It’s that time of year again: Traffic! Heat! Obligatory family time! Oh, and the cost! You know what I’m talking about, the New Mexico State Fair.
The idea is great; a day with the family celebrating New Mexican culture. Once you act on it, though, you realize the grievous error you’ve inflicted on yourself and those you choose to go with.
The traffic that surrounds the area for blocks creates a vehicular circle of hell. You could use ABQ Ride, but this is Albuquerque! We drive everywhere, under all conditions. Unless you pay for parking (to add to the increasing debt you’ll owe to a fast cash loan service to afford this trip) you have to fight for a too-small parking spot that takes nearly 20 minutes to find after a 30 minute wait in traffic. I can’t imagine how the folks who live in the surrounding area deal with the animosity of these drivers.
After an hour or so once you’re on the Fair Grounds, you get a New Mexican sweat; the sweat that pours from every crevice on your body. Theoretically this cools the body, but personally, it just makes me damp and irritated. Add this to forced family time and you’ll see the result: red-faced parents, screaming kids, uninterested teens and the slowing elderly.
The Fair is also incredibly expensive for most families. The parking is $10 (and $20? Can you be more specific, New Mexico State Fair Facebook page?), entry is another $10 if you’re 12-64, $7 if you’re 6-11 or 65 and older, and free for kiddos 5 and under.
So already, for an average family of four, this is around $40 without preferred parking. Plus paying for food and tickets for rides, you're looking at at least just under $100 and that’s not even counting the total cost of gas, either.
In addition to all of this I hate long lines, line-cutters, the idea of the baby animals being required to sit in the same spot all day so screaming families can view them for two minutes (once I did see some llamas chasing a baby giraffe, or was that a dream?), the creepy carnies, creepy dudes in general, running into people I haven’t seen since high school, and the amount of smoke from the meat food places.
But I’m pretty excited for Balloon Fiesta.
A man pointed his finger at Santa Fe private school students and said “pew pew.” This didn’t go over well.
Albuquerque, as a whole, has been revealed to be a terrible driver. And Albuquerque, as a whole, gives a knowing laugh.
A UNM professor is looking into why APD’s lapel cameras are always switching off at key moments, which is really weird, and must be because of, I dunno, a chip or something? Or a wire? Yeah, that's it. Probably a wire.
Air France has suspended flights because of… bum bum bum… EBOLA. Let's all freak out.
And a 9-year-old girl fatally shot her instructor with an automatic Uzi during a practice session gone wrong.
Soccer fever may lead to other illnesses.
A German vagina sculpture trapped an ugly American.
The new X-ray gun can see what you’re hiding.
Introducing the $250 hangover cure.
Vodka erases bad smells as well as bad memories.
Stress causes heart attacks by over-producing white blood cells.
Times Square weirdos face a costume crackdown.
Are the French rude? Mais non!
There was a fatal hit-and-run at Carlisle and Indian School.
There was a fatal crash on 2nd Street.
Mushy sparks flew when I saw you.
Happy birthday, Bryan Brown.
Who would have thought the cotton-ball diet is dangerous? Who would have thought of a cotton-ball diet?
What about the Flamin Hot Cheetos diet?
What about the rat cheese diet?
What about the turkey egg diet?
Liquidmetal is made from people.
I challenge you to chessboxing.
I challenge you to a twerk-off.
Sarah Silverman talks about jokes.
Blue Velvet’s 22 deleted scenes clock in at about 52 minutes.
When Albuquerque has weather, the weather is the news.
When weather is the news, traffic is the news.
When traffic is the news, power outages are the news.
Happy birthday Rodney Dangerfield. I respect you, sir.
Chicago's draconian eavesdropping law poses problems for protestors and journalists at the upcoming G-8 summit.
Traffic crackdown in Rio Rancho.
New Mexico has a new prison gang with a lame name.
In response to an invasive abortion law, a Virginia state senator proposed an amendment requiring men seeking erectile dysfunction drugs to receive a rectal exam and stress tests.
Meet the monkey refugees of Louisiana.
Louis CK sold a sitcom to CBS.
Netflix won't be renting games after all.
DC Comics unveils its long-rumored line of Watchmen prequel comics. I wonder what Watchman co-creator Alan Moore thinks about it? "As far as I know … there weren't that many prequels or sequels to Moby Dick."
What does an artist with Alzheimer's paint?
Everything is cool guys, that red river in Texas was just polluted with pig blood.
Where did the Frito pie really come from?
Every overhead hand shot from Wes Anderson films.
Check out this recently discovered test footage from a proposed 1936 John Carter of Mars animated movie.
When I'm President this fake Breaking Bad RPG will be real.
Completely mesmerized by this video.
The Mayor’s Office released yesterday afternoon a list of legislative priorities for 2012. Albuquerque’s asking for:
• A law that would allow cities and counties to ban fireworks sales
• A law that criminalizes organized retail theft where stolen merchandise is resold on the black market
• $50 million for the I-25/Paseo interchange
• $500,000 to clean up trash along I-40 and I-25
• Adding a Silver Alert for Albuquerque to the state’s Amber Alert system. This could help the families of seniors who struggle with dementia or Alzheimer’s find their loved ones if they go missing.
