The posted speed limit on Gibson is 35-45 mph. On Montgomery, it’s 35-40 mph.
Atkins shared data that shows:
- On eastbound Gibson, of 115,255 total vehicles, 60,270 were driving 50-64 mph and 5,103 were going faster than 64 mph.
- On westbound Gibson, of 131,727 total vehicles, 44,919 were driving 50-64 mph and 1,873 were going faster than 64 mph.
- And on westbound Montgomery, of 84,992 total vehicles, 12.339 were driving 50-64 mph and 448 were going faster than 64 mph.
“There was a vehicle captured on Gibson going over 110,” Atkins says, and she shared a video of another on Montgomery going 106 mph. “We did also capture a vehicle going 140 on Montgomery.”
And the excessive speeds were not just in the wee hours when streets are empty. Atkins says “some were during the day, and some were at night.”
‘STOP USING OUR ROADSIDES AS DUMP SITES’: That’s the message from N.M. Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval.
And lest ye doubt the Land of Enchantment is full of litterbugs, know that last month, 98 NMDOT employees used their days off, 1,044 total labor hours, to pick up 427 bags of trash during a statewide “Toss No Mas” litter clean-up event.
The total weight equaled 17,000 pounds, or 8.5 tons.
And it cost you, the taxpayer, $24,219.89 in labor and equipment costs.
Back in June NMDOT had a one-day cleanup. One hundred fifty-five employees picked up 1,082 bags/18 tons of trash at a cost of $26,969. That’s a cool $50K quite literally thrown away.
Sandoval says “the roadside trash issue continues to plague New Mexico, and while our department is accountable for the cleanup, I implore New Mexicans to take responsibility for their actions that cause litter. Our employees are working on their day off to clean up the trash and debris left behind by motorists. These employees include our maintenance patrols and any DOT employee willing to participate. The trash accumulates faster than we can pick it up on a regular basis.”
Last month, crews picked up everything AND the kitchen sink. Trash collected on our roadsides included: lumber, roof shingles, scrap metal, canvas material, semi tires, car parts, large cardboard boxes, cans, buckets, a mattress, hypodermic needles/medical waste, water bottles filled with urine and spit, disposable masks, household trash, a microwave and a sink. And when NMDOT’s Job No. 1 is supposed to be keeping roads safe, something has to give.
Sandoval says “the primary job of our maintenance crews is to maintain the integrity of our roads. That’s why we are contracting with a private company to work exclusively on litter pickup.”
The litter company will take over this month, according to an NMDOT news release.
But as Sandoval says, “the problem needs to be stopped at the source. People must tie and tarp their loads, tie up their garbage bags and stop using our roadsides as dump sites.”
It’s a message New Mexicans have yet to receive. The state’s “Toss No Mas” campaign was created in the 1990s and revamped this year.
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; email@example.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.