Death Race I-25

Interstate 25 during the morning rush to Santa Fe intimidated the woman in the VW enough she couldn’t make up her mind about the 75 mph flow in the right lane. So she opted to speed up, slow down and randomly apply the brakes, slowing and braking just as I started to pass her by shifting into the 85 mph left lane. I barely dodged her and squeezed into the faster stream as a pickup grill quickly filled my rear-view mirror. What surprised me about the pickup driver wasn’t the on-my-bumper tailgating but his inattention when I turned on my blinker. I really expected him to speed up in an attempt to plug the hole in his lane before I could dive into it.

I-25 near Santa Fe. Rail Runner tracks on left.

I-25 near Santa Fe. Rail Runner tracks on left.

By Tuesday morning enough time had passed I’d almost forgotten how much one risks life and limb in the morning stampede from the south into the capital. Last time I checked the numbers a few thousand commuters from Rio Rancho came east across the Rio Grande each morning struggling to get through the town of Bernalillo to reach the interstate and turn left into the northward wave from Albuquerque. At Bernalillo three lanes become two, and Death Race I-25 begins. Continue reading

Losing the Southwest Chief

The big meeting of folks trying to keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief running through northern New Mexico and Albuquerque has come and gone with nary a peep in the state’s biggest city.

There’s a mayoral election here in three weeks, so you’d think the prospect of Albuquerque losing rail passenger service would be an issue.  Well, think again.  It’s called a nonpartisan election although that thin veneer peeled off several elections ago.  The all-business Republican incumbent is silent on the issue, perhaps in part so as not to stir up trouble for the Republican governor, and the openly Democratic challenger and a third candidate, both well behind in the polls, seem unable to recognize an issue when it’s handed to them. Continue reading