CORNER WINDOW by Jeff Hartzer
#005: May, 2007
Swamp coolers are humming, acequias flowing fast, and the final pavings are hot on Isleta Boulevard SW at last. Scheduled for an August 2007 completion, things are looking good on Isleta. Not only that, but we got a handy dandy new way to get to the Albuquerque Sunport right from our South Valley backyard on Second Street. Yes, it is the new Bernalillo County International Sunport Railrunner Station. Naturally, NOT named to honor the South Valley, but rather for the one (perceived) use of the station: touristas hopping off the train to then take a bus to the airport. Ah ... Good For You, Albuquerque.
From the new Rattlesnake Art gracing the entrance to Mesa Del Sol Avenue to Geese and Ducks etched into glass at the Railrunner Station, things are beginning to glisten on Rio Bravo Blvd. What was once known for Mudd Volleyball is now an asphalt path to the train with a parking lot de jour. Just take a right off Rio Bravo onto Prince Street and with a sharp left onto Camino del Tren (Train Street!), you can leave at 6:15 a.m. on train #502 northbound or at 6:09 a.m. for southbound vistas. It’ll cost a buck for each Zone you pass through: Bernallilo Zone, Sandoval Zone, Valencia Zone. Call 242-RAIL or look up NMrailrunner.com for more info on scheduling, prices, etc.
So, what’s the missing element for the culturally rich South Valley of Albuquerque? Recognition. Instead of offering bike paths and a taste of Bosque ruralness to tourists, we offer bus service to the airport. Take a five-minute train ride from Downtown and a 15-minute bus ride to the airport or take a five-minute taxi from Downtown to the airport ... You decide. Why not take your bike on the Rail Runner to the South Valley and then go for a delightful bike ride through the Bosque or tour the rural countryside, where changing seasons offer swallows and snowy egrets over the river, leaves orange as sunset fire, sandhill cranes by the roadside--all framed by the Sandias and Manzanos?
For the past two years a major roadway in the South Valley has been going under the surgical knife of Twin Mountain construction. This has barely registered a blip in the news media maps of “citywide” construction zones. Once again we are the invisible stepsister of the Big Brother in the Big City. We show up in the news whenever bad news spills out. The trendy EDO and Mesa Del Sol improvements stories are glossier than what the South Valley potentially holds.
Therapists say if you don’t ‘recognize, love, or appreciate’ yourself, how can you expect others to do so for you? Do we lack a sense of self-recognition? When is the South Valley going to shine? Perhaps if we set up a moving sidewalk from the airport train station to the river? What will it take for us to be recognized as the culturally rich gem that we are? Standing on the newly painted glistening yellow strip beside shiny rails under a magnificent Rail Runner Art Piece, we can imagine ourselves catching a fast train in Europe; then, dreaming ourselves awake to the site of RAKS and The Giant gas station. Happy rail trails and commencements on your final pavings!
Jeff Hartzer © 2007