Highway help is out there; Paseo stripes missing - Albuquerque Journal

Highway help is out there; Paseo stripes missing

Drivers might be familiar with the Courtesy Patrol vehicles, aka the Help Trucks. NMDOT District 3 offers a unique program called the Courtesy Patrol Program, which has provided roadside assistance to stranded motorists along the Interstate 25 and Interstate 40 corridors within the Albuquerque metro area for two decades. (Courtesy NMDOT)

ANOTHER YEAR OF HELPING METRO DRIVERS:

As we close out one year and head into the next, it’s nice to be able to highlight a program that every single weekday comes to the rescue of average folks just headed to work, family, errands, etc.

Earlier this year a reader sent in a letter explaining she had a tire blowout on the interstate, and “Victor” in the yellow Help Truck saved her day.

Turns out Victor is Victor Martinez who’s been with NMDOT for more than 20 years and the Courtesy Patrol supervisor for four years, where he oversees a team of seven drivers. District 3 Traffic Engineer Nancy R. Perea says he’s a commuter favorite, getting “multiple kudos from the public over the last several years for his professionalism, customer service and positive attitude.”

Perea explains the Courtesy Patrol Program “works in partnership with state, county and local emergency response agencies and other NMDOT units as part of a highway incident management team.” It handles a yearly average of over 10,000 calls that “include, but (are) not limited to, motorist aid, crashes, debris removal and incident management with first responders.”

Better known as the yellow Help Truck, the Courtesy Patrol is available from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. It covers Interstate 25 from N.M. 500 (Rio Bravo Boulevard) to N.M. 556 (Tramway Boulevard), I-40 from 98th Street to N.M. 556 (Tramway Boulevard), and N.M. 423 (Paseo del Norte) from I-25 to N.M. 45 (Coors Boulevard).

To get help from the Courtesy Patrol and perhaps even meet Victor, call (505) 242-COPS (505-242-2677) or (505) 934-0354. Of course in case of emergency dial 911.

SPRING WILL BRING FINAL PASEO LAYER: Angela Swindle recently emailed that while “the state recently repaved the intersections on Paseo del Norte from Eagle Ranch to Golf Course … they never finished the striping. There are no crosswalks. And no lines for left turns. Also, they didn’t stripe out the ‘non lane’ that is to the right of the 2 straight lanes going west on Paseo at Eagle Ranch. Cars continuously drive in that area and try to go straight, causing a bottleneck situation in the middle of the intersection. Numerous accidents are happening because of this.”

Angela adds “intersection lines, crosswalks, and stripes across non-driving areas are desperately needed. Similar incomplete striping can be found at the next two intersections going west on Paseo. Will you please look into this?”

Kimberly Gallegos with NMDOT District 3 did and found “the OGFC (open-graded friction course) will be placed from Golf Course to Eagle Ranch in the spring. For now, our traffic section is working on a purchase order for temporary pavement markings.”

SUNPORT PARKING LOT UPDATE: Marsha Thole emails “I hadn’t been to the airport in a long time, and when I drove by it (on a recent) weekend … an entire parking lot that had been on the corner of Yale and Gibson was leveled, gone. I never found parking in the garage at the terminal after driving around for 45 minutes, although the sign said there were spaces. … Why was the lot eliminated? We need parking at the airport.”

Jonathan Small, marketing and public relations manager for the ABQ Sunport, explains “the lot on Yale and Gibson is owned by a private company (and) is no longer in operation (as a parking lot). The parking lots owned and operated by the Sunport are listed on ABQSunport.com.” There are three with a total of 4,207 spaces. For information the Sunport parking information hot line number is (505) 842-7030; the parking administration office is (505) 244-7883.

Small says “these are busy times for the Sunport, which means our lots are becoming increasingly full, however we rarely run out of available spots. Multiple off-site, private parking lots are also available for travelers.”

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.

 

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