Hi, everybody! I’m the light at the intersection of Coors Blvd. and Las Estancias Dr. in the deep South Valley south of Rio Bravo…
How ya doin?
You might notice the covers over my lights and signals. They are there, and have been ever since I was born, way back in April of 2014:
The guy next to the cherry picker is one of my red light midwives, so to speak, who installed me at this corner over three years ago. But to fully understand my birth and why those covers are still over my lights/signals, let’s go back three more years to how my crib looked back in 2011:
Yeah, believe it or not, this longtime alfalfa field standing alongside Coors back then, is the exact spot you now see me and a whole bunch of pavement, curbs and concrete.
Pretty nice, huh?
To further show you the change since then, let’s take a look at a not-so-great photo taken by Better Burque of my crib earlier this morning:
Some difference, huh?
Lots of businesses arranged in a wholly bizarre series of parking lots, side streets, more parking lots and even more parking lots. The tallest building in the far back right is a 12-plex movie house with an IMAX screen. Nearer to us in the shot is a Lovelace urgent care. One exciting thing about my neighborhood is that things are getting built here both haphazardly and all the time.
For instance, here’s a shot looking back south (see me there, really small, surrounded by a highly inept red circle?) from July of 2016. Looking pretty lonely out there, aren’t I?
And here’s what my neck of the woods looked like only a few months back, in April, 2017:
The funny thing is, looking back now, is that KOB-TV ran a story back in that month of April, 2017 about local residents being concerned that my lights and signals weren’t in operation. But that’s nothing, let’s take another look at how I’m surrounded this very morning and ponder how much more dangerous things are now than back when KOB ran that story:
And that’s only looking north of me. South of me there’s a fairly sizable nursing home called “The Rio,” and a sign noting that Presbyterian will be, quickly (like everything else along this stretch), building an urgent care center next to The Rio, and me. (Editor’s Note: Better Burque intended to take a photo of this scene earlier this morning, but decided stopping a car to take a photo on Coors, even on a Saturday morning, was a death-defying bridge too far, even for a blogpost).
To quote a Kurt Vonnegut book sub-title: Lonesome No More!
I’ve now got friends all around me, including more and more cars trying to get from all these new businesses back to Coors Blvd. I must say in passing that I really don’t understand why these drivers want to drive on Coors at all; the dangerous things I see every day here would curl your hair to the point of knots, but folks gotta do what they gotta do, I guess.
And that gets me to why the covers are still on my lights and signals, more than three years later.
Folks in government gotta do what they gotta do, too, and one of those things is evidently passing responsibility on to some other governmental entity. In my case, the entities include the New Mexico Department of Transportation (because Coors is a state stroad), Bernalillo County (because about 93.8% of my surroundings are County), and the City of Albuquerque (because the City annexed quite a bit of all these parking lots, pavement and parking lots as part of the Walmart deal back in 2003-2005).
So who owns me? Who is supposed to “turn me on”? And why haven’t I been turned on, all this time? Near as I can tell, it’s because I haven’t been officially “warranted” by, I think, the City, who, I think, has jurisdiction. “Warranted” means that I have been found justified to exist and my lights/signals can operate, after meeting a series of criteria that kinda boils down to:
“The danger of killing people right and left makes putting up with the aggravation of having to slow down and stop our cars worth it, well almost.”
The actual people at the City and otherwise who have decided I’m not “warranted” and/or to pass the decision on to other entities is a complicated mess, and I’m only a traffic signal, so it’s way beyond my comprehension.
All I know is that I was once lonely, sitting next to an alfalfa field, and am now surrounded with parking lots, cars, pavement, parking lots and more cars. More and more of ’em just about every single day.
Yet, I still have covers over my lights and signals. It’s like I’m a stillbirth or something, and that’s depressing to consider. It’s even more depressing to consider seeing more and more people getting injured and killed trying to make it past me, in my stillborn state, and onto one of the busiest, craziest and deadliest roads in the State of New Mexico.
Hi, I’m the stillborn light at the intersection of Coors Blvd. and Las Estancias.
How ya’ doin’?