Submitted by Scott Hammond, Albuquerque citizen

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I do not own an automobile, and regularly walk the span of Central Avenue between downtown and Nob Hill. Cars routinely whiz by me at roaring velocities reminiscent of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

In cases of sidewalk-encroaching construction, such as the current project at the corner of the Crossroads Motel, pedestrians are indifferently forced into the road. Remarkably, taking notice of the vulnerable pedestrian, some vehicles will gloatingly “hit the gas.”

A solitary, utterly disregarded speed limit sign of 30 MPH posted beside Presbyterian Hospital, I have not seen one vehicle pulled over for speeding nor a single police officer monitoring speeds.

One would expect this historic stretch of Central Avenue—once awash in a bygone era’s dazzling neon—to be especially welcoming to the pedestrian. Instead, what the environmentally conscientious and scenically minded walker can expect are a veritable carpet of shattered beer bottles, countless exploded yolks of car-flung eggs, and underpass tunnels that are like walkways into Purgatory.

The two pedestrian tunnels located on Central Avenue below the downtown railroad tracks are alarmingly deplorable. During my most recent outing to the public library, occurring just before sunset, I walked through a tunnel with several individuals slumped against the walls, one with a needle being inserted into his foot. Another, unconsciously prostrate. 

There were charred mounds from multiple winter night campfires…puddles of varied excretions, discarded syringes, beer bottles, and an unbearably noxious odor. My return walk at night, these same obstacles had to be navigated blindly due to nonfunctioning light fixtures.

No working lights, as well, in the I-25 underpass on Central Avenue or below the downtown railroad tracks on Tijeras Avenue.

With these shared conditions in multiple nearby locations, one could reasonably surmise a similar dangerous, unhealthful, and inhumane—speaking to the ignored denizens of these tunnels—state of affairs throughout the city. 

Concerned, swift action is needed by Albuquerque government officials on these very substantial matters.