Roadway cleanups planned to spiff up this 'trashy' city for Balloon Fiesta - Albuquerque Journal

Roadway cleanups planned to spiff up this ‘trashy’ city for Balloon Fiesta

COMPANY’S COMIN’, LET’S CLEAN UP: As the State Fair leaves New Mexico and the Balloon Fiesta enters Albuquerque, Rober Ueckert asks the annual question: “Why is this city so trashy?”

He says in his email “Paseo del Norte, the whole length, is dirty, trashy, with the shoulders of the road covered with old mattresses, wood scraps, car parts, needles, etc. An email to my city councilor was not answered.”

And it’s not just Paseo, which Bob says “I use daily, but everywhere I drive. With the State Fair and Balloon Fiesta here, I’d think it would be a priority.”

It is.

CABQ: We’ll start with the city of Albuquerque. Emily Moore with the Solid Waste Department says “we do have a citywide cleanup scheduled on Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to noon called Company’s Comin’. We host it every year on the final Saturday in September, and it’s one of our two large-scale cleanup events. Solid Waste and our program Keep Albuquerque Beautiful provide each neighborhood that registers with bags and gloves, and then haul away what’s collected at each cleanup.

“In addition to these cleanups, we also have hundreds of volunteers expected at Balloon Fiesta Park. Those interested in registering can visit cabq.gov/companyscomin” or call (505) 761-8167.

NMDOT: Over at the New Mexico Department of Transportation (which would handle Bob’s Paseo concern) Kimberly Gallegos says “NMDOT has planned cleanups ahead of the Balloon Fiesta. Crews will be out sweeping the roadways and removing trash and debris from the roads and right of ways.”

That said, Gallegos “would however like to point out that although the writer states how trashy PDN is, our crews literally get out there with no room on shoulders and with PDN having no medians, they walk up and down this stretch of roadways and clean it up frequently. Almost as soon as they finish, the trash accumulates again as if they have never been there. We continue to ask for the public’s assistance in tying and tarping their loads. Also please do not litter. Paseo is one of our busiest roadways and does not have much room for equipment, other than taking a lane to clean the roadways. Our crews do their best to keep up with this ongoing issue and will continue to do so here and throughout the city and New Mexico.”

BERNCO: In Bernalillo County, Antonio E. Jaramillo, director Operations and Maintenance, says “Bernalillo County does have a crew dedicated to addressing concerns such as weeds and debris removal from the roadway right of way. We do plan on focusing on the areas at or near the Balloon Fiesta park in the coming few weeks leading up to the fiesta that is within our respective right of way.”

ON THE SAD STATE OF FAIR TRAFFIC: Several readers have written in to share their troubles with going to, or just being near, the State Fair this year.

Leonie Wellman was headed to the rodeo and concert Sept. 10 but “we never made it to the concert and the reason was because of the traffic nightmare. We started at Constitution and Louisiana driving south toward Lomas. We were in the far west lane of Louisiana. We started out at 4:20 p.m. It took almost 3½ hours to drive four blocks to Lomas. By the time we got to Lomas it was 7:45 p.m. (the show started at 7) and it looked like it would take another hour or two to actually make it to a parking spot. After four hours in the car and with no dinner we decided to not continue to parking. We were extremely disgusted and disappointed at the lack of planning by the State Fair managers. … I would like a refund from the State Fair!”

And Ryan Christopher Duhigg Randall adds all that backup on Louisiana meant drivers were “blocking intersections at Constitution and Lomas. I live in the area and have been stuck at green lights where I had the (right-of-way) for multiple lights.”

Oona Gonzales, media and marketing manager for the fair, says “it is evident from ticket sales and two sold-out shows inside Tingley Coliseum that New Mexicans are excited to come back to the fair. Unfortunately that does come with many of the challenges that large events such as Balloon Fiesta and Zozobra bring with them. The fair experienced record attendance over the (first) weekend, and high traffic volumes were unavoidable. The fair does its best to mitigate and alleviate as much of the traffic pains as we can.”

Gonzales says that included a designated ride-share gate for pickup and drop for Lyft and Uber riders, free bike valet and the city’s Zero Fares to the Fair promotion on ART buses from the Central and Unser or Uptown transit centers.

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, NM, 87109.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to change the name of the person who points out that Albuquerque should pickup trash along the streets.

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