If you ride a bicycle much in Burque you know where this photo was taken:
I see plenty of nodding heads out there, affirming that, yes, this is some prime cycling real estate in town, while others rightly, and bewilderingly, might ask: “But isn’t that a sidewalk and isn’t it unsafe, if not outright illegal, to ride on the sidewalk?”
Meanwhile, those nodding their heads in understanding are probably asking/exclaiming: “Who swept the sidewalk? I’ve never seen it swept before!”
To get us all on the same geographic page, the site is along Coors (wide stroad on left), just south of Ouray. That’s a Walmart on the right, and deep in the midground is one of the 18-wheelers which park here and spread the gravel you see from its current Zen garden clean position all over the sidewalk.
Despite being a sidewalk, this stretch of concrete is one of the most essential cycling connectors in town, getting riders from the Bosque Path and Gail Ryba Bridge to the continuation of the I-40 Trail west of Coors (after some dicey underpass navigation at Ouray/Coors) and other spots on the Westside.
So who swept this sidewalk?
There’s a certain civic poignancy to the question, as, in asking around, the answer of who “owns” this sidewalk and thus has the obligation to sweep it generally results in a shrug of the bureaucratic shoulders. Is it:
- NMDOT (because it’s a shoulder along Coors, which is a NMDOT “facility”)?
- City Parks and Recreation Department?
- City Department Not Named Parks and Recreation?
- The drivers of those 18-wheelers who spread gravel and sure seem to think they own the sidewalk?
- A mysterious Person X (kinda like Batman, but with only a very good broom in their utility belt)?
Due to the collective shoulder shrug to the question of ownership, this stretch is rarely swept. But somebody swept it, and for that Better Burque awards one of our newly created “Better Burque Awards” (we gotta work on the name) which go, from this point forward, to people and entities who/which make cycling better in Burque.
Hence, formally, we award this prize to “Unknown” and formally move our extended hand in a mid-air handshake of official appreciation. There’s also a cash prize equal to that given by the Nobel Prize Committee, but as we don’t know the recipient, we’ll be keeping those few hundred thousand Euros in our offshore Better Burque petty cash account.
So enjoy this clean stretch of sidewalk while we can, Burque. A more slovenly state is only an 18-wheeler or two away.