We can't always blame it on the booze. Sometimes bad drivers are just bad drivers, particularly on Paseo del Norte. A report by UNM’s Division of Government Research breaks down the 50 worst intersections in the state based on data from 2007 through 2009. Paseo del Norte at Coors as well as at Jefferson tie for the No. 1 spots with 391 crashes apiece. Coors and Paseo is slightly more dangerous, as 118 of those crashes (or 30 percent) were fatal. (Paseo and Jefferson comes in at 110 fatalities, or 28 percent.) More intersections to steer clear of: bit.ly/abqcarcrashes. (EK)
A contract with Arizona-based Redflex expired in Oct. 2010, and we thought they were gone. No such luck. A month later Mayor Richard Berry reinstated red-light cameras at 14 intersections throughout the city. Not only do the cameras catch you red-handed, estimates say that an additional $370,000 was needed in tax money to keep the program in place. On average, 73 citations are issued per month and make up one-third of the city’s moving violation tickets. Data from 2010 put the intersection at Central and Coors as the clear frontrunner, with 3,036 citations issued between January and August. Add that to 4,385 citations at the same intersection in 2009. Fines are $75 and can be paid by mail or online. The question of whether to keep the system in place goes to Albuquerque voters on Oct. 4. For more on these robocop cameras: 1.usa.gov/abqredlightcameras. (EK)
Yesterday's tornado in Albuquerque was actually a landspout.
Virginia Tech says there's a gunman on campus. In 2007, a shooter killed 33 people at the school.
The mayor of Sunland Park near Las Cruces says he was drunk when he signed those nine contracts.
Construction near University and Coal is going to get worse.
The ACLU wants to make sure we're not being tracked by the police through our cell phones.
NRA files lawsuit to stop a rule that requires gun shops to report the purchase of more than one semi-automatic. The rule would be lifted in border states, such as New Mexico.
First chile harvest is in from Hatch.
The world's first text messages from 1890.
Fox News hosts don't criticize Sarah Palin because she's their coworker.
Adult men who like My Little Pony are called bronies.
The golden oldies of a gen-Xer.
Maybe our universe is in a bubble of space and time, and other universes are, too.
Writer finds out how easy it is to buy a gun from a stranger in Portland.
The ultimate food taboo.
Charlene Baldwin says the speed humps in her neighborhood could have caused her a major medical problem in the fall.
Things just went from bad to worse for small business owners in the area of the city's $26.5 million Lead and Coal renovation. On Monday, Feb. 21, the city blocked off Yale between Lead and Avenida César Chávez to rehab a storm drain system.
A bird in a bird in a bird in a pig.
Or, adopt a turkey instead of eating it.
Many police officers will be out patrolling for drunk drivers today.
I-40 re-opens after a big car smash. I-25 closed at Menaul.
There were few women at the first Thanksgiving. (So let the turkey burn. Have a beer.)
Sheriff admits to selling old body armor to military personnel, resigns.
How Obama and Palin will spend Thanksgiving.
South Korea's defense chief steps down.
Feds working to ban chemicals in herbal synthetic marijuana.
This woman was trapped for 20 days in a bathroom.
Lord Flight is sorry for saying changes to welfare would give poor people an incentive to breed.
I’m on Yale, creeping from Silver to Coal over the course of 15 minutes. My journey began at Cornell, about a block away from my destination. But construction has routed me in a giant U, and now my car is guzzling gas while all the students and University area customers simultaneously try to use the single-laned roads.
The Morningstars put a sign in front of their store, Free Radicals, on Yale and Lead that says something to the effect of: Road destruction will continue until you buy clothes from us.
It’s late, 11:30 p.m. I tried to take Garfield heading east. I turn left onto my street, then meet a barricade. The rules have changed again. Now, you can’t cross Coal. I sit, exhausted, wondering what to do next. In my weary state, I’m wondering if there’s even a path left to get to my house. Into my headlights walks a baseball cap-wearing neighbor. He moves the barrels for me, laughs, and says he hasn’t much cared for the construction himself.
I’m getting my mail. Down the street, I see a nearby business owner on his phone, angrily moving the barrels back into place. People have been cutting across his parking lot to get onto Lead. He sits on the curb, frustrated.
I’m riding my bike to work to avoid the morning traffic inching along the too small streets; Silver and Yale are just not ready for this many drivers. On Silver, careless and impatient road warriors, so many more than usual, try to cut around me. They pass way too close. I wait to cross Yale and continue down the designated Bicycle Boulevard. It’s taking some time, as the traffic is bad. The car behind me begins to honk. Finally, I can cross. A driver patiently stops to let me through. The truck behind him honks.
I can’t be the only one driving in circles, reminiscing about the good ol’ days (a week or two ago), when things were better, simple. Lead went west, two lanes. Coal went east, two lanes. Life was good.
If the Council approves the measure, a half-dozen cameras will be taken down, and all cameras will no longer issue citations for speeding.
Say goodbye to red-light cameras at:
Academy and Wyoming
Central and Eubank
Menaul and Carlisle
Coors and Montaño
Coors and Paseo del Norte
Jefferson and Paseo del Norte
Mayor Richard Berry got the results of a study by UNM’s Institute for Social Research. The study found that those six intersections saw no reductions in crash-related costs. He’d asked them to look into the cameras’ effectiveness in March.
The study also states:
There is no proof that ticketing for speeding via camera improved safety; there were more rear-end collisions in some cases; and 30 percent of the intersections saw an increase in property damage.
On a positive note, citizens have saved more than $2 million overall in crash-related costs, injuries decreased (even though rear-end wrecks increased) and the program prevented about 120 injurious accidents.
Citizens have learned how to avoid getting tickets, too. Initially, each camera was issuing about 600 citations per month. By 2008, that number dropped to 100 per month.
If the Council approves Berry’s proposal, the city will also look for a third party to administrate the program and would have a contract ready by the end of this year. In early 2007, the city was being sued by people who argued that it had created its own court.
Berry’s doing what he said he would during last year’s campaign cycle.