Thursday, February 12, 2009

There's More to the Story on Kayenta


By D'Val Westphal
Of the Journal
CATCHING UP ON KAYENTA: The recent column that had the city saying there were few wrecks at Irving and Kayenta has a few readers begging to differ.
Laura Downey e-mails that her “home backs into Kayenta, and there is a serious problem regarding speeding on this road. I have been in touch with the West Side command center, and at times there has been more police presence, however we still have a bad problem. In the article ... it was mentioned that there had only been two reported accidents. What was not mentioned was that one of those accidents was fatal and was caused because of excessive speed, which resulted in losing control of the vehicle. Shortly before the accident happened, I called the police to report this vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed, he had been going back and forth, using this road like a race track for over an hour, had there been a quicker response it is possible that this accident could have been avoided.
“Every day and night I hear motorcycles — what we call pocket rockets — using excessive speed 60-plus miles per hour. Many cars speed as well. It is very dangerous, there are blind curves on this road, and it is just a matter of time before we have another bad accident. I don't know what the answer is; I think that speed bumps would help and a lower speed limit.”
And Bill Kelly e-mails that “the count of accidents at a given location does not necessarily include all incidents. I learned 18 months ago that accident reports can disappear into the ether.
“My vehicle, which was parked in a parking lot, was struck by a car that came off the roadway. All the sheriff's deputies in area were there for hours. The first responding officer gave me an accident report number so that I could deal with my insurance, and the driver's, if he had any.
“To make a long story short, after much checking by both myself and my insurance adjuster, no such report was ever filed. I did finally find the officer that had given me the number, and he referred me to the clerk he thought might help me. She was able to find his initial report — in a very deep pile on a desk — but no entry into the computer was ever made. My point is, if they don't follow their own process, they don't have the information to refer back to.”
And Andrew Hewes of Rio Rancho took the time to ask his State Farm insurance agent about the cost of repairing walls after a car plows into them.
“They say uninsured motorist coverage on my vehicle would pay for house and yard structures damaged by a vehicle. I had previously assumed uninsured motorist only covered vehicles. The nice thing about uninsured motorist coverage is (a) there is no deductible and (b) it doesn't 'count against you' if people keep driving into your yard. In general, landscaping is not covered.”
CHECKING IN ON THE RIO GRANDE STOPS: The three new stop signs on Rio Grande continue to draw mixed reviews.
Diane Albert says via e-mail that “my fiance and I live on Ranchitos just east of Rio Grande. We are happy that the stop signs were installed on Rio Grande at El Pueblo and Ranchitos. We are hoping that commuters refrain from using residential streets and use Alameda, Paseo del Norte and Second Street for their daily commute. ...We enjoy the rural atmosphere in the village and do not appreciate the speeders roaring down Ranchitos at 40 to 50 mph.”
But Joe Barela of Rio Rancho isn't as pleased.
He says “I have lived here all my life and have always enjoyed Rio Grande Boulevard. I drove through this on Sunday. It really sucks with the stop signs. You can no longer take a nice, leisurely drive down Rio Grande. That was part of the appeal. They already have the speed to 1 inch/second on Rio Grande. I think the mayor is wrong in his opinion about the road being used for commuter traffic. I guess all of us from the West bank that wanted to go down to the Flying Circus, Old Town and Central and Pro Markets to spend money just won't go there anymore.” At least not via Rio Grande.
Assistant editorial page editor D'Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Thursdays. Reach her at 823-3858 (phone), 823-3994 (fax), road@abqjournal.com (e-mail) or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103. Check out previous columns at abqjournal.com/traffic.